I’ve spent the last few weeks writing about beginners and why you should start practicing yoga, but I feel like its time to tell you why I do. Like many people, I began seriously practicing yoga after an injury. Although I was exposed to yoga in my teens, (whoohoo! Yoga at the Village!) I found it to be very challenging and did not continue to practice. I worked behind the desk at Yoga at the Village twice a week, listening in on class, but never daring to try it. In my junior year of college, I injured my back and was experiencing sciatic nerve pain. I know that many people suffer from nerve pain at varying degrees, but for an active 20-year old, this was not an option for me. After a few unsatisfying trips to the Physical Therapist, I knew that to cure my back pain and prevent it from returning, I would need to start yoga.

The initial push was to build core strength, but I actually gained so much more. As a student, I was only able to go once a week, but after 2 sessions, I noticed an increase in my hamstring flexibility. To be able to take a 1.5-hour break out of my hectic week to move and breathe was a lifesaver. I don’t think I would have survived through finals week or living in a tiny apartment with 5 other girls without it. Another added bonus was that yoga undid the tension that bike riding created. I did not have a car, so biking and walking were my only options. For the first 4 years of my practice, my hip flexors and quadriceps were insanely tight, but they are no longer a problem area =)

I like to think that yoga has also helped me to mellow out and react less. I am known to be slightly over-dramatic, but yoga helps me to take a breath and examine the situation before reacting to it. Just as we notice and observe our body or breath during our practice, we can notice and observe our emotions before we react.

After 2 years of a daily and consistent practice, my body craves yoga. When I don’t practice every fiber of my being feels different. So I continue to do yoga to create a healthy space for my mind and body, in hopes that I can remain active for the rest of my life.

Why do you practice yoga? Share your experience in the comments section =)