How Can The Practice of Yoga Change Your Life
Her life changed overnight when she suffered a brain hemorrhage, and she suddenly found herself facing significant cognitive impairment and months of recovery. Yoga helped Stacy get her life back and taught her the value of living with intention. In the hospital after the hemorrhage, Stacy was calm and peaceful, she says. But as she slowly began to regain cognitive function, she became increasingly frustrated by her inability to comprehend simple things.
She was easily confused, disoriented, and a step behind everyone else, both physically and mentally. I would get lost in the city—I couldn't figure out that I was going uptown when I actually wanted to go downtown. I had no interest in my friends, in my career. It was all just too much work. Feeling disconnected from everything in her former life, Stacy dropped in to an Anusara Yoga class. Right away, she was drawn to the way the teacher asked everyone to line up their mats. The idea of order felt reassuring, she says. The teacher went on to give specific anatomical instruction that Stacy found she could follow.
She started taking a beginners' Anusara Yoga class every day at the same studio, and found that the clear, mindful asana instruction improved her memory, spatial relations, focus, and sense of connectedness with her mind and body. But on a greater scale, she says, the daily practice showed her the value of acting deliberately. She learned that, on the mat, patience and focused intention translated into more precision in poses; off the mat, those qualities resulted in living in a more deeply satisfying way. If you are slow and mindful, you tend to be more focused on your goals and intentions.
Today, Stacy, who now works in real estate and is preparing to do a yoga teacher training, sees the effects of her yoga practice in every part of her life. She describes herself as more patient, precise, and detail oriented than she was before her brain injury, and able to make better business decisions. Her eating habits have changed—she ate fast food before the hemorrhage but now loves to cook, spending long stretches of time shopping for food, chopping vegetables for the week, and packing food to take to work. And she spends more time deepening her relationships with longtime friends, rather than filling her calendar with events involving big groups of casual acquaintances.
The common thread, she says, is that she lives her life with a greater sense of purpose and intention. In some ways, she says, she feels like a completely different person from the one she was before the hemorrhage.
12 Ways Yoga Changed My Life (And Could Change Yours) | HuffPost Life
Larry Sherman had survived a lot: substance abuse, a near-death experience as a naval petty officer in Desert Storm, and a divorce that left him with the responsibility of raising his children. But no problem seemed as insurmountable as his weight, which at his heaviest exceeded pounds. Through yoga, Larry found the inner strength to turn his life around. Larry's overeating began as a way to cope with loneliness, depression, and posttraumatic stress disorder. I would wake up in the morning and go to the bagel place and eat two or three bagels and drink a cup of coffee.
On the way home, I'd purchase two or three dozen doughnuts. Then I'd drive straight to the China Buffet and eat there for two hours, and then go home and eat my doughnuts. I was sick and tired, and I couldn't breathe. I was spending every night waiting to die. Larry had been in and out of food-addiction programs over the years, and in , at age 47, he decided to try again. One day at a health fair, he met a yoga teacher who encouraged him to try yoga.
Larry started attending classes at Yoga Shelter in Detroit, where his teacher and fellow students had to help him into the poses at first by supporting his arms and legs. I couldn't even stand for long periods of time," he says. His size made the poses difficult and sometimes painful, but his teachers urged him to keep practicing. As asana became a regular part of his life, Larry discovered that his body was capable of moving with grace, and even of providing him with moments of pleasure.
He found his self-confidence increasing—and with it the will to stick with the food-addiction program, something he hadn't been able to do in the past. Over the next six months, he dropped pounds. Today Larry weighs pounds, and works in a drug and alcohol rehabilitation hospital, where he mentors young adults.
But I learned to do yoga for me, to discipline myself for my own benefit. At 40, Rachel Eliason is a registered nurse, a budding writer, and the loving mother of a year-old son. But just four years ago, she was living her life as someone she wasn't—someone named Richard. Yoga and meditation gave Rachel the insight to connect with the truth of who she really was, and the courage to embrace living her life as that person. Rachel was born a biological male and as an adult had gotten married and fathered a child, but she had struggled all of her life with confusion about her gender identity.
After her divorce five years ago, she tried living life as a gay man, but still felt unsettled. I wasn't dealing with me. It was in meditation, she says, that she was able to see herself as a woman for the first time. It was a beautiful woman.
