I just googled benefits of yoga and got 61,900,000 results in .28 seconds. The very first result listed the following benefits:
- Increased flexibility.
- Increased muscle strength and tone.
- Improved respiration, energy and vitality.
- The maintenance of a balanced metabolism.
- Weight reduction.
- Cardio and circulatory health.
- Improved athletic performance.
- Protection from injury.
And, YES, all of those are true. However, what really makes yoga and meditation so badass is that they both just help you deal with life. As one of my teachers explained it over the weekend, “Yoga poses are meant to induce stress. So that you can relax into it.”Pretty cool, huh? Think about it. Think about how you feel when you are in triangle pose or boat pose or (my personal “favorite”) camel. There’s tension. There are muscles and organs that are twisted or highly engaged. The body is under stress and the mind can start firing off danger signals: Beware! You’re abs are engaged! You’re organs are being wrapped around your body in a twist! Things are getting stressful down there!But you also know that’s not exactly the true. You are not in any danger. You are just in triangle pose and you can come out of it any moment. The real gift, however, is when you can stay in the pose for just a few moments longer than your brain is trying to tell you that you can. Instead of reacting, just breathe.The response is similar in meditation. I actually spent 2.5 hours the other weekend chanting Sat Nam over and over again. This was only the second time in my life that I have ever chanted for that long of a time. (note: chanting totally counts as meditating.) There were several moments during that time when I thought to myself, “This sucks! I’m never doing this again! There’s no way that I can handle 2.5 hours of this!”I did make it and I loved it and I’m totally going to do it again. Because what happens in those moments when you’re brain is telling you that you can’t do whatever it is that you doing for one more second…and you do it anyway. That’s what makes yoga so badass.So that the next time you are freaking out over work or your kids are driving you bonkers and you think you are going to lose it…Or you are getting ready to make that big life change or ask that person out on a date and your brain is sending the exactly signals it would if there were a grizzly bear in the room. In those moments, you can consciously tell your brain to shut up. And breathe. And do it anyway.That’s what makes yoga and meditation so badass.Journal Prompts1) What the most stressful moments during your day? Your week?2) How would you like to behave differently in those moments?3) Are you ready to start your daily meditation practice yet?