Everyone knows about the physical benefits of yoga – think increased flexibility and strength, toned muscles, etc. But when it comes to yoga, this is just the tip of the iceberg. There’s so much more to this ancient practice than what can be seen with the naked eye.

In fact, research has proven that those who practice yoga have a higher tolerance to pain, are less stressed out, and are better able to stay calm under pressure. In other words, scientists agree that just a few minutes of yoga every day can significantly increase your sense of well-being.

Sticking to this standard (a regular practice) creates fertile ground for personal growth. It gives yogis the opportunity to accept and understand themselves, their abilities, and limitations.

How is this possible? Check out some of the ways that yoga can benefit in your personal growth:

1. Increases Mindfulness

When you practice yoga on a consistent basis, you create powerful memories of being completely focused and aware. Whenever you are having a challenging day or are stuck in a downward spiral, think about your last practice – especially the breathing portion.

It doesn’t matter where you are or what you’re going through, controlled breaths will bring about a sense of awareness. Learning how to make the breath work for you will help you center yourself, even in difficult circumstances.

2. Reduces the Size of the Ego

Yoga teaches acceptance of your strengths and weaknesses. But, to fully embrace this concept, you must first release the ego. In other words, refrain from judging yourself and others. We know that this is easier said than done but, the reward is worth the effort.

3. Strengthens the Patience Muscle

Innovations in technology have made our modern society fast paced and exciting. Mostly everything is available with just a click of the button.

Having a variety of choices is pretty neat, but it can also be overwhelming. Everyone is always in a rush, trying to get the latest game, beat the deadline, be the best parent, etc. But, it isn’t like that with yoga. Yoga gives you permission to slow down and smell the roses. It gives you the opportunity to get back in alignment with your truest self.

This effect is felt most prominently during practice. Going through your asanas mindfully teaches you to be patient with yourself. This patience gives you the space to become fully aware of your entire body and how small adjustments can deepen your practice. When you take this concept off the mat, it teaches you to enjoy the journey that is your life.

4. Teaches Self-Love

When we love ourselves, we are able to fully give and receive love in our daily lives. But, we cannot embrace this feeling if we haven’t learned to accept ourselves.

It’s not going to be easy. We are complex human beings, made up of many layers. Thus, learning to fully accept ourselves (both our good qualities and our contradictions) can take a lifetime. But, yoga can help you get started.

Regular practice helps you accept your body for the wonder that it is, how it serves you, and what it can and cannot do. It teaches us to take the time to listen to our minds and bodies and how to treat them with patience and kindness. Is there any bigger act of self-love?

How To Use Yoga to Jump-start Personal Growth

Using yoga to help start your journey of personal growth doesn’t have to be as hard as it sounds. Simply, take heed of the following steps and you will be well on your way:

● Breathe: Taking full, expansive breaths will realign your focus and help clear your mind.
● Include sun salutations in your practice: These poses help bring your body to a place of centered strength
● Write in a journal: Reflecting on the good parts of your day will help you maintain proper perspective when faced with challenges
● Wear comfortable clothing: It’s hard to concentrate on your yoga practice if your clothes are bunching up or falling over your face. Put the kibosh on this pain in the butt by simply wearing comfortable yoga pants and you are ready to go. This clothing is designed to wick away sweat and it’s snug (but not too tight fit) will guarantee that your clothes are the last thing on your mind during practice.

It would be foolhardy to say that yoga is the cure for all ills. But, this practice does have the potential to be a powerful catalyst for personal and positive change. Good luck on your journey to a deeper understanding of self. Namaste.

Guide to Inspired Life