If yoga was just a form of exercise it wouldn’t be yoga it would be calisthenics. Many people, like myself, begin practicing yoga for its physical benefits but simultaneously experience the mental release and stress reducing benefits that yoga can offer.
There are life lessons to be learned just from practicing challenging postures. Holding a pose that stretches tight muscles and learning to breath through that challenge teaches us to be patient and how to endure. It can teach us to train our mind to let go of negative thoughts and focus on the breath to overcome difficulty.
Yoga can also teach us that gratification is not always instant. Some postures take years of practice to attain. As in life, we set goals and must take mindful, educated steps to reach that goal and often it takes time as well as trial and error on the way.
Making time for yourself, moving your body in connection with your breath, and turning inward to discover your true self sans labels and titles, results in a healthy body, clear mind, more energy, more self confidence, more passion for life – and that to me is yoga.