I thought it would be great to hear what are people's own personal experiences of doing Yoga.
For me doing Yoga, its a way of taking time to value my body and give it something that helps the body feel better. I have noticed that my thinking has become a lot more clearer since I started my Yoga practice and that I feel a lot more calmer. I guess Yoga, clears away blocks to better overall body/mind functioning.
In my experience, the fruits of the practice are dynamic and have grown or "changed" over the years.
Initially I perceived yoga as asana, the postures most people define as yoga. And at that point I was basically exercising, moving, contracting, sweating. With that paradigm, "yoga" could only have been what cycling, or lifting weights, or playing basketball could be. What I left with was the physiological effects of an activity. However, even then, asana had a slightly different residue that I noticed only when paying careful attention.
A decade later I recognize Yoga as a vast body of wisdom with a myriad of tools (of which asana is one) for mindful human evolution or "growth" if you prefer. so for me my practice actually balances who I am as a human being, brings me closer to the Self, and allows me a more mindful way of living - those are the "benefits" for me today.
My yoga practice means so much to me. The benefits are greater than I could have ever imagined. I sleep well, my mind is clearer, I’m less quick to anger and my body looks and feels great. I feel a new deliberation and control in my actions. I’ve learned to listen to my body and answer to its needs. I’ve found a new sense of gratitude and peace.
My yoga practice is something that is all my own and my mat is a place that is only mine to go. I leave my family and friends and work at the door and use the time to reconnect with my body and my self. I know that when I’m feeling down or out of sync, I can return to my mat, without judgment, without fear. I do what my body is capable of doing. When I feel ready, I challenge myself. I thank myself after each time I practice, being grateful for my day and that I gave myself to the time to be.