1. To sweat! Everyone has their favorite way to sweat and for many people, yoga does the trick. Power yoga, power sculpt, hot yoga or any type of high intensity vinyasa will provide everything you look for in a workout, including cardio!
2. To detach and de-stress. My yoga studio is a special place where I can dedicate one full hour to myself and forget about the outside world. When it's just me and my mat, everything else seems to fade away for 75 minutes. This brings me into the NOW of my practice and more importantly, of my life.
3. To strengthen my balance. I am an active person and I spend the majority of my days running around like a chicken with my head cut off. Yoga helps with balance which can prevent injuries from tripping, falling or losing your center of gravity out on the dance floor.
4. For a sense of community. The yoga community is unlike any other group of people you've ever met. There is something very motivating and inspiring about moving harmoniously with an entire room full of people with one common goal.
5. To push my limits. Yoga has brought me very close with the voice inside my head that likes to tell me when enough is enough. When I find myself steeped in doubt, I push through with the concentration that yoga encourages.
6. To learn how to breathe. You'd be surprised to see how the human breathing pattern changes during stressful situations. Breathing shortens, muscles tense, stress hormones are released. Yoga teaches us to breathe deep and long through stressful, uncomfortable situations. The more you breathe, the easier it gets. This rings true throughout my entire life.
7. To increase my spiritual practice. In yoga, we meditate. We meditate at the beginning, during the postures and at the very end in savasana. Meditating brings your train of thought deep into the mind and into the present moment. Meditating is what brings us closer to our truth and our purpose.
8. To improve circulation and release pressure points. Anatomically and energetically, we develop blockages in our body throughout the course of life. Through yogic postures, blood circulation improves allowing your blood cells to become more oxygenated. Additionally, certain postures will open energy hotspots (chakras) along the vertical axis of the body.
9. To change. Yoga has taught me that in order to become better I must be willing to change who I am. In the physical aspect of the practice, yoga challenges you to test your limits, to explore unchartered territory, to try something new each class. In the spiritual aspect, it challenges you to question who you are and why you do certain things, and to be willing to change all of that in order to be better. Yoga requires accountability. It allows you to see how you react in stressful situations when you have no one to blame. Yoga cultivates a deep spiritual connection with the self and with others that resonates throughout all parts of life.
"Yoga is the journey of the self, through the self, to the self." Bhagavad Gita