Yoga is so much more than just a workout. In fact, the physical aspect of yoga is only one of eight parts of the practice itself. It took me a little bit of time to really understand and respect this. As someone who has been practicing yoga for 10+ years and teaching for 3, I know I can’t help but make an emphasis on that fact.
I was teaching recently and a student asked me, “what exactly are the benefits of yoga?” My immediate response was, “you could have me here for hours with that question but at the end of the day, the benefits of yoga depend on you.” And it’s true, for me, yoga is much more mental and spiritual than it is physical. You get to choose what you get out of your practice. The teacher is simply there to guide you. The quality and value in your practice comes from within you.
That being said, there are, scientifically, plenty of benefits to yoga: strength, flexibility, mobility, range of motion, recovery, mental, emotional, spiritual, better sleep and metabolism… you see what I mean? The list goes on and on but, the beauty in the practice is that everyone gets something different from it AND it’s just that…a PRACTICE. Every time you come on to your mat you get the opportunity to tune in and learn something about yourself, and honor yourself at where you are at that very moment. The idea is to be mindful and hold space for what you need – accepting that changes from minute to minute, day by day. The root of yoga stems from the mind, not the physical body. In ”The Body Keeps the Score”, Van der Kolk states, “Mindfulness not only makes it possible to survey our internal landscape with compassion and curiosity but can also actively steer us in the right direction for self-care.”
I recently started teaching at a new facility called REST, just across from HopFly. It doubles as a therapy office as well as a yoga studio. This space is considered a trauma informed space offering a variety of different styles of yoga, breathwork and sound work as methods of healing, for all. We actively use assist cards- allowing you, as the individual- without speaking- to verbalize a boundary over your body.
“Once you start approaching your body with curiosity rather than with fear, everything shifts.” – Van der Kolk
Yoga is not about holding a handstand or getting your foot over your head. Choose to be curious about listening, realizing, honoring and allowing yourself to do what feels right for your body – in the moment. This gift of a practice is about taking the time to learn and love yourself in whatever way you need at any given moment. Come back to the senses of the body and stop to actually listen to how you are feeling. Hold space for yourself to ask, “what do I need?”
I challenge you to think about the last time you scheduled self-care for yourself. Stop for a moment and really think about the last time you did something that felt good, just for you. How often do you do this? Whether that be a walk, a nap, a trip to your favorite store, trying something new..whatever self-care means to you. Self-care has a major impact on your mental health which in turn has an impact on your life. How can you start making self-care a priority? Yoga is about coming home to yourSELF. Looking to get in on this magical experience? Make it a priority to come to REST and see what it is all about!
Hi friends, y’all can call me Dani! I have been on my yoga journey for 9 years now. It started back in my hometown of Croton on Hudson, NY but truly blossomed once I started to call the Queen city home. I found Charlotte Yoga when I moved here and couldn’t think of a better place to have rooted myself. After a year and half of practicing at the studio, I decided to further my yoga journey through teacher training. I completed my 200 RYT Training at CY with Jenn Eddins and have not stopped teaching since!
Teaching yoga is an honor and one of the biggest joys of my life. I truly believe that yoga is for everyone, it should be accessible, and is a practice of self-discovery. Looking to connect breath with movement? Curious what yoga is all about? Join me in flow! You can find me at Charlotte Yoga, Studio Fire and with Dancing Lotus Yoga.
Off the mat you can find me training my puppy Luna, somewhere in the sun, practicing handstands, reading, making a playlist, and spending quality time with those who mean most. Follow me on IG @yellowyogidani for cute dog pics and chances to take a class with me!