Why do we practice yoga? Is it to get our foot behind our head while balancing on a finger? Or is it to find the inner quiet to be able to sleep through the night for the first time this month?

One of the most central ideas we learn in yoga is to be observers in our bodies. To not only be aware of the physical, but also to notice how our body and mind react to certain asanas (poses). When you step onto your mat, are you able to quiet the daily nonstop mental chatter? Or does it take you until Savasana to finally find some inner peace? Either way, all we have to do is notice and not judge (which is a whole other activity in itself!). The practice of yoga is not meant to help you discover more things to be self-conscious about, but rather to discover what you truly are capable of.

Yoga gives us the space to not only observe and notice, but to also explore the boundaries within our bodies. Once we’ve discovered the boundaries, the next step is to determine if they are physical or mental. Are you unable to hold plank for more than a minute because you don’t have the essential upper body and core strength to hold it? Or are you scared of what will happen after your muscles begin to shake only 30 seconds in? When you gain the confidence to hold the plank for longer – to discover what actually will happen once you’ve crossed over to the unknown – you may find it wasn’t that difficult after all. These are the skills and lessons that are transferable to our work lives as well. So many times we may pass up opportunities because the thought of the unknown is more overwhelming than the reality of what we have to gain. Yes, it is scary to ask for a raise, or to pop up into a handstand for the first time. But both will provide us with many benefits, if we are just willing to take the risk.

While you don’t need yoga to help overcome mental and physical obstacles, it will help. It will also provide you with additional benefits without any side effects (unless you call your new found Zen a side effect). So give it a try! Learn to recapture your childlike curiosity and explore what amazing physical and mental things you are capable of.