I have been asked many times: Why Yoga? There are so many answers to this question, so many reasons, that I decided to write them all down in one place.
The first major reason I chose Yoga is because I struggle with cardio and other exercises due to my diagnosis of Borderline Asthma. When I first started Yoga, it was particularly bad as I had been smoking for years at that point. I breath heavy in Yoga, but its not the same as with cardio and others. Holding poses for certain periods of time requires less lung stamina. And although I still breath heavily, I can control it through my breathing practice that goes along with Yoga. I can also take a Child's Pose at any point and focus solely on my breathing to get it under control.
The second reason deals with the calming factor of a yoga practice. Yoga does a great job in calming the mind. There are many factors that attribute to this, including the ultimate focus on breath and not on anything else happening around us or in our lives, and using physical exertion to release stress. There are many poses that allow us to release pent up emotions in Yoga as well, and this assists Yogis to feel calm after a practice. I almost always feel calm and relaxed after my Yoga practice, and this is one of the many reasons why I chose Yoga.
Thirdly, I have been on a spiritual journey for a few years now, and something inside of me told me that Yoga would help me to continue this journey. Over the years I have learned to almost always listen to my gut - my inner voice - and this time was no different. When I started practicing Yoga, I started opening up to new ideas and ways of thinking and discovered new avenues to learn more about what I was interested in spiritually.
Then there is the combination benefit to Yoga. Though there are many forms of exercise out there, each with their own benefits and arguments, I like Yoga because it melds stretching, strengthening and improves flexibility. I thoroughly enjoy holding poses that I know are improving my muscle tone while improving my flexibility at the same time, such as the Warrior and Dog Poses. Many people think muscle tone is more important than flexibility, but the truth is we need both. We need both to be able to maneuver ourselves in many different ways and perform many different tasks, even just in daily life. With Yoga, I don’t have to do specific exercises to improve strength and then stretch afterwards. It is all built into one Yoga routine.
The last reason I choose Yoga over every other exercise is because the progress is amazing! Some poses progress slowly but others progress very quickly. With Yoga, there are many poses, but serious Yogis can cycle through them rapidly and can discover progress as they do. Seeing Yoga Progress leaves you feeling accomplished and proud.
I have had many people try to change my mind and turn my focus to other forms of exercise, but I will never waiver. I will never stop my Yoga journey but am always open to adding other forms of exercise on top of my daily practice. Yoga will always be my focus and my true love.