"Yoga teaches us to cure what need not be endured and endure what cannot be cured." - BK Iyengar
Nearly 4 years ago, I unfurled my yoga mat for the very first time at Santa Monica Power Yoga. Since then, my passion and commitment to the practice has grown exponentially over the years. The beauty of this practice is that the deeper you move into it, the more it gives back.
To this day, Santa Monica Power Yoga remains one of my favorite studios to practice. Despite a recent split from the umbrella of Bryan Kest's Power Yoga, the SMPY East studio continues on, with a slate of teachers of unmatched caliber. Jerome, Vytas, Rudy, and Anaswara are among the most- skilled instructors amid the highly competitive yoga landscape of Santa Monica.
We all need a reason to honor certain commitments in our life -- make time for the things that matter most to us. This is why I understand that not everybody will fall as deeply in love with the practice as I have. Rather than spout off the usual list of health benefits to maintaining a routine yoga practice, I'd like to share my personal top reasons I continue to return to the mat week after week.
1) Strength & Agility- A great deal of yoga involves weight-bearing asanas, or postures. You use your muscles to hold your own body weight, balancing strength with flexibility as you develop muscles that are strong and in proportion to one another. The increased vitality arising from building physical strength is my most compelling reason to work out. The feeling of sheer strength and agility is unparalleled.
2) Alignment & Synchronous Movement- There is so much body, breath awareness involved in yoga that it hardly comes as a surprise that focusing on these things alone can help silence the mind. I enjoy the requisite attention to detail involved in ensuring the hips are squared forward in Crescent Pose, or that the body weight is distributed to the balls of the feet rather than the heels in certain forward folds. This precision of movement linked with the breath unites to form a beautiful dance of consciousness.
3) Meditation & Purpose- Never could I imagine 90 minutes in seated meditation, yet yoga affords me this benefit weekly. I emerge from class sweaty and clear-headed -- all my needless worries and anxieties vanished into nothingness. This is where I come to cultivate my gratitude and remind myself of the truly important things in life.
4) Finding New Challenges- Yoga is an incredibly dynamic practice. Not only are there always new poses to advance towards, there is also the deepening into these poses over time. Beginners' most common qualm with yoga is that they are not able to do certain postures immediately. The beauty of a routine practice is that your body moves towards it's greatest potential and flexibility over time.
If these aren't good reasons enough to practice yoga, then surely the pursuit of a yoga butt could serve as the final straw for motivation!