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Why did you start yoga, and what do you gain from it now
12 years ago
| Blue Label
Hi, I wanted to put a thread out there, and ask why people started yoga and what you have personally gained from it. As Yoga is some thing that is so widely used to promote so many other things rather than what it is !! Clothing companies use pictures, food companies have people practicing yoga…. Yet when we come back to Yoga as a whole embracing all the limbs, I think it touches us all in so many ways. I started Yoga in my teens, as a way of dealing with my chronic depression and anxiety. I would get on the mat and my practice was a very palative practice then. I just wanted to feel better, and that I did… It was the most profound tool.. Yet 14 years later, my practice is transformative, informative and spiritual. It offers me a place to witness my reactions and patterns of thoughts and habits. It is a quiet space of reflection and renunciation. And that is just the beginning… I would love to hear your story. Namaste Nikki x x
the search
12 years ago

Hey Nikki, I was introduced to the exercise of yoga as a child with my mom and her was cousins and I would 'rock' the lotus or 'walk' the lotus when we were maybe 6 - 8 years old...sorta turned our mothers away from it when they saw how supple, energetic and experimental about it.

In my teens I started exploring meditiation in search of answers to life and some of the things that I was experiencing, precognitive dreams, clairvoyance, clairaudience and just knowing things - that time I was practicing yoga Nidra without realizing what it was, knowing intuitively that I would start with a rotation of body awareness and for me that was internal, then setting an intention or goal (sankalpa) losing hours at a time...well time was not measured really.

Then, I sort of buried all of this. There was no one I could talk to about it and when I had things to say people were afraid and stayed away from me...not exactly what a teenager wants...being individual but you still want a group to belong to...after burying this spiritual aspect of myself for years I grounded myself with the physical, studying professional dance in Canada and then teaching group exercise as far away as Germany. I guess going from one extreme to another...

After years of physically abusing my body with dance, group exercise, alchohol you name it as well as running from my true self I developed and Irritable Bowel Disorder and that brought me back to meditation as I was no longer physically able to get out of my home. That returned me to what I was doing in my teens and now there are many more books, so I have spent the past 5 years or so getting back to where I was and learning that what I was doing intuitively had been around for ages. I incorporated more relaxed yoga than what I had added to my fitness classes - I was always flexible so I kept that strong suit...after two years of research and experimentation on myself I had the IBD under control, had faced the bad relationship I had with food, made more constructive eating habits, stopped binge drinking, and with Yoga Nidra, I am now smoke free...I have learned to deal appropriately with stress and have a healthier relationship with myself and the world around me.

Now, I teach what I have learned through experience and my journey continues. I have found that Kriya Yoga is a great help with my Reiki practice and Yoga Nidra helps my clients relax and be more receptive to the energies of the universe. I have taken my journey from spirit to physical and back and understand so much more about life and the ease in which it can be lived.

Every day is a blessing and with continued exploration I find many of the things that I ran away from are returning and I am meeting people that appreciate them and more importantly just accept them as part of who I am...they are not anymore than what others have within, it is just removing the boundaries that we all have to uncover that which we all are...I long for the light and strive forward to be one with it and it with me....that's what the return journey has brought to me though the return was for reasons of health.

May all find their path to light!


