Very few things have changed my life as much as yoga has.
I started practicing yoga in 2009. I was looking for something new to incorporate into my exercise regimen as well as something to get me out of bed in the morning. I had cable at the time which had an on demand section of channels. One of which was Exercise TV which has since become a Hulu exclusive channel. I started with a ten minute, AM Yoga routine, and have been hooked since.
There are no magic pills in this world. Yoga didn’t cure me of anything. Yoga didn’t overnight change my life. Yoga didn’t make me unrecognizable to my friends. I didn’t become a Buddhist.
What I have come to realize over the past several months is that yoga planted the seeds of paradigm change and shifts in my life. As humans, we can do nothing without breath. Breathing comes before entertainment, shelter, food, or water. Yoga is first and foremost about proper breathing. About getting more oxygen the brain and extremities, before the stretching aspect.
The increased oxygen to my brain slowly but surely started to change the way I thought. Slowly but surely changed the way I perceived myself and the world around me. Slowly but surely allowed me to bend more so that I would not break; physically, mentally, emotionally.
Yoga calms me down and de-stresses me physically and mentally. It literally removes physical tension from my hips and back. Metaphorically it calms me down and slows my constantly racing mind (probably from the increased oxygen going to my brain).
Yoga is the one exercise literally every human with all their limbs can do. There is pre-school yoga and senior citizen yoga. There is highly feminine yoga as well as yoga for bros and regular guys. There is yoga for abs, legs, back, and of course the butt as you’ve noticed from the yoga pants that are inescapable year round these days.
Yoga changed my life by changing the way I looked at everything. I thought yoga was for women and the excessively spiritual. I found that it is literally for everyone. It can be molded and shaped to fit any individuals specific needs and wants from a physical or mental exercise. I use it to calm my mind but also to stretch my muscles in between weight lifting sessions. This helps prevent injury as I am much less likely to tear an overly tight muscle since it gets stretched in a challenging way four to six days a week.
The more I learn about yoga and the more I do it, the more I love it. I am so happy and grateful the practice came into my life and I can’t recommend it highly enough to every man, woman, and/or child that may come across this article at any time in the present moment or future.
Why is yoga my year zero? Because of yoga I started meditating. Because of meditation I started listening to audio books. Because of audio books I began to love learning. Because I began to love learning I realized I could learn to love anything that I previously didn’t like. Once I started trying and liking different things, I started looking at what I had been doing previously and why I didn’t like so many things. Once I started doing that, I started doing the heavy lifting of taking action in the direction of being my best self. I was able to see through the darkness to get to the dawn. I was able to see that sometimes you have to take two steps back to take three steps forward. Everything changed after yoga, everything. And is still changing.
Yoga as the gateway to meditation is another story for another day. I have provided links to multiple yoga websites that will provide you with greater information and detail about the practice of yoga and I encourage you with all of my being to try the practice for yourself, it will be worth your time, energy, focus, and breath. I promise.