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3 Major Areas To Focus On In Yoga

The numbers don’t lie, in 2022 there are 300 million people worldwide that practice yoga or did in the past. Every year, you hear more people start doing yoga, and its popularity is increasing at a high rate. You might have heard from your friends, coworkers or a family member some of the importance of yoga and how it has helped them change their lives. There’s something magnetic about the practice that makes everyone instantly attracted to it. 

Although it’s getting more and more popular, yoga is much more than just a trend. Even if people go to their first class because they’ve seen others do it, that’s not why they stay. From being a perfect way to complement other exercises, to provide a positive body image, decrease health risks or create a non-judgemental space. There is a reason to continue your practice. Yoga has the ability to meet you where you are and where you need to be.

Discover what is the true importance of yoga, what it can mean to you and why starting or continuing your practice can change your life in every aspect. From physical, mental and emotional health.

This page does contain affiliate links, I only recommend tools I have personally vetted. When you buy something we recommend, we may get an affiliate commission — but it never affects your price or what we pick.

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The True Importance of Yoga

Old yogis understood that humans were physical, mental, and spiritual beings. They developed yoga in an effort to help harmonize all three levels of our beings. True yoga in India didn’t develop only around physical exercise. It was primarily a spiritual practice focused on the development of virtues that help us reach our highest potential and find purpose in our lives.

In the modern world, living our live on purpose is hard. With the increasing amount of information, possibilities and avenues you can take it is even harder to find what you were meant to do.

Still, even if you only practice the physical postures or asanas, you will see a change in all three levels of your being. That’s not only a promise coming from my own subjective experience, it is also something that we can and have proven by science today. 

From a study done in 2016 by Yoga Alliance, they have reported that yoga practitioners are more likely to report having a clear mind. Also they are giving back to the community and they report having stronger agile bodies than non-practitioners.

Physical yoga practice is a form of education about living a better life. On the mat, you become aware of your body and your movement. You connect to your breath and learn to control it. The breath serves as a sort of bridge between your physical body, your mind and your spiritual self. You can experience that as soon as you start controlling your breath.

Exercise to try for deep breathing

  1. Find a comfortable seated position
  2. Close your eyes and focus on your breath
  3. On your next inhale, nhale to a count of four
  4. Hold your breath for a count of four
  5. Exhale through your mouth to a count of four
  6. Hold your breath for a count of four
  7. Repeat step 3 – 6 for a few minutes

This exercise will allow you to activate all the organs involved when breathing. It will develop your core muscles and allow your pelvic floor to release any tension.

Only after a couple of moments, you will experience a sense of calm, your thoughts will be quieter and you will enter a state of meditation.

When you start practicing yoga regularly, you learn to control your body. Also, you learn that you are able to calm yourself down, heal your pains and become aware of the present moment. This happens even if you are not aware of it, but it does become more significant when you are conscious of what you are doing.

After you learn to connect your breath, movement, thoughts and emotions during a one-hour yoga class, you can begin to take that skill and incorporate it into life off the mat. 

That’s the true importance of yoga. When you learn this important knowledge, you will see the benefits in your everyday life, and your well-being will improve. You will become more mindful, see the world has it comes and not live in the past or the future. Not to mention, appreciate what is right in front of you. 

In the following sections, I will talk about all the specific benefits and the importance of Yoga. I also wanted to make sure you understand that you have the capability to create those changes. You can heal yourself, build your spiritual practice and improve your mental health. With yoga, you gain back control of your own being. That empowerment is what makes it so important, especially in this fast-paced time in which we are living today.

Group yoga class on the beach

Physical Benefits of Doing Yoga

On average, when someone is looking to start a yoga practice, some of the main reasons are:

  • To be more flexible
  • Body aches and pains or reduce chronic pain
  • To lose weight
  • Improve postures

Which funny enough, is also some of the main reason why people think they can’t start doing yoga.

The reason why yoga is important and improves every aspect of your body is that it uses primal movements. When you observe yoga poses, you will notice you’ve done many of them since you were a child.

Examples of daily yoga movement

  • Squat before we walk
  • Rolls on the floor
  • Stretch in a forward fold
  • Candle pose on the floor

We’re doing natural movements that simultaneously improve our strength and range of motion, for some reason that principle gets lost as we get older. We end up in a seated position for an extended period of time, we don’t use our muscles as much as we should and we lose the ability to move freely.

Still, there are different styles of yoga you can do, if you want to focus on a certain physical benefit. All styles will still improve every aspect of your body, but some do some things a bit better than others.

For example, if your main goal is to build strength and to lose weight, a more dynamic style of yoga would be appropriate. There are many styles of dynamic yoga, including Ashtanga, Iyengar yoga, Hot yoga, and more, but they can all be described as Vinyasa Yoga.

On the other hand, those who want to combat back pain and other chronic issues, or want to improve their flexibility, will be attracted to more gentle yoga styles. Although Hatha yoga meant something else in the past, today we relate this word to a slow and gentle yoga style. Other variations include Restorative and Yin yoga. In these styles of yoga, we spend most of our time in sitting and lying positions, and we hold them for longer.

