3 Surprising Reasons I Love Yoga

Five thousand years ago, yoga developed as a spiritual practice to achieve true happiness, liberation and enlightenment that comes from union with the divine consciousness -the transcendent Self. Few people today practice yoga quite so spiritually, and many focus more on its psycho-physiological benefits that allow you to tune in, chill out, and shape up all at the same time. I am defiantly part of the later class of yoga lovers, and appreciate taking time for my self, the calories I burn, and how the pranayama breathing exercises help me manage my asthma.

While in savasana yesterday, a relaxing posture where you are supposed to clear you mind and refuse to hold onto thoughts, I kept thinking of why I loved coming to class. The reasons above occurred to me first and, as instructed, I acknowledged them and then let them float away. Then these popped into my head and wouldn’t budge, proving just how bad I am at pose that requires you to lie on your back like a corpse and do nothing.

FYI, I practise Moksha yoga, a form of hot yoga. 

1. The clothes                                                                                                                                  

I am not a lululemon snob … I can’t afford to be. I do have two pieces that I rotate into my workout wardrobe, and I have to admit they are my favourites. But all yoga clothes are wonderful; garments that hug your body but are not constrictive, that allow you to breath and move. After work, it is a fantastic feeling to strip off the pantyhose, pencil skirt, and underwire bra and slip into soft comfy yoga attire. A lot of active wear is also colourful, which is a nice change from the monotonous monochromatic black that is that staple of the Ottawa worker.

Times Square New York Yoga
2. The smell 
Not the smell after 40+ people did yoga in a 37ºC+ room; that would be sweat. But the smell that hits me when I walk into the building. Moksha yoga operates based on a deep sense of responsibility for the effect of our actions on the natural environment. The studios are built with sustainable and non-toxic supplies, lights and heating systems are low consumption and all studios are cleaned with environmentally friendly cleaning products. This cleaning product is what generates the smell I look forward to so much. It includes tea tree oil which has antiseptic, antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral properties, as well as heavy spicy woodsy scent. I use other non-toxic cleaning materials at home, and I suppose I could add tea tree oil since I love the smell so much. But I like having that scent reserved for my yoga practice. It triggers me to be silent and focused, to be calm and relaxed, and to begin looking inward.

3. No shoes                                                                                                                                               

As someone who has tried her fair share of fitness regimes, I can say that the best are the ones that do not require shoes; swimming, kickboxing, and yoga. Shoes are a pain in the arse. They are heavy and bulky, they take up way too much room in a gym bag, shoes are expensive, and they inevitably become irreversibly stinky. For yoga my shorts, top, sports bra, headband, and micro fleece towel can fold up to fit inside a manila envelope (thanks to Apple, this now seems to be the standard for ‘small’). My yoga mat rolls up to fit neatly into its yoga bag, which also houses the clothes and water bottle I would carry with me every day anyway. All this slings unobtrusively on my back and weighs next to nothing. No god-awful shoes tied to the bag by the laces, no socks to stuff inside them, and when I get to the studio I take off my shoes and leave them off. In the midst of a Canadian winter, where even at home socks and slippers are a necessity, being barefoot is a luxury only afforded in the hot room.  


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