The Olympic Creed reads: “The most important thing in the Olympic Games is not to win but to take part, just as the most important thing in life is not the triumph but the struggle. The essential thing is not to have conquered but to have fought well.”
The Olympic spirit is grounded in doing our personal best (“faster, higher, stronger” – so why is yoga not an Olympic sport? Maybe you can imagine the gold medal being fought out by who can hold themselves in the scorpion pose the longest or who can do the most Sun Salutations in a minute! Probably the picture seems a little silly. The reason is that yoga is a personal journey physically, emotionally and spiritually and there is no concept of competition or comparison that fits with yoga practice and philosophy.
Yoga allows us to go deeper into ourselves, connecting with our physical, emotional and even spiritual bodies if we go into deep and silent practice. With this, yoga can allow us to cope better in times of heartache, loss or pain – it can help any time life challenges and we need to find inner strength.
This article specifically looks at one of the hidden benefits of yoga – developing inner strength. Those who regularly practice yoga often report feeling not only physically stronger and more flexible but mentally and spiritually too. So how does one create an “inner strength” through yoga? How can simply moving and breathing have such a profound impact on the way we live our lives and the way we create our future? I share in this article some thoughts from my experience where yoga has helped me.
At La Crisalida we believe that inner strength exists within all of us – it’s just that some of us have forgotten how to access it. Yoga in this sense can provide us with the ability to access our inner strength when we need it. The indicators of inner strength include Confidence, Happiness, Calmness and I explore these further below:
– Achieving poses in yoga gives us a sense of achievement which can boost our self esteem. Seeing the results we are able to achieve in a yoga class progress and develop gives us the confidence inside. It allows us to trust in our decisions, believe in our abilities and enjoy who we are. We then have the opportunity to take our presence, strength and flexibility from the mat and learn how to bring more abundance and success in all its forms into our lives.
– Deep breathing calms the nervous system and helps us look at what is happening inside our bodies. If there are any areas of tightness or restriction, the breath will help you find those pockets. They may even be residual pockets of emotion that can be released with breath and movement. These releases help us tap into our emotions on a deeper level and helps us connect back to ourselves. When we are more connected to ourselves we are happier, more balanced and naturally portray a much stronger and confident exterior.
– When we are balancing, moving, growing, and learning we are simultaneously also learning how to use the practice of breath and body to stay calm, centered and focused during poses. By doing so, we also learn to approach our lives slowly with more awareness rather than rushing through tasks. We learn to enjoy the small things, the everyday things that contain beauty and love but can easily be missed.
Whatever we learn about ourselves on the mat is transferrable to life off the mat. I imagine that yoga will not be considered an Olympic sport for a long time and maybe not until the Olympic motto has changed to “deeper, stronger, more flexible”!
By learning to navigate our asanas and develop a greater awareness of our inner strength each of us can then build a more confident and brighter future with a sense of ease and confidence. Enjoy your practice!
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About the author
- Talented yoga and meditation teacher, loves bringing movement and fluidity into yoga