It’s been five years since I’ve stepped into the yoga world, blooming from my mat and shading light on my life and this path I am creating for myself. Going back through my teacher training notes, I found the eight reasons I love yoga. And I had to share them with you cause they came from the mouth and spirit of a to be teacher, who was just beginning his adventure on the mat. Without further ado, here are the eight reasons I am in love with yoga…

1. Yoga will help improve your diet, sleep and overall health

Once your yoga practice starts to become quite regular, you’ll quickly notice that your lifestyle is going to follow. Focusing on the breath, yin postures as well as yang postures will realign your organism on its natural pattern; you’ll be surprised to become quite regular in your meals, in the hours you start to sleep and so on.

Combining bodywork as well as a mind work is a great vehicle for drastic but healthy lifestyle changes. But remember, this is what I experienced and it might not be the same for sure – so relax and just go with the flow. Follow your intuition. Being healthy does not mean avoiding a good glass of wine, a piece of cheese or anything you actually like, it’s more about harmony and balance. Plus, there are as many yoga as there are people on this planet!

2. Yoga relives stress and enable to breath better

The more you practice the more you’ll realise it to be almost impossible to focus on our day-to-day lives, problems, stressful situations as well as trying to keep our mind steady and focused on the poses. And this is what we want. Staying in a long, hard and very demanding position or on the contrary flowing through the postures, trying to follow instructions, breathe and focus – all at the same time – will help you in facing a whole range of difficult situations.

Even though life will challenge you way more than standing on the mat does, staying grounded and focused in uncomfortable positions will train yourself to be at your best when you need it the most. And you’ll learn how to properly breathe. A deep and aware breath will not only relieve unnecessary tension and stress through its effect on the nervous system, but it will also have an effect on the digestive, cardiovascular and immune system. Activating your breathing muscles and being aware of their actions will enable you to improve your body posture, cleanse and detoxify the cells by oxygenating the body, quiet your mind and making it more alert as well as improve memory and creativity. And this is just the point of the iceberg…

3. Yoga helps developing a deeper awareness
of our body, mind, qualities and flaws

The more you practice the more you’ll realise it to be almost impossible to focus on our day-to-day lives, problems, stressful situations as well as trying to keep our mind steady and focused on the poses. And this is what we want. Staying in a long, hard and very demanding position or on the contrary flowing through the postures, trying to follow instructions, breathe and focus – all at the same time – will help you in facing a whole range of difficult situations.

With time, hard work and dedication, you will start noticing body changes. And your knowledge about it as well. You might start to feel tension in a certain joint or compression somewhere in the body, which indicates that you should try to work on this exact spot a little more. You might succeed in making a posture you were never dreaming of achieving, which would most certainly boost your satisfaction. In any case, what you will end up with is a better awareness of what your capabilities are, and how you body moves and evolves into the environment. These skills you develop might be applied in a day-to-day basis, whether physically or mentally speaking. And that is for me the best practical benefit of yoga. Just remember that your body is different today from how it was yesterday and how it will be tomorrow – work towards acceptance and self-love, that would be my best advice. And this is only the point of the iceberg.

4. Yoga helps keeping our body in shape, flexible and strong

Yoga includes poses and sequences that are very powerful and aimed at strengthening and opening one’s body efficiently and most importantly, safely! The only thing that is required to become more flexible and stronger is patience (and a regular practice of course). Flow classes are my favourite classes for this reason (and the ones I actually like teaching the most): they combine everything from breathing, focus, movement, and elegance to deep muscular work.

What’s great in yoga practice is that it requires us to use every single muscle of our body. Yoga is an answer to our society’s illness, which is the body’s deterioration because of deskwork and idleness. Your entire body will get a proper wake-up call, and by combining strength, flexibility and a good sweat, you will be more mobile, stronger in the greatest shape ever.

5. Yoga is the best practice for the mind
as well as for focusing on the inner self

The main reason I reinforced my practice and tried to deepen my knowledge on yoga is that it is one of the variables that helped me getting through anorexia (read my story here). Having a regular practice, with its own regularity and requirements in it, as well as keeping my mind focused on my postures, alignment and breath really did the trick for me to avoid thinking about thinness, beauty, food, calories and so on.

And there is nothing better than meeting incredible people and having teachers that believe in you, motivate you and unconsciously help you, to feel valued and beautiful. Moreover, yoga is focused on the individual and her well being, an activity where you dig further into one’s mind to discover all the beauty and capabilities within. There’s also a whole philosophy of life behind it, which may help people getting over various life issues and answering big questions that were wandering into one’s mind. And this is not something you’ve got to embrace entirely, but choose to hear and sometimes apply, as I did with a few things only. As my favourite yoga teacher says, “Yoga is a great vehicle for inner change”. And this is where the magic is.

6. Yoga will make you meet incredible people
& is the fountain of youth

Yoga is not a mere sport; it’s much more than that. Once one has started practising a little more, one will notice that yoga is a way of life, of thinking, of seeing others and the environment. By gathering into a room and sharing a practice as well as small-talks and cups of tea even, people certainly do make friends with others that share their point of views, opinions or lifestyle’s choices. The energy that is created in a class brings people together and make them feel like they need to share, socialize, laugh and talk. Whether it is your yoga teacher, who could become an inspiration, or people you just met but feel like knowing for years, yoga will most certainly open your heart and make you realise the beauty in others…and I am speaking from experience here.

7. Yoga heals any kind of pain and injury

You would be surprised to hear how many people come into a class, as a beginner, with injuries and pain, particularly in the knees, back or joints. And these people most certainly started yoga because they were told that it would cure them. And it does.

It’s not only about alignment, breathing or movement; yoga is about identifying discomfort and pain, understanding our bodies and its range of movement. A good practice does not require for someone to push beyond the boundaries, just to trigger the edges and see where that may lead. Furthermore, there’s always a variation or modification for those who cannot do a pose or are afraid to start with the full posture, and this without preventing progress.

However, yoga works just like medicine – it is great when taken with good care and awareness of one’s body, but become a poison when taken badly. Last but not least, many poses are thought to be worsening someone’s injury, though they actually are the best thing to do in such a case – the “Reclining Hero” and its amazing effects on our knees’ health is the best example of this!

8. Yoga promotes gender equality and is a non-competitive
and non-performance orientated practice

Even though women are still the majority on the mat nowadays, men are starting to make their way into this lifestyle, and appreciate it a whole lot as I notice. The more I teach the more I see men joining my classes – this makes me extra-happy cause I want yoga to be accessible and appreciated by everyone. Men and women benefit equally from a yoga practice. What’s even better is that there is no competition or rivalry whatsoever, because yoga is focused on the self, on someone’s own practice, challenges and mind. The beauty of it is that all these differences and various practices melt together into a powerful energy that renders every single class even more beautiful than the previous one. It makes people more compassionate, more accepting, nicer and happier; and I believe these are things that are going to be needed in our future society.