A few weeks ago, I wrote a piece about 5 reasons I love to slow down in my yoga practice. There are many different ways we come home to ourselves in our yoga practice, and each person’s practice is uniquely their own. What I love about yoga may not be what you love about yoga, so I wanted to get the voices of some other yoga practitioners about what they love. I started by inviting Source teacher Kristin Davidson to share her “5 reasons…”
I would love to hear from you too! What do you uniquely love in your yoga practice, and what are the top five reasons you love it? Facebook message us or email the studio at [email protected], and if we choose to publish your “5 reasons” on our blog, win a gift certificate for a 5 class package!
Five reasons I love to challenge myself in my yoga practice
By Kristin Davidson
- I feel a sense of accomplishment when I work hard.
When I’m wiping those beads of sweat off my forehead and I hear the words “Lay down for your final Savasana” a beautiful, calming wave of relief and accomplishment that I made it through another challenging practice floods over me. When I complete something that challenged me both mentally and physically I feel strong, capable, and proud.
- A challenging practice keeps me present.
Although my life is never slow, the day to day can feel pretty routine. One of the things I love the most about practicing yoga is that every time I come onto my mat, I never know what to expect. I want my yoga practice to invigorate and inspire me, so I can inspire my students. When I do the same old thing, it is easy for me to get on auto-pilot. A challenging practice not only excites me, but it forces me to be in the present moment. Being present makes me feel alive! “The way to experience our wondrous self is to fully experience the present moment, since each moment of consciousness is infinitely wondrous in itself.” – Deborah Bernstein from “Yoga in America”
- It builds my self-confidence.
When I am able to find sthira and sukham (steadiness and ease) in an asana that used to seem unattainable, it gives me a boost of self-confidence. It just makes me feel good, and I want to do more of what makes me feel good. Self-confidence helps us get rid of fear of the things that we cannot do. Through yoga, I have become more aware of my limitations, as well as my potential. Research confirms that yoga is highly beneficial for improving fatigue, self-esteem, and quality of life. Not as if I needed research to tell me that, but it does confirm what we yogis have experienced on and off the mat.
- Breakthroughs seem to happen when I’m out of my comfort zone.
I never know what I am capable of until I have been nudged (or completely pushed!) out of my comfort zone. I believe without a shadow of doubt that transformations happen in my life when I start to get uncomfortable. Think of all the people who have accomplished amazing things that changed the world, or at least their world. Was it easy? No. Was it comfortable? Probably not.
How else will you find out what your amazing self is capable of unless you are challenged? My yoga practice is an incredible tool that has facilitated both physical and emotional breakthroughs in my life. It is one of the many reasons that I keep returning to my mat, day after day, and year after year.
- When I can control my breath and calm the chatter in my mind in a challenging practice, it prepares me to face challenges off the mat.
Many yogis will say that the true practice of yoga occurs off the mat. Can you remain calm, present, and steady in the face of real world challenges? Calming my breath, stilling my mind, and being present in a challenging yoga practice prepare me to find that peace in difficult situations off the mat. When I was undergoing a very painful and procedure in the hospital I started to panic. Then I started focusing on my breath and trying to calm my thoughts. My breath carried me through the procedure and before I knew it, it was over. Our breath is such an amazing tool that we can access to help us in tense situations.