“This practice of yoga is built, with devotion and commitment, over a lengthy time period.” – Yoga Sutras of Patanjali (1, 14)
In todays fast-paced world where instant results have come to be expected, it’s rare for a person to commit to anything for longer than a week. But when it comes to yoga, it takes time to reap the plethora of mental and physical benefits. Sure, you might feel revitalized and calm after one class, but what about after 10, 20, 50 or even hundreds of classes?
Here are 10 things that can happen in a year of yoga:
- Increase your flexibility. Everyone always says they can’t do yoga because they’re not flexible enough, and every yoga teacher always says “that’s why you do yoga”! It’s true – yoga will help you gain flexibility over time, and it’s important to stay agile and limber to avoid injury and muscle pain.
- Build your strength. No matter what your current strength level, a regular yoga practice will leave you feeling stronger. Shaky in chaturanga? Can’t hold virabhadrasana 3? See how you feel after one year of regular practice.
- Improve your posture. Sitting at a desk or in a car all day can leave you hunched over and stuck, but yoga can help reverse this damage. There are even dedicated yogis out there who say they’ve grown an inch since they started practicing!
- Learn to breathe. Pranayama can increase your sense of calm and relaxation, and help to decrease stress, anxiety & depression. A regular yoga practice will remind you to always come back to your breath, which is a powerful habit to form in and out of class.
- Listen to your body. Yoga teaches you to pay attention to your body. As you learn to listen to what your body needs during your asana practice, you’ll also learn to listen to what it needs in day-to-day life when it comes to things like food, sleep, exercise and more.
- Do things you never thought possible. Maybe you’ll finally touch your toes, or maybe you’ll actually get into scorpion for the first time. Either way, you’ll be surprised by what what your body is capable of.
- Handle challenges with ease. Learning to work through challenging situations on your mat will help you work through challenging situations off your mat as well. Yoga gives you the tools to stay calm, focused, and present, no matter what life throws at you.
- See what comes up. Yoga is not just a physical practice, it’s also a mental one. In addition to the incredibly positive things you’ll feel during yoga, you may on occasion be confronted with things such as anger, sadness, anxiety, and fear. Every one of these moments is an incredible opportunity for personal growth as you examine what’s coming up and begin to work through it.
- Start to crave yoga. Your body will start to yearn for all things yoga – even the things you currently can’t stand! For example, one student recently told us that he used to hate stretching, but now stretching makes his day better. Another student used to leave before savasana every class, but now it’s her favorite part of practice.
- Patience. It takes time, but it’s worth it. With dedication and commitment, you will be shocked by the positive shift you’ll feel both physically and mentally with each passing year of your practice.
Check out YogaWorks.com to find a class near you, or try our online class site MyYogaWorks.com and take your practice with you anywhere!
Joanna Berman is a holistic health counselor, writer, recipe developer, 500-hour certified yoga teacher, and the Content & Communications Manager at YogaWorks and MyYogaWorks. She believes in finding balance, figuring out what makes you feel your best, and most importantly enjoying the process. Follow her on Facebook and Instagram at @peppermysalt for all things food and yoga, including in-post recipes! peppermysalt.com