There are many reasons to practise yoga. However, it only takes one reason to begin a lifetime of yoga practice.
Yoga is a fantastic way of meeting like-minded people and making new friends
For me that reason, and the motivation which encouraged me to join my first ever yoga class, was injury recovery. I came to yoga to relieve back pain and help restore my flexibility, strength and mobility. Essentially, it was all about self-care.
Thursday evening soon became my favourite evening of the week. After work I would head to a nearby coffee shop, enjoy a latte and a read of Psychologies magazine, and then attend my regular yoga class at a Buddhist meditation centre. It was a real treat and a great way to destress after a busy day in the office. I also felt like I was rewinding and getting ready for the weekend ahead.
Over time, I started to feel better and see results – my body was becoming less stiff and I was gaining a better range of motion in my back, shoulders and hips. Now I felt even more motivated to further increase my flexibility, strength and mobility. On top of this, I enjoyed the challenge of the asanas (postures) and the focus, discipline and commitment they required. In turn, I felt appreciative of what my body could achieve, albeit with some limitations. This gave me a sense of calm, acceptance and confidence that I am in control of my body, my mind and ultimately my life, and I wanted to nurture and cultivate this mindfulness and inner peace.
Please believe me when I say, the more you practise yoga, the more reasons you'll find to get on the mat.
Results from a study published in the International Journal of Yoga, showed that yogic practices enhance muscular strength and body flexibility, promote and improve respiratory and cardiovascular function, reduce stress, anxiety, depression, and chronic pain, improve sleep patterns, and enhance overall well-being and quality of life.
So, what motivates you to practise yoga?
· To increase my flexibility
· To become stronger and more toned
· To Improve my posture
· To maintain healthy joints
· To Improve mobility
· To ease aches and pains
· To improve my balance
· To Improve my breathing and lung capacity
· To burn calories and to lose weight
· To be more body aware (to tune in to what my body wants and needs)
· To improve body image and self-confidence
· To enhance my sports performance
· To help recover from physical injury
· To help protect myself from injury
· To alleviate a health problem or ailment
· To help manage and reduce the symptoms and severity of a medical condition
· To counteract working life
· To challenge myself
· To meet new friends and to socialise
· To reduces stress and tension, anxiety and depression
· To relax and unwind
· To experience inner peace and calm
· To improve mental health
· To practise mindfulness
· To increase my energy levels
· To improve my sleep pattern
· To enjoy time to myself away from the stresses of everyday life
This list is by no means exhaustive and maybe you have additional motivations to add.
What motivates you to practise yoga is really about setting goals for yourself, but more about that in another blog post.
Whether you are new to yoga or have been practising for a while, always take the time to acknowledge your reason or reasons for getting on the mat and then congratulate yourself.