You have just ONE body to carry you through life from birth to death. This body is the only way that you can get around on our material world.
It’s the only way you can perceive ANYTHING.
Because if you couldn’t smell, taste, feel, see or hear… what would you be experiencing? (Pure consciousness, that’s what. But that is another article.)
So how do you treat this wonderful personal transportation device of yours?
What kind of fuel do you give it? What kind of maintenance and tuning?
Bet you take it for granted – ignoring it’s needs and then getting mad at it when it breaks down.
Well, part of taking responsibility for the fact that you manifest your own body, is looking at what YOU can do for this body of yours. You are in charge of it. Do you care about maintaining your one personal transportation device at it’s highest functional level so that you enjoy this material life at it’s optimum?
Then the #1 choice you can make for your body is to commit to a regular yoga practice.
I don’t care about all the reasons why you think you can’t.
If you have time to watch tv, you have time to do yoga.
If you have access to a public library, you have the resources required to do yoga.
If you have a space in your house that’s 7 feet by 2 feet, you have space to do yoga.
If I had my way, daily yoga practice would be compulsory. Why? Because it would revolutionize our world.
(Never mind that the widespread practice of yoga in the Western world as a physical practice is surreptitiously opening many people up to the energetic world… myself included.)
So, here’s the low down – why you need to start a regular yoga practice NOW.
I watch beginners walk into my yoga classes, including big, strong-looking rugby-type men and I watch when they can’t even hold their own body weight in Downward Dog. Go figure.
I don’t care how much weight you lift, I don’t care how many sports you participate in, NOTHING will make you strong from the inside out the way that yoga does.
It builds a strength that you can use. Not a “limited range of motion strength” a la weight training, but an “all-body” kind of strength that is powered by Prana.
The kind of strength that means when you need to huck 2 metres of wood from A to B, you can do it, and do it without straining anything.
Or the kind of strength that means when you walk down a dark street late at night that mugger looks twice at you because something about your stride says “Don’t mess with her man.”
Yoga doesn’t just build muscle strength either. It builds strong lung capacity (I can beat my partner in a breath-holding competition any day, and men have 45% greater lung capacity than women). It builds strong bones. It builds a strong connections between mind and body (but more on that later).
If you want to create and maintain usable, all-over body strength for daily living, start yoga NOW.
Yep, it’s a given, yoga makes you more flexible, and this is SO important!
Yoga means you can bend over and tie your shoelaces without straining anything. Yoga means you can look over your shoulder to reverse backwards down a 100 metre drive without wrenching your neck. Yoga means you can have a healthy range of movement at all your joints and so are far less likely to get arthritis. Yoga means that you can comfortably sit cross-legged.
Yoga means that when I accidentally lock myself out of the house, I can reach my bendy arm in through the cat flap and unlock the kitchen door from the inside.
If you’re bitching and complaining about how tight your body is , or thinking, I can’t do yoga because I’m not flexible, you definitely need to start yoga right NOW.
Stand up, close your eyes, balance on one leg and pull the other knee up to your chest, and do this without wobbling. Yeah right… but you could…
Yoga works on your balance, it means I can stand on one leg in the slippery wet shower and extend the other leg out in from of me to shave my legs and it’s easy peasy. And fun. I like testing my balance, all the time, for fun. Because having physical balance in life makes me feel more balanced in other ways too.
It means that when I slip on ice walking down a hill I can catch myself before my arse hits the pavement. It means I probably slip far less than I would. It means I feel solid and supported on this giant spinning globe we call home. It means I am less likely to fall and injure myself!
If you’re worried about the cost of medical care, or the long waiting lists for hip-replacements, or of falling and no one finding you in time… you need to start a regular yoga practice NOW.
You know that dicky shoulder you’ve got, that banged up knee, that tweaky back? You are going to have that for the rest of your life and unless you do something about it NOW, it will only get worse, and worse and worse.
If I can completely reverse the affects of degenerative disc disease and rehabilitate an L4/L5 fusion – think of what you can do!!!
Stop whinging about your aches and pains and DO something about them, start a regular yoga practice NOW.
How’d you get that injury in the first place huh? I’ll tell you one of the factors contributing to mine – I had horrendously tight hamstrings and hips, and this constantly pulled my pelvis forward, creating pressure on my lower back and on my discs and one day that pressure got too much and POP.
Yoga will PREVENT all those injuries and illnesses you are setting yourself up for right now because you don’t treat your body like the precious vessel it is.
If you play any kind of competitive sport, and you’re not already doing yoga… what are you thinking? Especially if you are involved in anything that involves leaping and twisting off high things. Like snowboarding, skiing, dirtbiking, mountain biking… yes all you X-Gamers need to be doing yoga. It will drop your injury rate and improve your recovery time.
And more than that – you’ll start winning more. Until everyone else clues in and starts their own regular yoga practice NOW.