re: Why did you start yoga and what do you gain from it now?
12 years ago
Thanks Nikki for an interesting topic! Four years ago I walked into a yoga class at a fitness club thinking it was a different class. As it turns out the instructor for the original class was sick and they called in their yoga instructor instead. I soon realized I was in the wrong class but stayed with it anyway because my body was enjoying the movements and the instructor was wonderful! Since then I have taken Ashtanga classes at the local YMCA (wonderful workout! Until then I didn't think that sweating was allowed in yoga!) I also took a slower meditative class also at the Y and discovered how even the tiniest adjustments make the difference between pain and perfect alignment. My own yoga practise has been sporadic despite my best intentions. I purchased a few Baron Baptiste videos and am encouraged by his regular comment 'What is your body telling you today? Challenge yourself just a bit..." I am also a runner and have found that yoga is the perfect balance for my runs. (during long runs as a break I sometimes do a few forward bend poses) In my last employment position as the assistant manager in the health food department in the largest grocery store in the city a yoga pose saved my back from the pain of lifting heavy boxes all day. Right now I am at the tail end of the most difficult period of my life. I had to temporarily withdraw from my Masters of Divinity studies and suffered from an eating disorder in the process (food is still not my friend!) all the while coping with another depression and dealing with the stress of looking for my first professional job. (and other home stresses) When I am able to get a yoga session in its medicine! I have been able to incorporate some yoga principles in my daily life (this has helped with my stress level and occasional asthma attacks). My goal with my yoga journey is to teach yoga to Christians (too many, unfortunately carry false ideas of it and are missing out on so much in the process!) with a Christian meditative focus (yoga as another avenue of worship and communion with God: comparable to the way I see my runs). In the meantime I read anything on yoga (am a big fan of Yoga Journal) and highly recommend the Maran Illustrated Guide to Yoga. Thanks! Joyce domine vobiscum
Why did you start yoga, and what do you gain from it now
12 years ago
I started - and I must admit it was against my better judgement at the time - simply because I'd been on a long flight and was moaning to my relatives that I was visiting about how uncomfortable it was and how much I was aching from sitting in the same place. My brother in law suggested I come to the class he attends, and I was like "yoga?? You're taking the <insert profanity> right?"

Anyway, I was convinced to go, assuming it would be all girly incense and chanting

Suffice to say I was wrong. At the end of the 90 minutes I was exhausted, but oddly exhilarated and I've never looked back since. An added bonus was that the aching disappeared and since then I have noted a significant decrease in the neck & shoulder troubles I've suffered from as a result of a car crash. I also have a long drive down to Cornwall for a holiday this weekend, and will do yoga before I go, as I've always found it to be a good way to prevent the aches associated with a long drive.

That was around 2 years ago & I've been practicing at home ever since.

I can't pretend to say that I have experienced the more spiritual side of this that others have expressed, but I certainly am more relaxed and at ease after I've done my practice. (As an interesting aside, I'm reading a book by Nick Hornby at the moment and in one chapter he describes how he found god when he was listening to a song. Since he's an atheist, I suppose there's hope for me yet )

The biggest difficulty I have is finding the motivation to start after a stressful day (ie when I need it most!) but once I start I love it.


12 years ago
yoga started for me twenty years ago in Los Angeles, when a colleague of mine from college told me she was teaching yoga, and maybe I wanted to try it. I'd been a dancer all my life, so using my form in a physical way to get it moving and stretching sounded like a good idea; plus I wanted to support my friend as she was starting her yoga teaching.

we did the postures, moved and breathed and so on... and by the time we got to shavasana, I could feel everything circulating in my body in interesting and unfamiliar but familiar ways.

I went into a profound trance, a meditation so deep I didn't know I was in it -- and my consciousness went into a place in me that was, beyond the shadow of a doubt, my own soul.  I quite literally saw it there, and knew that my consciousness was there, and then, just as suddenly and circuitously as I'd gotten 'in' there -- I was awake, alert, in my physical body with my normal consciousness, again.

as an East-Coast educated skeptic, this knocked my socks off.

it took me a long time to understand the mechanism of how moving my body and breath around in certain ways could afford me a supernatural experience.

hatha yoga for me, today, is a way to stay in physical ease -- but the real doorway into yoga, that kind of union with the divine and experiencing of the soul, for me these days is intense meditation, spiritual teaching and knowledge, and doing healing from that yoga state for others.

great question, glad you asked.


12 years ago

Nikki, thank you so much for starting this thread.  I enjoyed reading everyones posts.  My own experience is very similar to everyone elses.

My husband was in seminary when I started yoga.  I have always been involved in aerobics and dance.  I started doing pilates because some friends of mine who are dancers recommended it to me.  My reasons for exercising was mainly due to vanity and the need to feel better.

I accidently found yoga while I was flipping through my TV one morning.  Rodney Yee and his morning show.  I was curious and attempted to follow along.  At this same time I was developing a friendship (she is now my best friend) with a woman who was from India and was Hindu.  It so happened that I was interested in meditation and was reading a couple of books on Hinduism and Buddhism.  I was fascinated with India and began asking her questions about yoga and so forth. She wasn't really into yoga, but her sister teaches it in India.

Yoga started out as another routine to my weekly exercises.  Then, something wonderful happened.  Yoga became physical prayer.  I wanted to learn more, do more.  I no longer do it for vain reasons.  Now I yearn to do yoga so that I can feel balanced and intune with nature, my surrounds, living in the moment.

