Why Practice Yoga Daily?

Via on Mar 12, 2012
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For me, “daily practice” is a no brainer and let me explain why. I’ve been blessed with the opportunity to see this question from both sides of the fence – and the handwriting is clearly on the wall.

I guess it really comes down to a question of your goals and how you expect to reach them. The biggest challenge that most humans face as a species is the “addictive mindset.”  Plain and simple. I’ve decided to just tell it like it is and put all my cards on the table.

If you’re alive and breathing air and living on planet earth, chances are – you’re addicted to something.

To be fair, let me just say that I use the word addicted quite loosely. In my eyes, attachment and addiction are one in the same.

So when I say addiction, I am not necessarily talking about heroin or alcohol or nicotine or food or gambling. By the way, you don’t have to weigh 300 pounds to be considered a food addict. I believe that if your relationship with food is self destructive, you’re a food addict – meaning you have an addictive relationship with food.  We could say the same for television or pornography or Coca Cola or your boyfriend or husband or wife.

If the relationship is destructive, I believe it can be classified as an attachment or addiction. Many people shun this idea that attachment must be bad. They will say something like – -”but I love my dog or my Mom or my kid or my husband and I am attached to them. How can that be bad? People need people. How can that be bad?”

And I don’t disagree! Yes, people need people! That’s human nature. We are social beings, dependent on interaction with others in order to stay sane. This is a given. So let me qualify. In my eyes, there is healthy attachment and there is unhealthy attachment.

My guess is that if you are an adult and you are reading this post, you have some familiarity with what I speak of. I call this part of the post “Co-dependence 101.”

But I digress. So getting back to the original question:  Why yoga? And why daily practice?

Andrea Stani

I can only speak from personal experience on this.  And my guess is that they’ve never done a large enough double blind study to ever really prove what I am about to propose.

Personally, I don’t give a flying (you know what) if something has been proven scientifically or not. If it works for me – that’s proof enough. That’s pretty much how I live my life. This ability to trust my gut is what makes me a yogi. There is a certain self confidence that comes with daily yoga practice and this my friends, is the essence of yoga.

In November of 2011, I celebrated my 14th anniversary of daily yoga practice. That’s right, it was in November of 1997 that I made the commitment to make my yoga practice my highest priority. And I have not wavered from that promise that I made to myself.

People wonder how I stay motivated. That’s a subject for a whole other post. But let me cut to the chase. Yoga keeps me sane. There! I’ve said it! Yoga keeps me sane!

I guess that makes me part of the sane minority and I’m proud to be a card carrying member of that club. My guess is that most people who practice daily yoga or meditation (and I see them as one in the same) are doing it for this very reason – to stay sane.

If I gave you a choice between sanity and insanity – which one would you choose?

There, I think I’ve made my case for daily yoga. And I also understand that yoga is not the drug of choice for everyone. But I must say, in yoga’s defense, I’ve found the side effects to be quite attractive.

I believe that yoga may soon qualify as an addictive substance. Perhaps there will be a mandatory sign posted in every yoga studio worldwide:  Warning – Yoga May Be Habit Forming.

With continual daily practice you can expect the following side effects: Proceed With Caution and Check With Your Physician if you have any of the following side effects:

  • -Over riding sense of serenity and inner peace
  • -Feeling love towards all of man kind
  • -Finding your bliss for extended periods throughout the day on a daily basis
  • -Seeing the good in others – finding fault with no one
  • -Treating others with respect and kindness
  • -Letting go of anger and feeling appreciative even when others disappoint you
  • -Total acceptance of the outcome of every situation
  • -Appreciating each moment and living fully in the now
  • -Free of anxiety, worry and fear
  • -Healthy body weight without dieting
  • -Loss of cravings for junk food
  • -Deep appreciation for Nature and a love of the outdoors
  • -Supple, flexible, strong, energetic body
  • -Calm, relaxed demeanor
  • -Ability to remain calm in stressful situations
  • -Feeling energized, vibrant and fully alive

So remember to check with your physician if after practicing yoga for a few days, you begin to experience any of the above side effects. This may indicate a strong attachment towards or addiction to yoga. Proceed with caution as you may be heading towards heaven on earth!

