Exercise and being in tune with your body is essential to your well-being. We often hear of the importance of fitness to our physical and mental health, but the practice of yoga as a component of self-care has benefits that transcend both the body and the mind and create whole-body wellness that fuels personal growth. These benefits do not emanate from a particular pose but from the sustained lifestyle change that yoga and other types of self-care can initiate.
The Challenges of Personal Growth
Life can be filled with everything from obstacles to happiness. Some of us may feel dissatisfied with our place and position in life — and sometimes this realization comes late in life. Personal growth is the ability to identify and act on our need to advance. The need for personal growth skills arises when we are faced with career changes, the prospect of going back to school, and other challenges life throws our way.
Self-care techniques help prepare us to make these decisions. Self-care encourages mindfulness, which can be helpful for many in decision-making. Mindfulness is especially helpful in career decisions because, without self-knowledge, it’s difficult to engage in the type of future planning that career decisions require. Meditation is increasingly being used in business as a way to boost productivity, too. In addition to helping us make better decisions, self-care supports our physical and mental health for life’s challenges.
Yoga as a Self-Care Tool
The power of yoga lies in its nature as a practice rather than an exercise. Yes, there are considerable muscle and fitness components of yoga, and some sessions can have your muscles shaking and body sweating just like the hardest gym workout, but yoga is more about the flow than the poses. The yoga lifestyle is infectious to the rest of our life. The poses encourage self-reflection, which spreads to other activities. We are less likely to overeat, drink to excess, or allow our bodies to be damaged through laziness when we invest time and effort into our yoga practice.
One of the best benefits of yoga is its ability to regulate our stress levels. Most people who practice yoga report considerable reductions in their stress levels. This is likely because, in addition to being a workout, yoga has an underlying philosophy that incorporates compassion, mindfulness, and stress relief. Yoga sessions often being and end with an overt call out to let that day’s stress melt away. When combined with its ability to help us learn about our minds and bodies, yoga holds the key to well-being in the pursuit of personal growth. When taken to heart, yoga provides an outlet to get away from the stresses of the day and refocus on one’s self.
Meditation, Off the Yoga Mat
The benefits of mindfulness are available outside of yoga, too. Meditation requires little more than a quiet area away from distractions. Follow these tips and you can have a sanctuary of your own to help with your mindfulness quest:
- Find a private space. A separate room is ideal, one with minimal distraction.
- Make it a pleasant space. Although you want to keep the space quiet, it is also important that the area be nice to look at, so some decoration is helpful.
- Keep decor simple and inexpensive. If you are planning on renovating your home to create a meditation space, you may be missing the point. A simple uncluttered room or portion of a room is all that is necessary.
Personal growth requires inner knowledge and strength, both of which can be found through yoga and meditation as components of self-care. Mindfulness and peacefulness can help us face life’s challenges confidently and with the ability to make intelligent decisions.
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