Yoga is more than an exercise routine. While practicing yoga on a consistent basis leads to increased levels of strength, practicing yoga even once will lead to more positive thinking and a better lifestyle. Inclusive of all religion and beliefs, yoga brings you more in touch with what rings true to you. Yoga is about finding clarity within yourself and bringing your mind to the present moment, thus creating a more fulfilling life.
The mind is often muddled with desires, fears and aversions which can lead to high levels of stress and urgency. Yoga cleanses the mind and body of accumulated anxiety and negative cravings; halting habits that are damaging to you and your body.
Your practice will translate into your daily life, creating a positive change which will benefit your lifestyle. Learning to breathe through difficult poses will teach you to breathe through difficult moments in life. When you stretch to your maximum without comparing yourself to your neighbor, you are developing an attitude to do your personal best in any given situation, despite what others are doing. As your physical flexibility grows, so does your mental flexibility.
Yoga is an internal art, which means that all of your focus is inward, rather than constantly focusing on everything outside of your body. You must concentrate on yourself, via your body. You have to resist the habit of paying attention to the things going on around you and only focus on yourself. By shifting your awareness inwards, you center and calm the mind.
For spiritual seekers, calming the mind is the prerequisite to the ultimate goal of yoga; realizing the self and gaining direct knowledge of who you really are. Learning the correct actions and poses creates a deeper significance. With time and practice, you will come to know the various parts of the body and how they should properly move, you will realize that you are not a body, but rather you are the pure awareness that witnesses that body and all of the experiences it goes through. This is called moksa, or freedom, when you know that in fact you are that which makes all happiness possible.
And this is an on-going process. The skills you learn from yoga will last a lifetime and can always be improved upon. Your body, your mind and your spirit are always adapting and expanding, working to come together to create one solid, happy lifestyle.