“When we do something several times it forms a habit. Continue with that habit for a long time and it becomes our character.” – Sri Swami Satchidananda
This quote from Swami’s translation of the Yoga Sutras is the bottom line to why we practice yoga.
Its no surprise that the more we practice a thing the better we get at it –right?
We tell our kids to practice their instruments, practice their goal kicks and practice their spelling words.
On our yoga mat we practice each asana in hopes that we will expand into a deeper and more “full” expression of the posture.
But the really cool thing that is rather unique to yoga, is that we can also practice postures as a means to develop something deeper within ourselves.
Maybe we want to develop more patience. Maybe the quality we’re seeking is self-love or worthiness. Maybe we just want to be less reactive and more proactive in our interactions with our family.
For the longest time I never fully understood how practicing down dog, or twisting my legs into lotus could make me more patient. But the longer I’ve practiced, the longer I’ve taught the more the method behind yoga becomes clear! As a matter of fact science is beginning to demonstrate all the wonderful benefits of a regular yoga practice.
Usually in life we lose our calm/patience or sense of self when conditions around us uproot us.
Maybe it’s someone who cuts us off on the highway. And that situation makes us angry and agitated. Our body responds by firing up the nervous system, getting us ready for battle.
And what do we do?
At the very least we curse the other driver under our breath. Or we let out a loud “Fuck you” in the privacy of our own car. Or maybe….we have a little more “road rage”. (But that’s none of us here right?)
But here’s the rub about yoga.
When we put ourselves into that very uncomfortable posture (like lotus is for me) we essentially create a condition that fires up our nervous system – just like someone cutting us off in traffic.
In this controlled and deliberate situation on our mats, we get to practice turning our focus AWAY from the condition and turning WITHIN ourselves. Refocus our attention on our breath. Use the breath to literally calm our nervous system so we’re not so fired up and prone to react negatively!
The good news is, the more we practice deliberately putting ourselves in these types of circumstances and handling them well, the more able we are to handle the “other” off the mat situations well too.
Have you found non-physical benefits to your consistent yoga practice? If so share your experiences below.
Have a wonderful week mamas!
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