Fitness

Why can accessible yoga be vital to reaching your goals?

Process Oriented

It’s amazing what the mind-body relationship and benefits can do for a person? Years ago, I bought a hummingbird feeder. I set it up in front of my office window and watched daily for the arrival of these tiny, beautiful birds. But they never came. Months went by, and I got really fed up with the lack of visits. One day I said out loud to myself “Forget it. I am giving up on looking for these hummingbirds to arrive.” Almost immediately after I spoke this out loud, a hummingbird came to sip on the feeder. And she brought her friends. The rest of the summer my feeder was the hot spot in the neighborhood. It taught me a valuable lesson on living my yoga. When we let go of attaching ourselves to an outcome, we think we are supposed to have, or a goal we think we are supposed to reach according to our timeline, something happens.

Mind-Body Practice

Yoga is truly a mind-body wellness practice. While the physical and mental benefits are fantastic: better breath capacity which leads to stronger lungs and better circulation, reduction in tension and stress, unraveling tight muscles, stamina, and endurance through long holds in poses, a stronger will and mindset better able to cope with uncertainty and discomfort, better sleep- one of the best gifts’ yoga gives us is the ability to let go of an outcome and focus on the now.

What many people may not know is that the poses we practice in yoga were never meant to be an end result, but a small part of the full spectrum of what yoga is. The poses are like an inner vacuum, cleaning out the body’s tensions and what yogis called Samskaras (repetitive patterns and stuck thoughts) that keep us from living our full potential, which is to be able to be completely present in any moment, connected to our biggest selves, our inner power, rather than living in the past or future.

Using Yoga to Attain Your Goals

How can that transfer to training towards a goal? Being mindful, being in the now, means you give this moment your full attention. You accept the moment as it is, rather than tensing up your mind and body with negative or harsh self-talk. In a way, with a yoga mindset, you do not have to have a judgment or an expectation about an outcome. You are free to be and do your best, unencumbered.  That can have profound positive benefits on your life and fitness goals. An open mind is curious, more innovative, and less fearful. A relaxed body is more available to move with ease.

When we have goals there are also guaranteed setbacks. If our state of mind is relaxed, we can more easily adapt and go with the flow. We may even discover a hidden strength we never knew about. 

Yoga is not meant to be goal-oriented. Yoga is meant to be experienced. Give yourself the opportunity to experience your life as it is, and your goals will be reached with less striving and more joy.

By: Marsha Danzig
C-IAYT, RYT 500, M.ed Harvard
Kakana Instructor
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