Do you want to improve your life? Do you want to feel better in your body, more rested, and less tense? Do you want to be calmer, less reactive and more capable of handling life’s challenges with ease?
I hear from a lot of women that want to change their lives for the better and have tried exercise, getting more sleep, reading self-help books, visualization, journaling, counseling, medicating, and I hear from many women who have stopped trying.
Welcome to Simple Yoga Life, a weekly show about making the wisdom and practices of yoga part of your life so that you can be more present, calm, and confident every single day. I’m your host, Stephannie Weikert. I’m a Certified Yoga Therapist and creator of the online programs Shift Happens with Yoga + Make Peace with Stress. I’m on a mission help you make big, positive changes in your life in small, surprisingly simple steps.
The most effective way to change your life for the better is with yoga and I’m going to explain why but first it’s important to know that yoga is way more than just a physical exercise you do on a mat in stretch pants.
In fact, yoga is an entire system of philosophical wisdom and physical, breathing and mental practices.
This includes 10 behavioral guidelines, more than 1000 variations of physical postures, dozens of breathing and meditation techniques as well as countless different methods of applying or practicing all of this.
The system of yoga is often described as a tree with 8-limbs. Two of these limbs are the behavioral guidelines, 5 each of what to practice doing and not doing, one limb includes all the physical postures, one is for the breathing practices, and there are 3 limbs dedicated to the mental techniques, one of which is meditation. The 8th limb of yoga is the continual state of growth that occurs with practice.
There are 3 main ways yoga changes your life.
One is by helping you shift patterns you’ve developed over time.
These may be patterns that have a negative effect on your physical and mental well-being, like negativity or judgment or neutral patterns that are automatic and comfortable and therefore keeping you stuck, like having a fixed mindset.
Here’s an example of how it works, when you put your body into a physical posture that stretches you and you stick with it, you learn how to take a new shape. Because the body and mind work together, taking a new shape with the body requires a shift in the mind.
Practiced consistently, postures teach you to overcome physical, emotional, and psychological obstacles that prevent you from thriving.
Yoga also teaches you how to be more purposeful in your decision making.
You must deliberately practice, and even though it can be very simple, you move in a specific way, you breathe in a specific manner, and you consciously focus your attention.
When you are mindful and intentional about your practice, you naturally become more mindful and intentional in your life because you develop a deepening sense of being more in sync with yourself.
For example, when you pay attention to your breath, you automatically become more aware of the present moment, how your body feels, the state of your mind, and therefore, more conscious of how your choices directly affect your experience.
The third-way yoga changes your life for the better is by revealing the person you’re capable of being.
Your practice cultivates focus on your ability to overcome challenges and, even if only fleetingly at first, the bliss of each small victory.
For example, when you practice a mantra, which is a group of words you repeat, you may only be able to concentrate for a moment before getting distracted.
But if you start again and keep going repeatedly, you gain concentration and begin to see how the shifts that happen with each practice, even in a few simple moments, also gives you a calm determination to continually face whatever is keeping your attention diverted from being your best self.
Yoga changes your life by continually deepening your connection to your potential and your ability to master the patterns, choices, and obstacles that are preventing you from realizing your potential. One of two things will happen: either you begin to experience the positive effects of yoga on your life or you stop practicing yoga.
So how do you take this system of yoga that’s highly effective in changing your life for the better and make it a part of your life so that you actually get the transformative benefits?
I’ll be sharing a lot more about that in future episodes, but there are 2 very important things I want you to know: the first is that despite the comprehensive nature of yoga, you can get the life-changing benefits in small, simple steps.
It’s really the only way you do. It’s true, try taking a new shape with your body right now. Bring your arms overhead and hold opposite elbows. You’ll immediately notice the ways in which you are holding tension in your shoulders and can work on your ability to relax them. Take another breath or two here and deliberately practice softening into this shape. Now put the opposite forearm on top. Take a few breaths and just let yourself be here, noticing. Good, release.
I also want you to know that even though yoga can be surprisingly simple, to get the benefits, you do actually have to do it.
You do not have to go to an hourlong class, or roll out a mat, or wear anything in particular, but you do have willfully apply the wisdom and practices to your life.
I recommend you do this in small ways, throughout the day as part of your existing routine.
Like, using your time in the shower to practice breath awareness. Or taking a 1-minute break from hunching over your laptop to stretch your shoulders? Or reciting a mantra while you’re making dinner or washing dishes?
Simple and consistent works to change your life for the better, but don’t take my word for it, try it for yourself by taking my Simple Yoga Challenge.
You can sign-up for this free 7-day challenge at stephannieweikert.com/simple to learn a bunch of surprisingly simple practices to get some of the transformative benefits of yoga with ease.
So thank you for watching this episode Simple Yoga Life, I hope I’ve inspired you to begin making simple yoga part of your routine.
Let me know in the comments below what you would like to get out of simple yoga in your life by finishing the sentence: If I could just feel more ___.
And I’m sure you know a busy, stressed-out woman who could benefit from feeling more present, calm, and confident every day, please share this video with her.
A rising tide lifts all boats, so everything you do to make positive changes in your life truly does elevate us all. Thank you.
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