Why Do People Do Yoga?
Today, I want to discuss why people do yoga. Yoga is one of those things that really polarizes opinions. At one end of the scale, you have people who are totally into it. On the other end, you have people who, if you tell them that you do yoga, they just think that you are some pleather-wearing, tree-hugging hippie.
I did some research to find out why yoga is even more relevant today than it ever has been. To kick it off, I just pulled it right back to basics by asking what yoga is on the physical level. Of course, it’s the practice and the food you put in your body and what you do with your body. Then, on the energetic level, it’s the control of one’s breathing, which is called pranayama. On the emotional and mental level, it is the practice of concentration and meditation and then that ultimately leads you to spiritual practice.
It Improves Concentration
So, why is yoga relevant to us? I’m very confident about one thing that if you practice yoga, it will enhance any other thing that you’re doing in your life. Whatever your work is, whatever your job is, whatever your passion is, the practice of yoga can enhance that through concentration alone.
It’s quite simple that if you improve your concentration, then you can concentrate on whatever you do better, and if you concentrate on whatever you’re doing better, then the results will be better. I think that, without an exception, everyone who has tried yoga and stuck with it has noticed improvements in all areas of their life, including their relationships with people around them. So, I understand what it is, I understand why I should be doing it, but with busy people, how are they going to fit this into their lives?
It Improves Posture and Tense Muscles
Even your job can be a practice if you’re drawing or writing something, or programming can be a practice if you do it mindfully. But if you’re at your computer and your body tenses up and you forget about your body, then it’s not a practice. However, if you constantly bring the attention back to your breathing and your body and if you do this mindfully, then this can also become a practice. Bringing the awareness back to the physical body is a simple test that anybody can do. Notice your shoulders and your neck. Are they really relaxed or are they not? How about your spine? Is it straight and relaxed, or are you slouching? Is your breathing deep and slow and relaxed, or is your breathing shallow? These tests make sure you’re using your body and its functions properly.
It Improves Mindfulness
Yoga also helps with mindfulness. This is something that has become very fashionable at the moment. What exactly is mindfulness and how do we achieve it? To put it simply, mindfulness is just basically being in the moment. It’s when your mind is not occupied with either the future or the past, so you’re staying in the present. Basically, you’re mindful of what’s happening with you at the given moment. However, if you wake up and you’ve got a hundred million thoughts running around your head from morning until night, how are you going to stop that? This is where meditation and yoga come in.
You start with asana. Asana is the practice of controlling your physical body, which is the easiest thing to control if you are mindful of keeping your spine straight and chest forward. You’re moving from physical to the subtler energetic level. The energetic level is the control of your breathing and how you control your breath—pranayama—which you can also incorporate into your asana. Next, you do concentration techniques. Sometimes, you have to work your way up to meditation. Meditation is like the highest form of yoga. Eventually, you should be able to meditate in every asana that you do, and the whole asana practice becomes a meditation practice.
It Can Cause Happiness
Another reason to practice yoga is it causes happiness. What is happiness and how do we gather it? Happiness is a choice that we need to make in every moment of our lives. Some people choose to focus on the negative, and very often, that negativity that they choose to focus on is a very small portion of the surrounding reality. It is a constant internal choice to be able to focus on the positive and to see the positive around you. The more you practice that, and the more you find the positive things to focus on, the happier you will become and the more you will be grateful for the things that surround you. Happiness can come only from within. It is not relevant to the things you possess or what you can buy, but to the choices that you make and to the things that you choose to see in this reality that surrounds you.
What do you think about yoga? Are you doing it? Is it working for you? Let me know what you think in the comments below. To learn more about different practices, check out our article on why people worship.