Why yoga is not another physical exercise

Today, many people prefer yoga classes because they have the impression that it is a gentle “workout” or an alternative exercise. Few of today’s practitioners have understood that true Yoga is a holistic system that helps us make more beneficial and conscious choices in our lives.

The practices of yoga are not exhausted or limited to body positions (Asanas), as is wrongly projected by the fitness world. The holistic approach of yoga focuses significantly on the quality of breathing and uses breathing techniques (Pranayama) to improve the practitioner’s quality of life and of course devotes a large part of the practice to mental concentration techniques (Dharana) since as is known “everything starts from the our minds”.

Through the regular and systematic practice of all the above comes a positive change in our thinking patterns, habits and relationships (with ourselves, the living beings around us, with the whole world). So the question arises:

After all, is Yoga beneficial for my body? The answer is YES!

Thousands of years of tradition and modern research agree that regular practice in postures (asanas) and breathing techniques (pranayama) is associated with many benefits for physical, mental and emotional well-being. It has also been observed that it can work in addition to medical treatments and alleviate various ailments with beneficial results.

Another thing we often hear is about the various injuries associated with the practice of Yoga. And of course one might think since it is a practice that, in theory at least, works beneficially for the body, how can it cause injuries?

This happens mainly for two reasons.

The first reason, it is because theory always has a distance from practice and the way we will travel this distance depends on the perception of each person (teacher and/or student).

The second reason, and perhaps the most important, is that this ancient knowledge of the human mind connected to the physical body is often used exclusively as a physical exercise or alternative exercise by people with limited knowledge.

In the modern world we are used to measuring and calculating everything. When we invest time, energy (i.e. gym membership, workout clothes) we want to know exactly how many calories, centimeters, kilos we will say goodbye to and when this will happen. We paid and we want results.

Of course, it is obvious for fitness that the more kilometers we run, the more weights we lift, the sooner we will see results. Sport and/or gymnastics is characterized by achieving results, breaking records and the element of competition.

However, the practice of Yoga is not a sport or gymnastics and that is why we do not focus on the result, but give more value to the knowledge and/or self-awareness we have acquired along the way until we reach any result.

In yoga the destination is not important,

because we enjoy the journey.

When we compete with ourselves the only certainty is that one of us will lose! The most important things to remember when coming to the yoga mat are to cultivate an attitude of self-acceptance and most importantly non-attachment to the outcome.

Yoga cultivates a caring relationship with the body. During the practice, our ability to understand the body and respect its real needs improves.

The best time to start taking care of yourself is NOW and the best place is HERE.

This means that the elasticity, shape or weight of your body does not matter. Yoga will “pick up” you wherever you are and accept you exactly as you are.

Imagine how you feel when you receive a gift in a wonderful wrapping. Imagine your joy when you open it slowly and carefully, waiting to see what is hidden inside. Something similar is suggested by the philosophy of Yoga.

To open your body very gently, enjoying every moment, every breath, while gradually releasing the accumulated tensions, the knots in the body, from the moment you came into this world.

As the life story of each of us is different, so in our different bodies we need to untie our “knots” in a different way. To benefit from the practice we need to discover our own yoga and serve our own needs.

Some may feel comfortable in a position (asana) in a month while for some others the same position may be a challenge even for years.

But according to the law of Karma, every action brings fruits, just for some fruits we need to wait a little longer.

When the body becomes more flexible, the mind, which lives inside the body, has no choice but to become more flexible as well.

This shift in the way you perceive yourself, the discovery of your own special beauty, the celebration of your uniqueness is the most precious gift you can unwrap every time in your practice. And its value is PRICELESS!