I’ve said this so many times before… Yoga literally changed my life!
And no… I’m not talking about becoming a guru-levitating-kind-of-yogi; that’s creepy (in my honest opinion!). I’m talking about the kind of yoga that helps you connect with your inner self, revitalize you and helps you reach a badass state of mind.
Isn’t it time we demystify yoga, and what it can REALLY do for us?!
I remember the very first time I tried it… I was still living in the Dominican Republic, going through a nasty and emotionally unhealthy relationship –that my soul needed in order to grow, but that’s a story for another post- which had my stress levels ALL OVER the place. Trying to find some sanity in the midst of it all, somebody (an angel for sure!) recommended I tried yoga and said she had “just the right place for me“. Girl, was she right!
That place was “El Arte De Vivir” or “The Art Of Living” which is a non-profit, humanitarian organization that operates in over 154 countries, founded by spiritual teacher Sri Sri Ravi Shankar. The foundation’s community is diverse and attracts people from all walks of life, backgrounds and religious orientations. Their core philosophy? “Unless we have a stress-free mind and a violence-free society, we cannot achieve world peace”… needless to say, I was hooked!
In the beginning, I was a little bit hesitant because I have a HUGE freaking issue with authority figures. I have ALWAYS been kind of a rebel and it doesn’t come naturally to me to “idolize” other human figures, made of flesh and imperfect just like me (which at first was sometimes the kind of vibe I got from AOFL and the Sri Sri figure).
…I can be inspired, yeah. But I’m VERY skeptic, so idolizing is not my forte.
I came here just for yoga, I don’t have to revere or idolize anybody. I just need a freaking-yoga-class. Is that too much to ask?
But I decided, what if… I get out of my own damn way… and let things just… flow!
So I did…
And I discovered a BEAUTIFUL community, almost like a brotherhood that even to this day has my back. Even when I moved to Philly, introductions were made between my friends in DR to some AOFL friends in Philly who were so so so kind to me, even without knowing me.
And that’s exactly why I’m precluding the benefits of Yoga with this little story… I truly believe Yoga is so much more than something physical, at least for me it is. And I love that with them, I also started learning about meditation and the mind-body connection. But even if you do it only for the physical benefits, hey that’s ok too. You gotta do YOU boo!
I just LOVE and will be forever grateful that yoga was introduced to my life by such kind and loving community as the people from The Art Of Living Foundation.
What can Yoga do for you? Here are my 7 fav yoga benefits:
- Stress prevention & relief: You guys, I CANNOT emphasize how yoga has helped me with this! And I hope that it can help you too… don’t be surprised if you mellow after a yoga session and for SURE I can tell you, you have fewer chances to get depressed or burnt out.
- Boost your immunity: This is game-changer… Get ready to get sick less often while practicing yoga. Drinking my healing turmeric detox elixir also helps a TON 🙂
- Improved relationships: Yoga affects your mind and spirit in a way that has an effect on your relationships with others—your spouse, your kids, your parents, your friends, and even strangers. When you feel more at peace, more in the moment, more in tune with everyone around you, you begin to notice things and interact with people in a much more positive and compassionate way.
- Helps you make better food choices: BELIEVE ME! Yoga lowers levels of cortisol and increases levels of serotonin in the body. When cortisol is up, you’re more likely to binge eat (aka stress eat!). When you practice yoga, you become more in tune with what your body really needs, not what it’s craving in order to fill a void, and you’ll be less likely to reach for a convenience food with no nutritional value.
- Removes toxins: Hello!!! Why do you think I love yoga so much? Yoga stimulates the lymphatic system, which helps to flush the toxins out. Be sure to drink plenty of water before and after your practice to ensure those toxins that start moving get pushed all the way out of your body.
- Better mood: We can all use a little bit of this magic fairy dust… yoga has the ability to alleviate depression, mood swings and anxiety, boosting the quality of life for those who practice it.
- Better digestion: All those twists are good for more than flexibility! They stimulate your digestive tract, too, and make elimination easier. I recommend doing a few twists when you wake up in the morning, just to rev everything up and ensure that you can start your day feeling lighter, like the true badass you are!
Soooooo, are you running to get a mat and hit the floor?
Are you willing to try?
Let me know in the comments, I always love to hear from you guys…
[Photos by Claudia Gomez Photography]