How is your spiritual life?
Do you feel the need to be more connected to your soul?
Yoga is one of the best ways to be more in tune with your soul and enrich your spirituality as a whole.
Truly, yoga has countless benefits—both physically and spiritually.
Not only can it help you deal with everyday stress, but it can also help you stabilize your inner psychological state, and even get you in touch with the divine.
Here are the main ways yoga does exactly that!
The 6 ways yoga makes you a more spiritual person
Asana, or the practice of yoga, can help you in countless ways.
However, as we live in a world that keeps on devaluing spirituality, perhaps its spiritual benefits are the most valuable.
Here are 6 ways yoga can help you become more spiritual.
1) It cultivates true awareness
One of the main aims of regularly practicing yoga is to become more aware.
You will not only be more aware of your physical body, such as how you move or how you breathe, but you will also awaken your awareness of your spiritual energy.
Don’t worry, you won’t be seeing ghosts!
That’s not what we mean.
What we mean is that you will be more connected to your spiritual consciousness.
Your spiritual consciousness is the driving force behind your own being. It’s what gives you motivation and makes you do what you do and think what you think.
If you want to take yoga seriously as a spiritual practice, you need to link your physical consciousness with your spiritual awareness.
This greater awareness will result in a deeper understanding of both yourself and the world around you.
You will gain more knowledge about how you think, speak, and act and this wisdom will give you the power to transform your life for the better.
2) It promotes healing
There has always been a lot of skepticism about yoga’s benefits, but countless scientific, peer-reviewed studies have already proven just how good yoga can be for you.
Because it helps you connect your body to your spirit, yoga alleviates many stressors and promotes healing in all aspects: physically, mentally, and spiritually.
Not only is it a solid form of exercise, it has been shown to help people deal with depression, anxiety, and insomnia.
If you think about it…
Yoga is one of the best self-care practices and is a great way to improve your quality of life.
3) Your mind will be calmed
Our world is chaotic and that makes our everyday struggle to survive in it incredibly hectic. Our minds are always busy, buzzing, and overwhelmed about the next thing we need to do.
It’s just near impossible to develop a healthy self-awareness of your mental state.
That’s why yoga is so valuable. Yoga gives you the space to temporarily exit the external world and focus on your mind and body.
As you push yourself to even more challenging poses, your physical body will get exhausted. This allows you to let go and calm your mind from all that it worries about.
By doing so, you cultivate inner peace and quietness.
With inner silence comes awareness—not necessarily positivity or happiness as mainstream media would imply—but tranquility and presentness.
As silly as this sounds, be aware of such awareness!
Savor the experience of having a calm mind and take it as an opportunity to be grateful despite the world’s problems.
In fact, take this attitude with you as you end your yoga session and you will find yourself dealing with life’s challenges with a wiser, more peaceful mindset.
4) You’ll learn how to be still and present
Yoga is a unique form of exercise in that it makes you hold your body in poses rather than making it constantly move.
As you perform these dynamic poses, you’re also focusing on your breath and your mind as you meditate.
What does it do, you may wonder?
What this does is it fosters an internal environment of stillness and awareness in you.
You’ll slow down, forget everything that weighs on your mind and draw all your attention and awareness to the activity.
Essentially, as you perform yoga, you are forced to be still and focus on the present.
From every joint in your bones to every synapse in your brain, you will learn to remain in and appreciate the here and now.
5) It helps you deal with things you can’t control
Many people look to yoga to improve themselves as a person.
They think that it will help them reach their goals, earn more money, or become a supposedly better person.
But yoga is not all about that.
It won’t get rid of your problems either—or help you deal with them or control other external things.
The rude family members, the angry boss, the noisy dog, the car that keeps breaking down—yoga will help with none of these.
What yoga is, is a spiritual practice. It helps you turn inwards and relinquish control over things and events that you simply have no power over.
And it teaches you that that’s okay. It teaches you to remain still and strong despite it all—the same way you hold your poses.
6) You’ll be more compassionate
Yoga is not just an exercise or an ancient spiritual practice. In fact, it’s an entire philosophy, an entire way of life.
Ask any yoga teacher and they will all say that to truly be a practitioner of yoga, yoga must not end once you leave your mat.
You need to extend your peacefulness and awareness into the real world and practice tranquility and compassion there too.
Yoga was founded in ancient India with the aims of strengthening your consciousness, fostering inner peace, and learning how to focus your mind—all so that you may be of help to those who are suffering.
7) It connects your spirit with others
Even though we focus on ourselves during yoga, you will soon begin to realize that we are also connecting ourselves to other people.
As we delve into the depths of our souls and psyches, be prepared to experience an existential connectedness with other yoga practitioners.
We mean both those practicing here and now with you, as well as the countless generations who have done so before you.
It helps us appreciate our personal relationships outside of yoga and enrich it in genuine ways.
That’s something incredibly valuable in a social milieu where we are all digitally connected but spiritually isolated.
The basics of yoga
Yoga’s essence can be found in its etymology. The word “yoga” was derived from the Sanskrit word “union”, which is “yug.”
This is why yoga is just as much of a spiritual art as it is a physical one. Its main aim is to bring together the body, soul, and mind into a state of union and harmony.
Doing so, strengthens all three.
Here are just some of the benefits of yoga.
- Relieves various ailments is trains your body in different ways
- Enhances flexibility and agility
- Builds strength
- Encourages balance
- Cultivates awareness which can translate into quicker reaction times
Mentally and spiritually:
- Helps you concentrate better
- Destresses you
- Makes you more aware and mentally resilient
- Connects you spiritually to other people
- Awakens your spiritual energy
Overall, yoga is simply great for your entire being!
What yoga style should you practice?
