Living The Yoga Lifestyle

Many have said that yoga is not just a form of exercise, it’s a way of life, and the saying is completely true. Yoga is more than just a way of keeping our bodies in shape, although it does an excellent job of that, it truly is a way of living, connecting with others, and for many it’s a very spiritual practice as well.

As far as spirituality goes yoga is deeply tied to the traditions of the Hindu’s and is still widely practiced in southeast asia today. There are many ancient texts from that part of the world that describe yoga and the way that it fit into ancient society. These traditions have encourage many people to include yoga into their spiritual practices today and it’s common to find people from all religions and backgrounds seeking spirituality from their yoga practice. It’s this sense of spirituality that gives yoga practicers the sense that their yoga isn’t just limited to the studio a few nights a week, but that instead it seems to permeate every aspect of their lives.

One of the more noticeable ways is that when developing a yoga practice many students find themselves making better food choices without even realizing it. They just naturally shift toward more whole, natural foods, lots of water, and a distinct lack of processed junk food. It’s not a magical shift and it doesn’t happen overnight it simply stems from being more in tune with your body and noticing what makes it feel good and what doesn’t. So many of us don’t even notice the signs and signals that our body is giving us  and as a result can’t tell the difference between when it’s feeling good or not so good. Yoga allows you to tap back into those signs and feelings and gives you the opportunity to really listen to what your body needs - and that quickly develops into eating better and drinking a lot more water.

Yoga also has a big impact on the way you relate to your environment. Many yogis practice certain ways of eating and living (such as veganism, nonviolence, etc) as an extension of their yoga practice. Being in tune with your body quickly puts you back in touch with nature and the physical world around you. Being more present and aware of this connection has encouraged many yogis to change the way they interact with their environment especially when it comes to the impact that they have on the planet and other living things. Many yogis choose to be a vegan and not consume any plant or animal products, others choose to simply refrain from eating meat, and others find it especially important to be aware of the immediate impact they have on the world around them. For some this may be as simple as choosing not to kill bugs, for others it means walking instead of driving, and for others it means involvement in one of the many conservation projects available to those wishing to help.

For some people yoga has even meant the abandonment of their material lives and the society they were raised in. Some yogis have chosen to walk the path of a monk or to work in one of India’s many ashrams (spiritual retreats often led by a certain guru). Others have taken a milder approach and left corporate jobs and stressful careers to pursue more center-minded paths and some are satisfied to simply retain their yoga practice and their prior lives and just making small changes to better themselves and the world around them every day.

Having a yoga practice can impact every facet of your life, it can change the way you look at the world, the way you connect with those in your life, the way that you relate to different aspects of your life and eventually the way you make decisions about what path to take. By opening up to a life of yoga and yoga-mindfulness you open yourself up to a world of new opportunities and a truly different way of thinking and being in this world. Remember to be clear about what your yoga practice means to you and to always seeks out the support of those around you.