I have been wanting to write this post for a long time.
I have been wanting to share all the benefits I have been receiving from a dedicated yoga practice over the last 17 years. My intention is to encourage students to dedicate themselves to a regular practice and to honour it with utmost respect. In order for the practice to become sacred, that particular time/space/props need to be addressed with a ceremonial or ritual tone. And in one's mind's eye, it helps to have a clear sense for one's intentions, one's goals or creative wishes. It does not matter if one's intention is vast: "I want to feel calm" or "I want my mind to achieve various logical tasks" or "I want to be more empathetic" or if one's intention is very focused: "I want to heal my twisted ankle". The results will be abundant and more likely than not, you will receive much more than what you came for.
I started practicing yoga at a young age but although I was highly attracted by the "world of Yoga", it took me years (8-10?) to become seriously dedicated. I was not disciplined. I was not directed. I was not focused and organized. Yoga gave me a sense for all of those qualities over time. I started with a dissociated mind and body relationship. When I attended my first Vipassana at twenty, I was unable to feel my body; I had to feel the touch of my clothes on my skin. I had past trauma to work through. My mind was mainly unfocused, obsessive and agitated. I am not saying here that those states of mind never happen to me anymore! The difference is that now, I can recognize when my mind is acting up in a way that requires more vigilance. And when it does, I no longer feel "doomed", "crushed" or "failing". I simply see that state of mind for what it is, a temporary one that will pass and that has to be managed without "catastrophizing". Yoga has given me the ability to witness my mind/body has it experiences and expresses an infinity of thoughts, pain, desires and all of the emotional subtleties. I have found myself to be at the centre of a constant constellation of happening and it has allowed me to make small experiments to see if I could transform my responses and shift how I manifest in this physical world.
This is an article that could never end.
Yoga has been helping me meet daily life with a sustained vibrational quality that allows the cultivation of mindfulness. In other words, Yoga has given me the tools to take an active part in the creation of my inner life.