To someone who hasn’t been exposed to much yoga, from the outside it can remain a mystery with its unusual sequences of poses and focus on breathing. Yoga has a reputation for increasing flexibility, but that sounds so underwhelming given how empowering the yoga experience can be. Throughout the years I have been asked many times what I like about yoga and why I practice it. I encourage people to experience yoga for themselves, but the question does make me pause and think. Sure, yoga makes me more flexible, stronger and calmer, but so do many forms of exercise, and I want to take this opportunity to give a different perspective.
What makes the yoga experience so unique and beneficial to me?
When I open my arms wide in a backbend I feel like I am opening my heart to the world. When I go upside down the blood rushes to my shoulders and head, both relieving tension and giving me an invigorating feeling. When I do a seated forward bend my legs scream at me, telling me that I need to stretch more often, yet at the same time I feel a calming sensation when my head goes down to the ground. When I go through a sun salutation led by my breath, I turn inward and focused, and the ritual of breathing and movement get me into a peaceful, centered zone. When I do a twist, my lower back adjusts, relieving the tension I have built up throughout the day from sitting at a desk. When I finish a yoga session I simply feel better.
I asked my daughter what makes yoga unique and beneficial to her, and she said she likes it when she feels her body loosen up. Even at her young age she recognizes that her body feels stiff at times, especially from many hours sitting at the computer. Comments like these coming from a child gives even more incentive to get our kids to practice some simple yoga poses!
One thing that has stood out to me through my yoga practice is that we go about each day almost unaware that we even have a body. Taking it even further, we go through most of each day unaware that we are even breathing. When we do yoga, through movement and breath we start to discover that we are each an amazing machine of various remarkable parts. As adults it can almost be like starting over, reversing a lifetime of dormant habits. We start to realize how connecting yoga poses with conscious breathing can quite simply make us feel more alive. Our daily activities and even other forms of exercises don’t usually bring the same level of self-awareness.
Everyone who practices yoga does it for different reasons. The most important thing is recognizing how it makes you feel. When you start to pay attention, you will quickly realize that yoga is so much more than just ‘stretching’. Not every yoga experience is created equal, so it can take some experimenting within myKinCloud's yoga sessions to find what is right for you and your kids. When you get there, though, you might discover your own magical experience, unlike anything else that you have done.