What are the benefits to practicing yoga?

As some of you might already know, I am a student of yoga. I take hot yoga with teachers that are truly remarkable. My journey back to yoga this time came after a family tragedy. We had a loved one die. Literally, from one day to the next, this person was told she had 6 months to live. So, from then on, it was only about treatment. I could go on and on about what it all taught me, but I don’t want to get off track!

This experience shoved me back into yoga with a vengeance. After the death, I experienced a wave of exhaustion and sadness that was insurmountable. Trying to rebuild my life and my health, I went back to yoga.

I ended up at a gym. Now, let me start by letting you know that this gym is NOT fancy shmancy. It is rather a kind of neighborhood gym with weights, machines, a spin studio and this small yoga room downstairs. In this room, my life has changed, I have grown stronger and I have learned lessons that one mostly learns in a spiritual setting like a mosque, church or synagogue.

These instructors have been life changing. Each one of these women seem to be channeling thoughts and ideas from above.  My gratitude is incredible as I reflect back on where I started to where I am now.  So, why write about this on a blog of yerba mate? Because they both have the similar effect of taking breath and time, and heightening your awareness. How fancy right?

Personally, I am into hot yoga because I get to multi-task! Yes, I get to sweat out the toxins, while building strength and relaxing. This helps me attain certain health benefits like detoxing, that I really need.  

So, here is what I experienced and learned when I got back on my mat.

-There is something special about being a beginner. It’s ok to take a break, you don’t have to be perfect, and you can cuss.

-If you are imperfect, then all mistakes are part of the journey. Months from now, what I think might be impossible, might be possible.

-When it gets really hard, take some breaths, take a breath and return to the work.
Fear creeps up in the oddest moments. Don’t listen all the time. It could be lying.

-If I can’t get somewhere, work hard in other areas and then come back. Here too, there might be a shift.

-Don’t let the “noise” of the world affect your peace. Most of the time, there is not much you can do about it, and there will ALWAYS be noise.

-It might be ugly before it gets beautiful. When learning a pose, I stumble, I fall, I grab the wrong leg…. I never look like the “swan” practicing on the mat next to me. But, little by little, I grow, I get stronger and I do get there.

-It was important for me to distinguish between the pain that causes growth and the pain that injured me. Both exist. My job was to figure out what kind of pain I was dealing with.

So grateful for all the amazing teachers that have had patience for me. The love, selfless giving and encouragement has changed my life.