Your reasons for trying yoga, going to a yoga class or simply coming to your mat for some personal practise will be unique to you, but stepping back and reflecting why we do anything is a useful habit to cultivate. Understanding the reasons behind our actions can help to refine them, and in the case of our yoga practise keep us coming back to our mat for more.
So why practise yoga? You want to get fit, more flexible, and stronger, your friend does it and she looks good! These may seem superficial, reasons, but if they are the starting place of your relationship with yoga and your body, then they are perfectly valid. Truthfully I started going to a yoga class because my sister went and I had a vague notion it would improve my upper body strength, which I felt was lacking in my quest to learn to surf. The goal of spiritual enlightenment could not have been further from my mind.
But nearly 20 years from that point when I started going to yoga I’m still with the practise (and the surfing!). My reason why has shifted, but it doesn’t mean my initial reasons weren’t important. Other reasons that may bring you to your mat could be stress, recovery from injury, or your doctor told you to go! Maybe you are driven by spiritual enlightenment, or at least a desire to shift the focus of you life to more peace. It could be for breath or meditation, after all yoga is not just a physical practise. Maybe you just like the company, the teacher and the coffee and cake afterwards with your friends, you’ve found a tribe, a community through your practice.
All our 100% excellent valid reasons, but drill down a little deeper they all lead to one path, a path of living a more balanced peaceful life, to reduce our personal suffering, whether that be physical or emotional. Yoga won’t ever take away the darkness that we can experience through our lives, but it certainly helps to guide and support us through it, maybe this is your reason why you practise.
All of this is an act of love, self-love, self-care, that we can be terrible at times prioritising, but when we do everything seems lighter. We practise yoga for love, and at the end of the day why do anything if not for love?