What is Your Reason for Practicing Yoga?

International Yoga DayThinking about why it might be useful and beneficial to practice yoga, I have come to the conclusion that there is only one reason that really matters: It is your reason for practicing yoga.

What made me think about the reasons for practicing yoga is International Day of Yoga on 21 June. International Day of Yoga was established by the United Nations in 2014 after being proposed by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. He argued that “yoga is an invaluable gift from our ancient tradition. Yoga embodies unit of mind and body, thought and action … a holistic approach [that] is valuable to our health and our well-being. Yoga is not just about exercise; it is a way to discover the sense of oneness with yourself, the world and the nature.”

Ten reasons for practicing yoga

Yoga seems to have a universal appeal: It has grown from its Indian, religious roots into a worldwide secular phenomenon and a flourishing industry. Today there are yoga classes and workshops, retreats, festivals, training, clothing, props, books, videos, and a whirlwind of posts on social media. Yoga is accessible because the yoga basics are not difficult to grasp and a diverse range of yoga styles suits different temperaments.

From the rather unscientific method of chatting with my clients, I have identified ten main reasons for practicing yoga:

  • Yoga feels good.
  • Yoga is valuable ‘me-time’.
  • Yoga relaxes.
  • Yoga increases flexibility, strength and mobility.
  • Yoga helps declutter the mind.
  • Yoga is sociable.
  • Yoga is interesting.
  • Yoga is challenging.
  • Yoga creates a sense of well-being.
  • Yoga has a spiritual dimension.
Always remember number one

I went to my first yoga class when I was pregnant because I had heard that yoga is good for you. So I went to my local sports centre, enrolled in their yoga class (only one at the time!), and kept going for years because I found: Yoga did me good! Since then, this same sports centre offers six yoga classes (one of which I am teaching), and has a loyal regular membership of yoga enthusiasts.

Whatever your number one reason for practising yoga may be – always keep it in mind. I have tried out many yoga classes over the years and most of them were good. However, some of them somehow did not agree with me, and therefore I decided to stop. Feeling good afterwards – physically, mentally, emotionally – is my yardstick.

You may have a different reason for practising yoga – such as doing something positive for your health, escaping from the hustle and bustle of life, recovering from illness or injury, or being able to show off a party trick. Focussing on your main reason for practicing y oga can help you stay motivated to attend class regularly even when you do not quite feel like getting out of the house.

We are all different, have different needs, different preferences. Sometimes our main driver to practice yoga changes. Being aware of this will help you make the right choice when it comes to finding the right approach to yoga for you. Enjoy the journey.

“Yoga cultivates the ways of maintaining a balanced attitude in day-to-day life and endows skill in the performance of one’s actions.”
B.K.S. Iyengar