Push harder. Run faster. Train harder. Lift more. One more rep. These are the words I was used to when I worked out before discovering yoga. It was constantly ceasing to be better. Never reaching perfection. Never even reaching acceptance of yourself. It was a system of fitness that left me feeling ultimately unfulfilled and feeling insufficient. So what does yoga mean to me? What could yoga mean to you?
How Yoga Changed My Perception on Fitness
Enter yoga – acceptance of yourself, steady growth, appreciation- this was something that I could get behind. No longer was I waking up every morning with muscles so sore that I couldn’t put on my backpack or make breakfast. I was waking up feeling sore, yet satisfied – satisfied that I had done something good for myself but could still perform everyday tasks. Yoga for me was a break from everyday life. Working out had always been an escape, but it now assumed more meaning. In addition to it being an activity that released provided positive feelings from exercise, it also became a route for me to accept myself as I was.
The Mindset We Should Let Go Of
EVERYWHERE we go in life, EVERYTHING we do, we are expected to try harder, to be the best, to compete for more. We compare ourselves to others, and we avoid judging ourselves based on the most important indicator of our success – OURSELVES. Finally, yoga taught me to accept myself for what I was able to accomplish, and not to reflect on what I was unable to accomplish. The ego does not belong in yoga. The ego exists everywhere else in our lives. Yoga is an escape from the ego. It is an escape from personal criticism and self-judgment.
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What Does Yoga Mean to Me
So for me, yoga is more than a physical activity. It is spiritual in the sense that it helps me accept who I am. It helps me embrace my shortcomings, my accomplishments, and my future actions – it makes me content to be myself. No other form of fitness ever allowed this to happen for me. Doing yoga once doesn’t provide this epiphany for you – it takes months or years. But once you reach the point where you truly begin to accept yourself, it is a feeling unlike any other.
I’ve told you what I do yoga for. What do YOU do yoga for?
About the author, Dean Pohlman, Founder & CEO of Man Flow Yoga, Author of Yoga Fitness for Men, Expert on Yoga Fitness for Men.
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