By now it’s become clear to most that practicing yoga goes far beyond having long, lean limbs and perfect posture, and that it’s really a way of life. This way of life starts in the studio, but has a powerful way of infiltrating every part of your existence by hacking into your brain and changing the way you deal with various situations. Thus, yoga becomes not what we do, but how we do it.
Yoga is the practice of syncing breath with movement, remaining calm while doing challenging activity. This is the basis for the dramatic change that takes place in our brains when we practice. While we practice, we re-calibrate the way we experience emotions such as stress, loneliness, and anxiety, by tapping into the mechanisms that create those emotions and literally changing the grooves in our brains.
No matter what the situation may be, whether it’s running from a tiger or taking a final exam, the nervous system has one response to stress. This involves muscle tenseness, shortness of breath, negative thoughts, and the release of cortisol into the bloodstream. When we remain composed and control our breath while putting our body into uncomfortable positions, like doing a headstand or twisting into revolved bound half moon, the brain gets reprogrammed to respond proactively and to remain relaxed in a stressful situation.
This activity literally hacks the brain by triggering certain emotions and then rewiring our natural responses. Taken far enough, this enables us to tap into the highest potential functioning of our beings to achieve whatever goal we set forth.
When we learn to reduce self-judgment and fear through yoga, the possibilities of life open up and everything we desire and need becomes magnetized towards us. The practice of falling on your face trying to do flying pigeon or lifting your leg one inch higher in third warrior tells your brain that your doubts do not control you. By going towards uncertainty and discomfort in our poses, we register that our fears of what will happen only exist as limitations, and inherently have no power or validity.
By practicing yoga we not only sculpt our bodies, we sculpt our minds and harness the great power we hold within. Go forth in faith towards your practice, and know that every struggle is in the highest interest of your body, mind, and spirit.