It is safe to say that yoga has become a popular practice. An alternative form of exercise, yoga is offered ubiquitously in a class setting, from private studios to gyms to college campuses. Classes are easily accessible, taught by qualified instructors, and the fee for ongoing group sessions is quite reasonable. Many classes are even offered for free.
Individuals also choose to practice yoga at home or in a private setting with audio instruction, music, or a calming, meditative silence.
In any practice environment, yoga can reap benefits for physical, mental, and emotional wellbeing. Its popularity and appeal lies in its uniqueness to inspire wellbeing. Rather than a focus on the self and pushing the limits to be better and do better, yoga inspires the individual to transcend the self-conscious mindset. While some forms of exercise emphasize the transformation of the physical body, yoga emphasizes the connection between the mind and the body. The individual’s perception of his or her body, the relationship with the body, is transformed through yoga. Once this perception is transformed, the body itself can change.
By transformation, I mean changing negative and destructive views about the body into view that are positive and healing. In a society where progress and pushing oneself towards ideals of being are important, we often propagate and absorb adverse ideas about body image. Social standards inform the way we think about ourselves, and so, on a daily basis, we believe that we should look and feel a certain way as a result of working at a certain level to be at the top of our game. Yet, what the “top” actually means has become skewed. The “top” is not one universal model of achievement; rather, it is subjective and varies from person to person. At Bonesball, we strive to redefine the “top” as a state of individual wellbeing and becoming your best self.
Your best self is a state that only you can recognize, and it manifests when you work and act for yourself rather than for other people. The social habit of competing and comparing against other people distorts the idea of the best self. When you are constantly worried about others, and how your performance measures up, you can become disconnected from your own individuality. Your personal aspirations and self-confidence can become lost within the competitive social web.
Yoga is a positive means of extricating yourself from this web. Though the practice may seem daunting with unfamiliar poses and breathing, yoga is great because it is a gradual process of learning and self-awareness. When we first start practicing, our bodies seem to be in competition with the postures. However, as we continue, we find that we are not working against the rigidity of our bones or body. We are in harmony. Yoga teaches us to embrace our body by reconnecting to it. In this reconnection, we can transcend old concepts, fears, images, and the personal issues that can plague our minds. Negative thoughts, competitiveness, and perfectionism are thus banished in the yoga practice room. Yoga fosters uniqueness and love of the self. The goal in yoga is not to be perfect or to be the best. Yoga teaches patience, respect and whole nurturing for the whole body. Incorporating yoga into your lifestyle is an excellent way to begin to appreciate yourself away from the stress of competitive society. Don’t judge yourself, but let yoga be an exercise in releasing judgment and simply embracing the moment. Once we do this, we can adopt a healthier view of the world even as it becomes seemingly more difficult to navigate with growing demands and stresses.