Over the weekend, I was with a group of some very good friends whom I have cherished for 25 years now. In the group of 11 women, only one of them has practiced yoga, and she has made some changes in her life, so she is not practicing regularly right now.
As we were sitting around in our pajamas on Saturday night, one of the women noticed a bruise on my thigh and asked how I got it. I said it was from a new yoga pose I had learned. Apparently I had pressed down too hard in adjusting the pose. I love this new pose, and so I decided to show them it.
I went into the pose kind of fast, and without any stretching. I hit the pose, but the balance was off. One friend was quick to comment on that, noting that I could not hold the balance. I commented that I needed to be more warmed up to fully experience the pose. Another friend commented that my legs weren’t quite straight, which again was because I was not warmed up. Critics! lol
I decided that they had no idea of the work it took to get into that pose, and so got off my “stage” and sat back down on the couch.
As I sat down, one woman said to me, “Why do you LIKE yoga??” I was actually not prepared for this question. My first answer was, “It’s fun!” She went on, “It’s FUN??” I laughed and said, “Yes, certain poses are fun to play with.” But I felt like I needed a better answer. After all, the “fun” part of yoga was not the best part, for me. It was just my quick answer for these non-yoginis. So I added, “Yoga also makes me stronger.” Still not impressing the crowd. At this point another woman, who has taken so Thai Chi classes, came to my rescue by sharing some poses with us. I commented that Thai Chi also makes a person strong, as well as offering a place to practice balance, like yoga.
Basically, my answer was a failure. I thought long and hard about it, and decided I need a pat answer for when non-yogis ask me about why I like yoga. I took the question, “Why do you like yoga?” to the internet to search for what others had to say.
“Yoga is a great way to develop physical qualities like strength, flexibility, and coordination. Most people say it helps them sleep better and feel more relaxed. The mental and emotional benefits of yoga are known to improve concentration, confidence, self-control and even creativity! The best part about yoga is that you don’t need any athletic ability to be good at it. It’s not about speed, good reflexes, or strategy. It’s about spending some time inside your body and mind.” http://pbskids.org/itsmylife/body/solosports/article5.html
“The short answer is that yoga makes you feel better. Practicing the postures, breathing exercises and meditation makes you healthier in body, mind and spirit. Yoga lets you tune in, chill out, shape up — all at the same time.” http://yogasite.com/why.htm
My practice of yoga is more than just a physical practice of the asanas, or yoga poses, although this physical practice continues to bring me great joy (being able to kick up into a handstand at age 55 is exhilarating!). But my practice has also benefited my mental and spiritual well-being. This practice has carried over into my daily life, so I can live my life with more awareness and understanding. The practice of yoga is my chosen vehicle for positive change and growth in my life.” http://www.squidoo.com/love-yoga
“Yoga tells you…’you are just right the way you are’. Yoga says you can drop all the labels when you get on your mat – you don’t have to be a teacher, or a mother, or a father, or a partner, or a parent, or a doctor, or firefighter…you can just be you. Yoga explains that you aren’t all about worry & stress & fear. Yoga lets you know that you don’t have to be responsible for anyone else while you’re on your mat. That you don’t have to fix anything or anyone while you’re practicing. Yoga tells you that you can relax…you can let go…you can be you. And you might not even know who you are when first start your yoga journey. You might not know what you feel because you’ve been told what to feel & think for so long. It becomes a process of getting to know yourself again. Finding the joy that does in fact reside in your spirit & your heart.” http://heather-offthemat.blogspot.com/2012/04/i-dont-know-why-i-like-yoga-so-much.html
“It hits everything I need out of a time commitment to exercise: it increases full-body strength, it increases core strength, it’s a mild cardiovascular work-out, it increases balance, it increases flexibility, and it does wonders to relax and reduce stress.” http://www.thepaleomom.com/2011/12/striving-to-be-active-why-i-like-yoga.html
I haven’t decided yet what my pat answer will be for the mildly amused non-yogi, but these suggestions will help me shape my answer.
Why do YOU like yoga?