15/08/2014 13:14 BST | Updated 15/10/2014 06:59 BST

Your Love Affair With Yoga Begins Now


For many people, the very mention of yoga inspires common reactions such as "I can't even touch my toes, I can't sit still, it's too boring, I'm not flexible enough, I already do Pilates, I prefer the gym etc". I'll be honest, as a long time yoga instructor it kind of annoys me (yes, yoga teachers can get annoyed too!) to hear these rote and banal responses and throw away comparisons to gym workouts and ab exercises.

Far more than an exercise, although the physical benefits are indeed amazing, yoga has this magical way of making you fall in love. Yes, I said it. Making you fall in love. With what you may ask? Yourself. As cheesy as it may sound I really do believe the more we practice yoga the more we love ourselves for the very fact that we begin to become more comfortable in our own skin. Literally and metaphorically. By literally I mean we learn non-aggressive ways to stretch and ease the strain, tension and tightness out of our muscles and bodies making sitting and standing for long periods of time less uncomfortable. Metaphorically by getting to know ourselves better whilst continually observing our reaction and mental fluctuations when faced with challenge or discomfort on the mat. All of this of course leads to a lot more self love and self care which in turn leads to the ability to love and care more about others. It is pretty much impossible to love another person if you don't love yourself. Not in any genuine way at least. All in all yoga can lead to a big old love fest!!

So that being said, below are six pretty convincing arguments why yoga should be part of your life asap and how impossible it is not to fall in love once you start a regular practice.

1. You become healthier.

A consistent meditation and yoga practice leads to introspection, resulting in total awareness. When you contemplate reality on a regular basis, you begin to notice how your actions affect your entire life. Rather than mindlessly operating out of habit, you start to make choices that suit the most authentic version of yourself. You renounce perpetual tendencies that cause you harm and, instead, invest in healthy relationships, food and activities.

2. Creativity awakens inside of you.

Creativity is important when learning to understand and express your unique existence. Without it, you suppress parts of your essential self and stifle growth on many levels. Yoga opens you up to the possibility of stepping outside your comfort zone to articulate your story.

3. You become calmer.

Mindfully moving through postures with deep breaths helps to release deep-rooted memories and emotions that have been stored in your cell tissue. Once you let go of the past, it no longer holds power over you and you stop fighting a losing battle with yourself, thus creating a calmer, more relaxed internal environment.

4. Your vision becomes clearer.

Practicing yoga with intention provides you an opportunity to realize what you want and get your priorities in order. Once you decide what's important to you and what no longer holds value in your life, the obstacles standing in your way become lessons rather than hindrances and help you refine your goals.

5. You grow wiser.

Moving your focus inward unlocks the door to ancient wisdom buried underneath the "shoulds" that often influence your decision-making process. As you learn to listen to those deeper longings and hone your intuition, you gain insight and make choices from a place of unadulterated honesty. Living a life in harmony with your truth is wisdom in its purest form.

6. Your heart opens.

Becoming vulnerable isn't always easy, and opening your heart to another can feel scary when you have not cultivated a relationship with yourself. Yoga serves as a reminder to nourish and care for your own needs first and foremost. You must give to another from a place of excess or else you become depleted, forcing your body (and heart) to shut down for protection. Yoga gives us tools to cultivate self-love so we can give freely from a place of abundance.