12 Ways Yoga Changed My Life (And Could Change Yours)
And I thought, 'Oh my God, is that who I am? The vision wasn't as much a surprise as it was confirmation of something she'd always known subconsciously, but it was the realization she needed to move forward. Maybe it was real.
Maybe it could happen. Yoga helped me to inhabit my own body and just be myself," she says. Her practice also helped her become comfortable with the way her body naturally wanted to move and express itself. And yoga was a huge help in just that. Today, as the gender-transition process continues, Rachel is enjoying relief from the confusion that once overshadowed her. Her yoga practice is a constant reminder that achieving the truest expression of herself takes time. But we call it a 'transition,' because it's a process. Nobody wants to go through months of being on hormones and getting ready to have surgery.
But you have to start with where you are and what you've got. You have to be patient and let the process unfold. Poses by Anatomy. Poses by Level.
108 Ways Yoga Can Change Your Life
The Yoga for You. Types of Poses. Yoga Sequences. Yoga by Benefit. Yoga for Beginners. Intermediate Yoga. Advanced Yoga. It feels so good to bend and pose, you do it everywhere! You impress your boss not by wearing yoga pants to the office. Your yoga focus helps you work faster and breeze through your work day. Your sex life sizzles. You discover your pelvic floor. And you learn to engage and lock those muscles, which are integral in orgasm and translate to better sex. Your cupboards get cleaner. Because you respect your body, you're eating more mindfully, and tossing out the potato chips, fruity hoops, and cheesy doodles.
You change your email signature from Sincerely to Namaste. You honor and even explore other religions and ideas that are foreign to you. You discover a new genre of books. You start reading Light on Yoga and yoga-inspired content. You require more breaks from your desk. As sitting too long makes your spine feel compressed.
You become a vegan You stop wearing socks at home so you can hop on the mat when the mood strikes. You start hopping on the mat when the mood strikes. You do yoga intermittently, throughout the day. You learn how to meditate. Without getting up 16 times to do small tasks such as emptying the dryer, or checking your phone. You acquire a tribe of new friends who are as fit and fun as you want to be. You rewrite your bucket list.
Adding more languages, travel destinations, and over-the-top adventure. You cancel your cable television and forget all about The Walking Dead. You stop using sign language the naughty finger while driving in rush hour traffic. You make bad hair dye decisions, because fuschia looked fabulous on your yogi friend. You become a yoga spokesperson. Attempting to convert your couch potato friends to yogis and yoginis. You stop needing expensive foot creams and salves to de-crust your heels. See above. And because of that, you stop popping OTC drugs for headaches, common colds and minor aches and pains.
You spend less time wandering aimlessly in parking lots, searching for your vehicle. You suddenly dig the water because the buoyancy makes it an ideal place to practice difficult yoga poses. You become the annoying social media poster. The one who fills all the feeds with yogic quotes, videos, and tips for your friends. Your compassion increases, and your household expands to include every stray animal you encounter.
You make time for yourself because you understand the value of introspection. You stop feeling guilty for disappointing people, fully realizing you are only responsible for the energy you bring. You become the best version of yourself. Are you ready to rock the yoga life and reap these incredible benefits? Or maybe you've discovered them already. How has yoga changed your life? Share with us below! Join over , members and reach your personal goals together with the world's best teachers.
You lose your hamster wheel, and start taking life at your own pace. You stop making comparisons You spend more time in the bedroom. You drop the urge to change everything. You amass a collection of yoga paraphernalia. You get keen on Kino MacGregor. You start obsessively examining your form in full-length mirrors. You become known for your yoga uniform. You become more charitable.
You stop keeping up with the Kardashians. Because who really cares? Lotus becomes your new favorite flower. You become a yoga studio spy in your search for new places to practice. You start Googling yoga terms like chakra and drishti. You start speaking Sankrit, as in Ashtanga, and Kundalini. Your taste in music changes. You no longer find the word guru silly or strange.
You spend less time sleeping; more time exploring your world. You develop daily rituals, inspired by ayurveda. You start using the hashtag yogalover after all your tweets. You subscribe to yoga videos and start hand-standing in your hallway.
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You begin reciting Rumi in random conversations. You stop gossiping with your old crew. You start making plans to visit India.