~

Edited by Hayley Samuelson

 

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About Dee Greenberg

Dee Greenberg is a freelance yoga instructor and spiritual warrior, residing 6 miles from the beach, in Delray Beach, Florida. Dee’s resume includes 9+ years of teaching yoga, 4 years owning a yoga studio and 40+ years of personal yoga practice. Trained in both Kripalu and Prana Flow (Shiva Rea), Dee’s teaching style is a homogenous blend of both, with a strong sprinkling of intuitive spirituality thrown into the mix. She spends most of her free time drumming, dancing and in various fitness pursuits including skateboarding, running and lifting weights. For more of Dee’s musings on yoga and life, please visit here. To add Dee as a friend on Facebook, please click here, or follow her on Twitter at @50PlusYoga. SUBSCRIBE TO DEE ON ELEPHANT JOURNAL.

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8 Responses to “Why Practice Yoga Daily?”

  1. yogasamurai says:

    Thanks for the post.

    My feeling: Even our devotional life – its specific rites – can represent an unhealthy attachment. Spiritual lust, spiritual envy, spiritual greed and spiritual pride are all unhealthy character defects. We see these prominently displayed in the yoga world. So yes, we get attached — the question is how good are we at detaching, even while we are attaching?

    On your list only two qualities would I associate with yoga, in fact. Mainly it's the "supple, flexible, strong, energetic body" — though yoga's not the only route to this goal, but it can be a good one.

    Love of Nature? Be serious, no one needs yoga for that. Acceptance of every outcome? Again, be serious. There are total power-drivers in yoga; in fact, for some, it really amps up their ego, their drive, and their "attitude." I have seen wonderfully humble and thoughtful people turned into insufferably self-centered zealots thanks to the way they went into yoga, and to what they seem to be seeking through it.

    I think you're "over-selling" the goods. Yoga's no "cure-all," especially the asana-heavy versions. More meditative yoga, with more limited and highly intentional asanas, as in the original, sacred teachings, could have different effects, but if you turn it into an idol, like anything else, its shadow appears.

    In fact, I can think of several areas of my life that are much stronger WITHOUT yoga. Can you? Mental clarity for one. If I want to get blissed out and distract my analytic mind, yoga is great. If I want to stay sharp, in my research and writing, I definitely don't do yoga, at least not if I have anything pending.

    Again, referring mainly to heavy-asana yoga. Bikram? Forget it. That may be one way to "detox." It's also a great way to "zombify."

    Maybe yoga is a healthy addiction – compared to alcohol, for example. But in the end, anything you "can't do without" – and yoga has become that for some – is an unhealthy attachment, and its shadow side will show up, eventually.

    Two closing thoughts —

    Maybe the "true" spirit of yoga is the recognition that in the end, you don't actually "need" yoga. The bliss was always there.

    There's that wonderful chant, "Om Namah Shivaye." The devotion to the Divine One. It's vibrational power is such, according to legend, that those who recite it regularly no longer need anything else — including yoga.

  2. I tend to go a different route. I skip yoga practice one day a week. The other six I have either a daily home practice or a private lesson.

    I think you need at least one day off from anything and I find it works well for me and keeps me balanced and focused.

    Plus sanity is highly overrated. ;-)

  3. yogaboca says:

    Yogasamurai, thanks for your thoughtful comment. I agree with you that *anything* including yoga can become an unhealthy attachment. BTW as far as the ugliness you mention displayed in the yoga world – yes the yoga world is not perfect. And many so called teachers perhaps are not qualified to teach yoga

    As far as you not relating to the benefits of yoga I outlined, I think it really depends on the depth of your practice. I've been practicing yoga for over 40 years and am speaking from personal experience. 10 years ago, I wouldn't have written this post. With yoga, I believe things evolve slowly over time.

