I continued practicing yoga during pregnancy, and then after childbirth. It helped me through post-partum blues, and then helped me through my struggle as an inexperienced mother.

In short, yoga saw me through all stages of my life. Young working woman. Marriage. Motherhood. As I dived into sun salutations each day and work progressively on asanas, I learned to calm my mind and connect with my breath. As I experienced the uphill battle of learning an asana, I learned patience. As I came to the realization that some asanas are always going to be a work in progress for me, I finally understood that life, much like yoga, is an ongoing process. As I sit in meditation each day, I learn to be present. I learn to bring myself to the here and the now. As I lie in Savasana, I learn to let go. I learn to be an observer of my own body and breath. I learn to be present but not necessarily to be in control of everything.

Yoga changed my life and the way I understood the world. And I am not the only one. In a survey by BookYogaRetreats.com of over 650 individuals, approximately 61% of respondents agreed that yoga changed their lives, while only 2% say otherwise. Adding to this, 58% said that yoga made them happy.

How exactly does yoga make a difference in your life? Yoga teacher Judy Freedman expressed that yoga changed her life both physically and mentally. “It helped me heal from my grief after I lost my husband and other family members, it helped me slow down my Type A mentality after I retired early from a high powered corporate job, and it helped me become more aware of my body and my breath as I age.”

For Judy and many others, the benefits of yoga is life-altering. Yoga benefits in so many ways, but here are five of the most important ways it changes your life.

 

It Builds Your Self-Esteem


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Yoga is non-discriminatory. Everyone can learn yoga. But the reality is almost everyone who enters his or her first yoga class feels self-conscious. As you sit amongst seasoned yogis, you wonder if you’d ever be able to do a headstand as effortlessly.

But with each progress, and each step you take off from the mat, you realize that a headstand is achievable. You learn to trust yourself, and to trust your instincts. You learn to have confidence in yourself and that you are capable of lifting yourself up.

Anjali Lobo, who runs a blog helping women who suffers from acne writes that yoga made her stronger. “I initially joined to see if yoga would help with my fight with acne. I was pretty surprised when not only did I get toned and fit in 3 months but I got calmer, clearer and less scared of anything. I can easily distance myself from anything that I want.”

 

It Humbles You


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Almost at the same time as you gain confidence you also gain humility. Through practice, you gain the understanding that nothing comes easy. An asana needs to be worked at again and again before it is right. Progress might take days, months or even years. You begin to understand that to gain the progress, you need to put in the effort.

The humility doesn’t leave you either. Even as I progressed into teaching yoga, I still am humbled by my practice daily.

As Irena Miller puts it, “I went from overwhelmed, inflexible, and worried to a place where I could breathe.  Things seemed possible.  There was hope and the opportunity to use my thoughts and actions to make a positive difference.  You may not be able to control the events going on around you, but you certainly can control the way you respond and act.”

 

You Learn To Take Comfort In Silence


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As you connect your breath with movement and focus solely on your inhalations and exhalations, you will notice a sudden stillness in your mind. The thoughts that once filled your mind were no longer there, at least for the duration of your practice. The silence you feel is calming and peaceful. And even as you are actively moving, you are calm on the inside.

For Gretchen Lightfoot, who discovered yoga at the age of nine, it was this calmness that helped her during trying times. “Yoga resonated with me and helped keep me steady and focused as I navigated my father’s bipolar disorder and my parents’ separation and eventual divorce,” she says.

 

You Learn About Yourself


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The focus on alignment helps you understand your body more. You begin to create awareness on the different muscles and the different joints that you have, and understand how to use them properly. You begin to appreciate your body and learn to take better care of it.

Above all, you also learn what you are made of. The practice of yoga is an individual one. It’s mostly just you and your mat. This means that there’s plenty of time for self-discovery. You learn about yourself emotionally, mentally and spiritually and over time, are able to use yoga to help bring awareness to all parts of yourself.

Long-time yoga practitioner Ricardo das Neves shares that yoga has helped change his life in all aspects. He say, “Emotionally, while all human emotions can still go through me, they're much more level and much less destructive than before I started to practice yoga. Part of it is natural human maturation, but just as important, hours of breathing rhythmically in classes has made for a greater awareness of reactions, and the ability to observe them yields a less knee-jerk response to situations.”

 

It Takes You To The Present


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The biggest problem that we have today is that we’re constantly chasing the future, or dwelling in the past. Yoga brings you to the present and grounds your feet firmly in the here and now. In meditation, you are encouraged to quiet the monkey mind, to sit and observe the present. In asana practice, you feel the movement of your body. You feel every stretch, every discomfort, every soreness. As Kino Macgregor says, “Presence in yoga is centered in the reality of the body because the body doesn’t lie or deceive the same way as the mind.”

In yoga, whether you like it or not, you are forced to be here, now. Right where you should be.

As yoga teacher Calli from Kalimukti Yoga says, “Naturally I am an analytical 'thinker', I constantly have a busy mind, yoga helps me to relax and be in the present moment, it allows me to create space and simply be.”


Thanks for reading this post. Want to change your life through yoga? What better way to deepen your understanding if not through a yoga teacher training course? Head on over to BookYogaTeacherTraining.com and find the best yoga teacher training for you!