Why Yoga is not a workout
Today many people are coming to Yoga classes to get a nice workout. Few students care to know that Yoga is a holistic system which helps to make healthier and more conscious choices and, when practiced regularly, naturally brings a positive shift in thinking patterns and, as a consequence, in habits and relationships (with the self, living beings around, the whole world).
So, is Yoga good for your body? Yes! Thousands-year old tradition and modern research agree that regular practice of Yoga postures (Asanas) and breathing techniques (Pranayamas) brings many benefits for the physical, mental and emotional well-being and even helps to relive such conditions as hypertension, insomnia, diabetes, digestions disorders, depression and many more.
The other thing you can hear a lot about is injuries accompanying Yoga practice. And the logical question to ask is why the activity which is supposed to make you healthier, in fact, hurts?
Because an ancient knowledge of human mind and its close connection with the body called Yoga should not be approached as physical exercise.
In the modern world we are used to have everything measured and calculated. When we invest time, energy (and pay gym membership fees, and buy workout outfits) we want to know exactly how many calories, centimeters and kilos we will say goodbye to and when it’s going to happen. That’s a part of the bargain, isn’t it? We’ve paid the price and want to see the result.
Of cause, it is obvious that the more sit-ups we do, the more kilometers we run, the heavier weights we lift, the faster we see the results. Archiving results and beating records is what the sport is all about. But this approach doesn’t work for the Yoga practice.
The most important things to remember stepping on a Yoga mat is to keep an attitude of non-achievement and self-acceptance. Yoga helps to establish a loving, companionate relationship with the body, to start a constructive dialog with it. In classes and during home practice we improve our ability to listen to the body and understand its needs. The best time to start building this kind of caring relationship is right now and the best place is right here. Meaning that your flexibility, measurements and weight are of no importance. Yoga will pick you up exactly where you are and will accept exactly who you are.
Imagine getting a beautifully wrapped present. Imagine the joy peeling off the gift paper, layer by layer, anticipating to find something precious inside. That’s what Yoga suggests you do. Very gently, enjoying every moment open up your body, gradually release the tensions that have been accumulating from the moment you came to this world. And as each and every life story is different, so are the blockages our bodies hold. An Asana which take one person a month to get comfortable with will be a challenge for years for someone else. But, by the law of Karma, each action brings fruit, just some are harvested in late autumn. And as the body becomes more flexible, the mind, living inside the body, has no option but to change with it. And this shift in self-perception, the celebration of your uniqueness, the discovery of your very own beauty is the precious gift you are unwrapping and its value is beyond any measurements or calculations.