    As far as this statement:
    There are total power-drivers in yoga; in fact, for some, it really amps up their ego, their drive, and their "attitude." I have seen wonderfully humble and thoughtful people turned into insufferably self-centered zealots thanks to the way they went into yoga, and to what they seem to be seeking through it.

    There are many wannabes out there teaching and practicing yoga. Perhaps these people are deluded into thinking that what they are doing is yoga. Just because I have a perfect downward dog does not make me a yogi. It's the consciousness that creates the yogi.

    It's only been in the last 14 years with daily practice that I began to slowly over time reap the benefits that I mention in the article. Apparently your experience has been different.

    I don't mean to give false promises or "sell" yoga. Yoga does not need to be sold. The experience of being in a state of yoga (balance) is indeed very positive and it sells itself. I am simply pointing out what is possible with yoga as seen from my experience of yoga mainly from 14 years of daily practice.

    I believe that yoga is relatively useless if it does not transform your life off the mat and so for me it's a spiritual journey and what happens on the mat is a metaphor for life off the mat. Feeling a deep connection to nature is part of the natural evolution of yoga. I have studies with Shiva Rea and she integrates Ayurveda into the practice – living in harmony with the rhythms of nature. I did not say one must practice yoga to feel this harmony. But intentionally cultivating this connection is for me one of the goals and fruits of my yoga practice.

    As far as overselling the goods and touting yoga as a cure all — I can only speak for myself and the feedback I've gotten from countless students and friends. For me – yoga is a bit of a cure all – - and I remain eternally grateful to those teachers who have handed down the practice over the course of thousands of years.

    I say if it doesn't work for you, either find something else or find a better teacher!
    As far as the shadow side of yoga — I've been practicing for 40 plus years and I have yet to see the shadow side.

    If necessary I can skip a day of yoga but I don't choose to.
    Anything can be abused, including yoga. I've abused it in the past.

    Since finding my bliss with yoga, I am less likely to engage in self destructive behavior. I am not claiming to be perfect. Anyone could see there was a thread of humor running through my post.

    But due to a higher consciousness from my practice – - now if I am heading down the wrong road – I catch it much quicker and can make a 360 degree change if necessary –

    Most of this ability to "live in the moment" has come a s a result of a deepening of my daily practice over the course of the past 2 years, living in a warm, sunny climate where I am able to stay much more connected to nature pretty much 24 / 7.

    LIke you I am a work in progress and I completely respect your path.

    If I start to find myself feeling disrepectful towards you or anyone else, I know I need to start going deeper into my practice.
    And this is not about perfecting asana for me. Although that journey has been very fruitful as well.

  4. yogaboca says:

    Michael thanks for commenting and I totally respect your practice. It sounds very strong and devoted. As far as needing a day off — personally I never take a day off from eating, sleeping or breathing. Yoga is like that for me. It may not be that way for you which is fine. Even my teacher suggests taking a day off.

    I follow my own rhythm and my own higher intelligence on this one.
    And thanks for getting the humor in my post.

    Perhaps you also use yoga to attempt to stay sane.

    BTW, whatever keeps you sane, I think you should continue to do it. (provided it does not involve self destructive behavior)
    When it becomes self destructive, we call it an addiction – -there is a difference. :-)

    And maybe I am addicted to sanity, but I think that's a good thing! :-)

    I like your closing comment that sanity is over rated

  5. Tanya Lee Markul Tanya Lee Markul says:

    Just posted to "Featured Today" on the Elephant Yoga homepage.

    Posting to Elephant Yoga on Facebook and Twitter.

    Tanya Lee Markul, Yoga Editor
    Like Elephant Yoga on Facebook
    Follow on Twitter

  6. yogaboca says:

    Oh Happy Day! Thanks Tanya! :-)

  7. [...] You’ve heard it said a million times…yoga is a daily practice. [...]

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