Get To Know Yourself -huh?

I recently was explaining to a prospective client how yoga differs from exercise. In short, I found myself saying “yoga introduces you to YOU”.

On the surface, most people new to yoga simply view it as a physical activity like running or bicycling. Sure, yoga has a physical aspect to it; though at the heart of the practice, yoga is about exploring and observing ourselves from the inside out. The internal component is what makes yoga so much more than another exercise regime.

As individuals, we spend so much time focusing ourselves “outward” in our day-to-day lives: working to meet deadlines and exceed project goals, taking care of others (spouse, kids, friends, pets, etc.), paying the bills, running errands, etc. All of this outward exertion builds up stress in our bodies and minds. For most, a 5 mile run along the Potomac or an hour SPIN class will help reduce some of the stress, but the tension in the body and mind still remains. Even more, as life moves on the tension and emotional stress continue to build within us.

Yoga is about “undoing” and bringing the body (your external Self) and mind (your internal Self) in back together. Yoga introduces you to YOU. Huh? When you first step into a yoga class, you’ll naturally be focused on the poses (known as asanas). The more you practice yoga, the more you’ll start to see the asanas are just the beginning of your yoga journey. Breath is the key to bringing your mind and body together, both on and off your yoga mat. Linking the breath into your yoga flow will make your practice meditative. As you maintain poses longer and connect the breath while holding the pose, you’ll start to truly become “present” in your yoga practice.

Off the mat, focusing on your breath will open you eyes and mind to life. Take a 10 minute walk in your neighborhood and simply focus on your breath. Walking with focus on your breath vs. your “to do” list is a simply way to get in touch with yourself. In a stressful situation, tap into the sound and feel of your breath before you react. Simply see the power your breath has to your mind and respond with a clearer picture to the situation at hand.

As you learn to use your breath to guide you, you’ll become more present in every situation in your life and get in touch with yourself. Try it!

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