There are various kinds of yoga styles or “paths” as they are also known.
Although each one can be greatly beneficial to anybody in their own unique ways, you might want to focus first on a specific one depending on your circumstances, preferences, and needs.
The name of this style comes from the Indian word “kundal”, which roughly translates to “the lock of hair of a loved one.”
This path’s core aim is to uncoil this “hair”—or sometimes also known as the serpent. This is symbolic of the awakening of the kundalini, divine feminine energy that rests at the base of our spines.
Kundalini yoga does this by primarily focusing on breathing, posing, and more specifically, meditation and chanting.
The poses, together with its breathing techniques, will facilitate the flow of energy throughout your body. This energy will eventually tap into the kundalini and activate it.
Who should practice Kundalini yoga?
Kundalini yoga is a balanced and holistic approach to yoga and can benefit you in all aspects of life. It does not lean towards physicality or spirituality in particular and will be a good all-rounder for anyone.
Sivananda is an integrative form of yoga and draws heavily from the traditional Hatha style of yoga.
Sivananda yoga is far more than just an exercise routine composed of various poses. Its practitioners aim to live out its five-point philosophy both in and out of class.
Its five points are:
Sivananda routines follow a very specific sequence of breathing exercises and postures, punctuated by relaxed meditation.
Who should practice Sivananda yoga?
Sivananda yoga is known for its chanting and having a joyful, supportive atmosphere in classes.
This makes it ideal for beginners who also want easier poses and an immediate spiritual boost through its accessible meditation techniques.
If your main aim is calmness, balance, and zen, Yin yoga is the way to go.
Yin yoga is decidedly slower-paced and is a counterpart to faster-moving yoga artforms such as Ashtanga.
With Yin yoga, you will hold poses for up to several minutes. This gives you the time and space to simply breath, relax, and destress.
This will then also result in improved flexibility as the exercises are designed to target your joints and other connective tissue, making them longer and more elastic.
Yin yoga classes also make use of props so that you can get into the poses more easily instead of stressing your muscles too much.
While you may feel a bit restless and even bored at first due to how long each pose takes, you will quickly see just how powerful its restorative powers are.
Who should practice Yin Yoga?
If you’re someone who badly needs to stretch their limbs and unwind from a stressful live, Yin yoga is your best bet.
Those who are already very flexible such as certain athletes may find the poses too easy and will therefore not benefit as much from Yin Yoga.
On the other hand, people who have problems with their joints or those with connective tissue disorders might want to stay away.
How to establish a daily yoga routine
Whether you’re a beginner starting out on yoga or are resuming after an extended break, there can various challenges when trying to establish a daily routine you can stick to.
And the good news?
Here are four key tips that will help you habituate the practice of yoga and get you settled into the right program for you.
1) Have realistic expectations
Getting started is the hard part.
Beginners in particular might be hampered by overexcitement and wanting to achieve big goals from the get-go or are confused with information overload.
Actually, it’s usually both!
We should all dream big, but we need to keep our expectations of ourselves and our yoga journey realistic.
Start with small (and even imperfect!) steps and break down your bigger goal into more achievable parts.
Don’t mock yourself if you have to start with a mere five or ten-minute routine for the first week or so.
We all need to start from somewhere and many people begin their yoga practice with short, simple routines.
If you try to reach for the stars immediately, you will only get frustrated and disillusioned. You’ll be setting yourself up for failure.
Focus on the small wins as you begin your daily routine.
What’s important is that you set the foundation and do it consistently. Build, improvise, and improve on this foundation as you go.
2) Have a clear goal
Before you even begin practicing yoga, you need to know what your goals are.
What does it mean?
Spend some time reflecting on this and writing down what you want to achieve and get out of yoga.
Your reason for doing yoga doesn’t even need to be particularly specific or comprehensive.
You could simply say that you want some exercise, or that you want to destress, or that it’s a form of self-care for you, or that you want to be more spiritual.
While there are many reasons to practice yoga, you need to determine which ones resonate with you.
After all, building habits is not easy and life often gets in the way. By determining your purpose, you will find it easier to motivate yourself to commit to it!
3) Take your time
Many people believe that it takes 21 days to form a habit.
This belief came from a book written by Dr. Maxwell Maltsz, who observed in his work as a plastic surgeon that it takes 21 days for patients to get used to their new faces.
Unfortunately, this isn’t exactly true.
Newer studies find that it takes over two months to form a new habit. Sixty-six days, to be exact.
Regardless, the point is to not obsess over timelines. If you believed the “21 days” thing before, you might feel upset that you have not made enough progress in those 21 days.
In fact, don’t even make the 66 days as a benchmark either. Most importantly, don’t compare yourselves to others.
As cliche as it is, it’s true that everyone has their own pace. Take it a day at a time.
As long as you stay consistent and are seeing overall progress, there’s no reason to rush. Rushing might even destroy all that you’ve worked hard for so far!
4) Progress over perfection
Researchers note that it does not matter if people miss some opportunities to form the habit and are not perfectly consistent.
In other words…
Don’t be too disappointed in yourself if you miss a day or two here and there. Or if some of your sessions weren’t as fulfilling as others.
Remember that perfection does not exist. And that includes your yoga journey. Progress and improvement are never perfectly linear!
If you mess up, simply get back up and go again!
While most people who turn to yoga approach it as an alternative form of physical exercise, many people also quickly find just how spiritually powerful and essential it is.
Regardless of your reason for starting out on yoga, you will benefit from it greatly if you commit to it.
Remember that you don’t have to do it with perfection, you simply have to perform it with intention and sincerity and you will reap its benefits soon enough.
For a stronger body, a calmer mind, and most importantly, a richer soul, there is absolutely no reason not to start doing yoga as soon as you can!