4 Benefits of yoga that will transform your life
Updated: Mar 28
Body. Mind. Soul. Harmony. Focus. Determination. Gratitude. Patience. Respect. Balance. Effort. Surrender. Namaste.
I started practicing yoga after moving from Brazil to the Bay Area. I have had a consistent workout routine, but after a few months here, I realized that I needed a new activity that would help me to relax not only my body, but also my mind. While working in global projects, early morning and late night meetings became routine, and I was having a hard time disconnecting from work outside of working hours.
The first time I entered a yoga studio for a vinyasa class I didn't know much about the practice. It was way more challenging than I expected and I had a hard time doing the most basic poses. Even though I didn't know much about meditation by then, the breathing exercises and the focus required to follow instructions for the poses helped me to ease my mind.
1.5 years and many downward facing dogs later, I still get amazed by how deeply yoga has benefited my life in different aspects:
- Mindfulness: I started meditating after initiating yoga, and I strive to be mindful during my practice. The more I focus on the class, the better I perform, what brings me excitement and keeps the good energy flowing.
- Respect my Body: from the first class I knew it was going to be hard to do the movements correctly and evolve in the yoga flow. I also realized that pushing myself outside of my boundaries (as I do in other areas of my life) would not make me develop faster. I actually hurt my lower back a few times, what slowed down my development. I learned to listen to my body and to respect it. Some days I can feel good to push myself and others I may prefer to use props or easier alternatives to get into the poses. Stepping back proved to be the best alternative for moving forward. It took me probably one year of practice to get to this conclusion as, such approach is specially hard for divas, as we are used to push ourselves to accomplish goals.
- Cultivate Patience: this is a virtue I am strong at, and I realized it was key for yoga. I get constantly surprised by how my body naturally evolves into the poses when I don't force it, and by how I can get mindful in class if I don't try really hard. I am also getting more patient in other areas of my life, what has been improving relationship with my loved ones and my performance at work. I have even received positive feedback regarding that, as I become a better listener, less anxious, more focused.
- Celebrate Victories: I get really proud of any achievement in my yoga mat. I try to go to the studio 3 to 4 times a week and I also focus on strengthen muscles needed for yoga poses while working out at the gym. It took me some months (and back exercises) to be able to hold a downward facing dog for 5 deep breaths and almost one year (and many push ups) to be able to do a chaturanga. I still have to learn many poses, and I'll keep celebrating the small conquers for each step forward.
Yoga has benefited all areas of my life, specially my career, what has been truly transformative. Thus, it has gained a special space in my gratitude journal - everyday I practice I add it to my daily list of things that I am grateful for and that make me happy. Thereby, I have prioritized yoga on my daily routine. Some days I start working earlier, so I can stop in the evening to go to class, or I continue working after class if needed.
Divas, I would love to learn about your experience with yoga or other activities that work your body and mind! Share your experience here or @ideasfordivas on Twitter.