6. Internal systems
Yoga doesn’t just work on the muscular-skeletal system. Nope, it’s also working on the circulatory system, endocrine system, digestive system, cardiovascular system… yoga just works on your insides, full stop. It keeps the energy moving and everything working the way it should.
My partner came down with a nasty cold a few weeks back, didn’t even want to kiss me, but I just told him. “Honey, I’m not going to get it, because I do yoga.” He didn’t believe me, but he kissed me anyway… and I didn’t get the cold. I can’t remember the last time I was sick. Yoga keeps your insides in tip top condition so that they can deal with everything before it gets to be a problem. And when health care costs and waiting lists are what they are… what’s stopping you from starting a regular yoga practice NOW?
It’s hard to quantify this particular benefit, but lets just say that when you spend 90 minutes being aware of your breath and remembering to contract mula bandha… you start to NOTICE things.
You become aware, and things that once upon a time would have passed you by because you were too busy thinking of that hot guy on the train yesterday… you notice. Even if you are still thinking of that guy…
Yep, yoga tunes you into to the subtle energy of life. Maybe you even start to see auras. Any latent psychic gifts that you may have are likely to start showing up. It’s like you’d been driving around with egg on your windscreen and didn’t even notice…. and now someone’s cleaned it for you and you can lines on the road you didn’t even know were there.
If you want to wake up to life, start a regular yoga practice NOW.
Take that wily monkey mind of yours and focus it on your breath, your body, and a drishti for 90 minutes and you find it starts to calm down. Not so much jumping here, jumping there, thinking this, thinking that. The peace that you seek – that contentment you think the latest fashion or car or house or partner can bring you… it lives inside you, under that monkey mind.
Before yoga, your mind was like a wave pool, complete with random surfers, and who knew what was really going on under the surface? After yoga, your mind is like a pond in a Japanese Zen garden, fish clearly visible, rocky bottom clearly visible. Suddenly you’re just perceiving and your mind is patiently awaiting your biding.
Clarity… ah… worth starting a regular yoga practice right NOW.
This one is very similar to clarity – clarity refers to the state of your mind, clear and still like that Japanese Zen pool. Knowingness refers to what can be transmitted through the clarity – it’s the bubble of inspiration floating up from deep within the pond. When it’s like a wave pool, that bubble of inspiration is often lost, or confused with all the mess of bubbles created by the over-active mind. But when all is clear… knowingness can be perceived and experienced.
Knowingness is no longer having to call a girlfriend and endlessly debate whether or not you should go out with that guy because you just… well… KNOW.
And this is GREAT. Because no longer do you need to rely on external cues to know what to do (seeking to please parents, friends, family, society, that hot girl next door…) No, now you know your own heart, your own truth, and you KNOW what to do.
I love this. When I’m having a moment of doubt and confusion… I hit my yoga mat, leaving the question behind, and ALWAYS (sometimes even on the mat) the answer becomes clear.
So if you are confused, anxious, doubtful or afraid – start practicing yoga NOW.
This is WHY we do yoga. This is what it is really all about. Yoga means to yoke or unite. This can be interpreted as the union between mind and body via that breath, or the union between self and All that Is. When you do yoga, you break down your identification with ego-self, and you become aware of yourself as just one drop in a giant ocean of consciousness. No more separate and alone, but together and One.
And this ROCKS. Because when you are Part of the Whole, how can you ever be alone again? Yoga is coming home to Source, coming home to God, coming home to LIFE.
So what are you waiting for? Want to experience Oneness? Start practicing yoga NOW.
If none of the other reasons gets you to a yoga mat… may this one be the temptress who wins you over.
When I do yoga, and I see my body move in ways I never thought possible, and I experience my strength, my balance, my flexibility, my rehabilitated body, my more-injury-proof body, my awareness, my wonderful internal systems, my clarity, my knowingness and finally Union… I feel JOY.
It erupts out from within me and fills the room.
Traveling around this world in a body that is a pleasure to inhabit, that looks after me so well, that moves so well, that functions so well… it’s pure joy!
And this feeds back, over and over again. I get joy from practicing yoga and expression of joy makes me want to do yoga. I celebrate my body. I am grateful to it. I am in AWE of it. (Did you know that when you slice your exterior covering open, it will self-repair!!! Never seen a car self-panel beat…)
Personally, I can’t believe that there are so many people out there who have:
A) Never done yoga
B) Never committed to yoga or
C) Have a million and one excuses why they’re not doing yoga.
You have ONE body. You create this body from the inside out. Regular yoga gives you enormous power to create the most highly functioning body you could ever dream of.
Do you want to be driving around in an old clapped-out rust bucket with the paint peeling and one wheel dangerously wobbly?
Or do you want to maintain this vehicle with all the pride and love it’s due, maintaining and tuning it on a regular basis so it looks like it just drove off the show room floor?
I’ve already made mine!
This article has been featured in Anmol Mehta’s Spiritual Carnival.
It’s also been featured in Weight Master’s Weight Management and Fitness Forum.