Common style of Yoga

  • Ashtanga Yoga
  • Vinyasa Yoga
  • Iyengar Yoga
  • Yin Yoga
  • Hatha Yoga
  • Restorative Yoga
  • Power Yoga
  • Hot Yoga or Bikram Yoga
  • Kids Yoga
  • Prenatal Yoga
  • Kundalini Yoga

If you want to learn more about the different types of yoga classes and which one would be best for you, don’t miss my other article.

Most yogis are attracted to one style of yoga the most. Still, with time, you will realize you don’t have to decide and you will discover the importance of yoga for you. Who’s to say what is right or wrong for you? Simply choose the style of yoga that gives you the physical benefit you need at this day, this season, or this period of your life. 

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sidewalk writting Happiness

Mental Benefits Of Doing Yoga

Even if your main motivation for doing yoga is physical benefits, you will notice the importance of the mental benefits of the practice from your first class. You just have to learn to let go and be present.

As previously stated, by being aware of your body and by connecting breath with movement, you have something to focus on. Not to mention, you will learn to be in the moment, your thoughts slow down and you can begin to relax. Science has proven time and time again that yoga improves mental health. A single class can remove the stress from that day. But a regular yoga practice can relieve symptoms of depression, anxiety, PTSD and other mental illnesses. 

Whenever you feel stressed, anxious, or have negative thoughts about yourself and the world around you, a mindfulness yoga practice can help. At least for the duration of your practice and the hour afterwards, you’ll get back to a calmer and more positive state of mind. Overtime, you will notice the benefits last longer and you will be able to use yoga as a type of self-therapy.

All styles of yoga will give you this feeling, whether you’re sweating through a challenging Vinyasa sequence or relaxing your body through a gentle Yin Yoga practice. The importance of Yoga remains no matter how you decide to practice. The benefits will come as long as you are there to listen to what you need.

crystal and rocks

Spiritual Benefits Of Doing Yoga

Regardless of our religion or view of spirituality, most of us feel there’s something else, beyond our bodies and our thoughts. The spiritual aspect of our lives is what gives us purpose, a greater meaning. Only when we can feel our greater purpose, can we combat our daily struggles in the long-term. 

Yoga can give you that. The focus on movement and breath allows you to calm your thoughts. When your thoughts and emotions are calm, you are able to return to the present moment. The present moment is when spirituality happens. It’s where life happens.

Every person can experience something different in spirituality. It can be that you simply feel a state of love and bliss. Some get physical sensations, others have visions. That’s why it’s hard to explain what spiritual benefits you can expect from yoga. Yoga is individual, and the best things happen when you don’t expect them.

Do you believe in the energy around you?

Whether you believe or not in the energy around you or the colors associated with Chakras, it doesn’t really matter. In a way, the intention we put in and what we are looking for will provide us with what we need to get it done. If you are looking to be more grounded for example, when studying Chakras the color red is associated with that energy. Does it mean that by wearing the color red you are therefore more grounded or simply you will provide your brain a reminder that you are looking to be. The same can apply to your yoga practice, creating an intention and something to work on can help your brain create a clear pathway of what you want.

Still, what we can promise is that you can expect to gain spiritual experience, knowledge, and understanding of yourself and the world around you. When this begins to happen, yoga stops being merely a physical practice, and it becomes a part of your life. You start using the practice to improve yourself, to treat yourself and others better, and to finally find meaning, love, and true joy in this beautiful life you were given.

Learn about the 8 Limbs of Yoga

  • Ahimsa (non-harming) This principle refers to behaving in a way that nourishes growth and contributes to the life force around us.
  • Satya (truthfulness)
  • Asteya (non-stealing)
  • Brahmacharya (abstinence)
  • Aparigraha (non-hoarding)
  • Saucha (cleanliness)
  • Santosha (contentment)
  • Tapas (heat)

Part of yoga goes beyond the practice on the mat, which I explain here, 8 Limbs of Yoga Explained – Start Your Own Yogic Path.

That was exactly why yogis created this practice in the first place. The goal was to reach a higher state of being and to live spirituality both on and off the mat. 

Many will say yoga today moved away from this initial idea, but that’s far from the truth. Yes, it did change, but humanity changed as well. It’s only natural that we will continue to adapt our practice to ensure it will work with what we need in this day and age. We need a different approach, we practice more physical poses, but the goal is the same.

Last thing to know about the importance of Yoga

And whether that goal is why you started doing yoga, or it’s only somewhere in the back of your mind, with regular practice, you will achieve it.

Keep doing the type of practice you enjoy, incorporate what you learned into your everyday life, and see for yourself how you and your surroundings change for the better.

Bring more joy, peace, love, and meaning into your life, and enjoy the process of improving your life little by little, every day with yoga.

If you are looking for yoga classes, don’t hesitate to contact me directly for any future classes or private lesson.

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