Yoga has so many benefits, we probably don’t even know how to recognize or measure most of them yet. Flexibility and calming are just the beginning. Yoga can help you improve circulation, energy, memory, attitude, digestion, metabolism and strength. You don’t have to turn yourself into a pretzel or stand on your head in order to attain this, either. Even if you start with just a few sun salutations, you are doing yourself a world of good. And no matter your age and condition, you can learn to twist like a pretzel and stand on your head—I speak from personal experience!
Sometimes my energy gives out halfway through practice, but I keep going: yoga teaches perseverance. Sometimes I try one posture over and over, and it’s just not happening. Try again tomorrow: yoga teaches compassion & patience. Another I never thought I’d be able to do gets easier each day: yoga teaches the value of persistence. Most of what I do on my mat every day seemed impossible not long ago: yoga teaches change is always possible.
My own personal practice is Ashtanga, a lineage of yoga that has been taught by Sri Patthabhi Jois and now by his daughter Saraswati and his grandson Sharath. It incorporates breath, movement and postures to produce an intense cleansing heat in the body, and a quieter mind. You can learn more about it here. For me, finding Ashtanga was like coming home. I encourage you to find a yoga practice that is right for you.
Yoga is the best metaphor for life:
1. Nothing goes right, or feels right; all falls apart, and then the next day it comes together in an entirely new way.
2. What was clearly impossible yesterday is consistently proven possible after all.
3. Sometimes the most important thing you can do is show up.