Yoga has changed me in numerous ways. I am obsessed with my practice and over the years I have seen how much it has drastically enhanced my life. I am happier and more easy going. Yoga has altered the way I look at the world. Holding the poses is hard, but "there is beauty in the struggle". In class, you are taught to stay calm in the fire. Initially, many of the poses make you feel uncomfortable, but you learn that moment will pass. The more you do it the better you get and the next thing you know you're holding a pose that once seemed impossible. Through yoga, I have trained my mind to apply that way of thinking to everyday life.
The best benefit yoga has given me is the feeling of inner strength. My mind stays noisy as thoughts cloud my head, and when taking a yoga class I have no choice but to shut that off. I am forced to focus on my breathing and allow myself to be present. I even find myself doing breathing exercise during moments when I used to feel anxious. For example, I almost missed a flight due to being stuck in heavy traffic on the highway and instead of losing it behind the wheel, I turned off the music and started using the ujjayi breath to calm down. At the end of the day, some situations are out of your control, but you will always have the power to decide how to handle it. There are bigger issues in the world than missing a flight so I channeled that energy to something else.
I take the words "leave it all on your mat" to heart. Yoga has taught me to let go. When I get frustrated, upset or angry, my favorite thing to do is run to my mat. It's almost as if I crave the way I feel when I finish a session, it's therapeutic. There is no greater feeling than the high I get after challenging myself in a great class!
It goes without saying that my physical strength has increased as well. It's so gratifying to see much I have grown within my practice.