Yoga: Physical, Emotional, and Spiritual Benefits
As I near the 6 year anniversary of my first yoga class in June, I am amazed by what my practice has given me. When I take a quick glance back, I see a shell of a woman wracked with pain, who depended on 15 pills, 7 of which were narcotic, just to get through the day. It was at this despondent time, when I contemplated the best way for me to “check-out”. What delivered me from certain death, was committing to a yoga practice where I showed up five days a week, no matter what. Johnny, my instructor, would encourage me to “work through the pain.” As challenging, and sometimes unbearable, as it was, I did what I was told to do, just as I did when I first came into the rooms of AA. I checked my ego at the door, and while humbling, taking direction and not being in the driver’s seat, was also a source of my greatest growth.
As a result of my commitment to a regular yoga practice, several changes have occurred. First, my physical body transformed from a rigid, steel-like frame, to one more supple and pliable. I became aware of my posture and the way I walked and moved. Ujjayi breathing increased my lung capacity and respiration dramatically, as well as my balance. Next, yoga aided my emotional well-being as it allowed me to become more mindful and live in the present, while improving my mind-body connection. I’ve become more self-aware and self-confident. My intuitive abilities have also increased. Finally, yoga has given me the courage to go deeper within, exploring unknown parts of myself while generating a deeper connection with God. It’s cleared my chakras, or energy centers, and I’ve fostered a greater sense of purpose in life. I have a greater appreciation for everything around me, as well as a more profound sense of gratitude.
The past 6 years have not been all easy or a bed of roses; nothing worthwhile in life is. But one thing I know for sure, if you want a happier, healthier, and more fulfilled life in your physical, emotional, and spiritual realms, commit to a regular yoga practice. Don’t quit before the magic happens….it will happen…it may come quicker for some, but it will ALWAYS happen if you work for it.