Beyond Exercise - Is Yoga a Form of Self Help?
When you think of self help, you may think it’s for people who are plagued with mental health issues, anxiety and depression. And you’d be somewhat correct. However, it is also for those who are perfectly content with life, cracking up jokes at the water cooler, going on vacations with family and surrounded by friends - but something nags at them, they are happy, but they are missing something and they are trying to figure out what it is.
Can you relate?
You may feel like something is missing and you can’t put your finger on what that is. And no wonder, with all the well meaning childhood lessons on societal expectations on what to do, and not to do, how to act, what to say and not say, how to present yourself to different people, who to trust and not trust etc….Then combine those rules with the sacrifices you made to put others needs before your own, it’s no wonder that you may have lost a little bit of yourself, gotten stuck, lost or even felt overwhelmed along the way. And that's okay, in fact it's perfectly normal. Beyond the material world, beyond maintaining appearances - being connected to your true self is often the missing piece.
The time has come to give yourself permission to focus on yourself a bit more. Now it's time to find peace, self-love, fulfilment, connection. Time to discover the real you, the one buried behind all life's rules and smokescreens.
But, I get ahead of myself. Maybe you are not even there yet, maybe self discovery is not even within the realm of something you have time for - you may just want to know how you can better manage your emotions so you don’t get set off like a rocket every time you get triggered? You just may want to remove some stress so you can be a better wife, mom, employee or boss? I'm willing to bet that you can find the solution by practicing yoga.
Contrary to popular belief, yoga is not just headstands and body contortions, in fact I've never done one myself and I'm certainly not flexible either, but I love yoga. Its physical benefits are outstanding and it's emotional impact is transformational.
Yoga is actually an ancient set of principles that open the pathway to enlightenment. Yoga is beyond the incredibly powerful, physical exercise regimen we often see practiced today. It's true magic comes from it's transformational power. It has the mystical ability to heal what our minds don’t even know is broken, simply by using various poses, often simple stretches, that integrate our bodies with our breath, with our mind, with our souls. We, as humans, are one being, but we mistakenly treat each of these areas separately - the practice of yoga reunites them - it reconnects us to our whole self, resulting in a feeling of happiness, calm, peace and love.
The ancient gurus of yoga were able to discover the secret of how different physical poses, which help your body strengthen, also serve to calm your mind, ground you, help you focus and find peace, amongst a plethora of other advantages which serve to make us better humans, more connected to ourselves and each other.
I remain mesmerized, as to how we can gain such remarkable, soul stirring, transformations from the simplest yet carefully crafted sequence of poses. Knowing how to build a transformational sequence - this is the wonderfully powerful gift your instructor brings to you, which makes them the cheapest and most effective self help counsellor you can find. Yet they are not a counsellor, they are different, they don’t listen to your woes. They simply guide your mind, body and soul into union. And it is from there, that supernatural and energetic forces converge to release imbalances, and bring you into union so you no longer have a sense that you are missing something - it is replaced with connection to yourself, internal peace and calm; and your next smile, will be generated from the depths of your soul and shine through your eyes and your heart. You will Glow. You will Shine.
You don’t need to sweat it out or contort your body to feel like a whole new you (yet for those of you who prefer that approach, we’ve got you covered as well, as therein lies the beauty of yoga - sequences exist for every body and personality type).
Yoga is a pathway to self actualization, the top of Maslow's hierarchy of needs. It is a practice that truly connects mind, body and soul and helps us derive meaning and purpose in our lives. The journey is yours, but the path has been created by those who have gone down it before you, our yogi’s, our teachers; their wisdom and teachings are shared with you so you can live a happier, healthier life and shine like the light you are meant to be.
So is Yoga a form of self-help? It’s a resounding yes from me! But it goes so much deeper than the surface level, never ending quest for more information. We live in a world where we are drowning in information. We don’t need to know more, we need to feel more. Once you practice yoga, and adopt the yogic lifestyle, unrest subsides and is replaced with the feeling of being at peace with yourself. It’s so calming.
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