Life keeps tossing me about, but I am learning to breathe into the moment. 

Why did we start and why do we keep practicing..
12 years ago
Wow, I have read some really inspirational things. I love to hear why we all started and why we keep going. Thank you for the honesty in your posts. I look forward to reading more Love N x
12 years ago

I started yoga 7 years ago after bunion surgery with a friend; the workshop was Yoga for Stress Reduction.  I loved it and continued; she didn't, but we're still friends. 

The benefits of yoga have overflowed into my every day life;  not only am I more fit, I am more compassionate, more patient, so many mores.....

I have started on my yoga teaching certification; I have finished my bachelor's degree; I have a regular meditation and yoga practice.   

I cannot imagine my life without yoga.

12 years ago

Curiosity started me off.

Now I am learning about my own body, and this enables me to understand others bodies.

Then I am in a better position to help others.

12 years ago
I remember looking at a yoga book my mom had when I was a kid and trying some of the poses, but for a long time that was all. My mom went through yoga teacher training and used me as a student guinea pig, which was an interesting experience for both of us. It got me sort of interested in yoga, but whenever I tried to join a local studio about six years ago, the class kept getting cancelled.

When I moved to Toronto I did yoga very regularly at a couple different studios. Ashtanga was a great meditative outlet and grounding place for me, and over the last year and a bit, after moving to the east coast, I've noticed how much I'm missing that regular practice.
Ten Years Old
12 years ago

I was a fat kid, tending to prefer reading to physical motion.  We were in a Hippy School and our elementary teacher tought yoga.   I remember every morning being friends could do forward bends and all this other stuff...not me


I was listening to AM radio and the preacher said that Yoga led to posession by DEMONS!!!!

So I told the school it was against my religion to do yoga.  They laughed, but accepted my position.   I got to read and not do yoga....I regretted it even then, but never swallowed my pride to rejoin.

Next year we had it again and I didn't object.  We practiced Yoga, meditation and many other disciplines, such as visualization. 

Then I went to the public school system and didn't do yoga for 20 years.   I started back again at a gym.  I had been practicing martial arts and it was like finding an old friend.

Now I practice almost every day.

My back is straight, I am more aware of my body, I kno how to heal myself and cure almost any muscular twinge or ache.

My volatility is somewhat lessoned, as is the ego I have carried since age 10

just wanted to add
12 years ago

my odyssey with this is still pretty new .... i have been going to classes off and on for about two years now, but the timing was such that it was difficult to be consistent.

since the beginning of menopause, i've lived with an all-consuming insomnia that seldom let me sleep more than six hours, even with prescription medications or a combination of herbs, melatonin and benadryl.

three weeks ago, something - i'll never be sure what - moved me enough to do a half hour of yoga followed by a half hour of meditation at about 7 p.m.  i fell asleep by 9:30 that night and slept straight through 'til 5:30 the next morning, and it's been pretty consistent since then.  next, i'll try to start weaning off the meds, but at the moment, sleeping normally is so delicious after a ten year hiatus that i can't begin to tell even spills over into those nights that i can't practice....

12 years ago
Congratulations on the sleep! that is wonderful!
12 years ago

Yesterday reaffirmed for me why I started yoga - to find balance.

I haven't been practicing daily and I can feel the difference.  Work has been stressful, a new home, new state,  new school for the kids, fiancial stuff, trying to sell my house - I just didn't practice yoga because these things had to be dealt with.  Yesterday I let it go and made time to practice and it was well worth.  I let go.

Today has been much better.  It's still stressful, but I am looking forward to practicing yoga when I get home.

I agree
12 years ago
Tania, I am with you on that one, Even after 14 years of consistent practice, teaching and running a studio, I am constantly reminded that I am able to do all this as well as be a mother of two children all through what my practice gives me. It takes me to a place of quietness, reflection and stability… It is like each time I come to my mat I fill up on what I have let go of during my day and more than that it offers me the opportunity to notice where I lost myself during the day! I get with my practice that it is not an avoidance of life nor is it going to make me immune to what life has to offer, yet rather it offers me tools that I can then take off the mat into my life and be a living example of yoga in my community
Why I started yoga
12 years ago

All of the posts on this topic speak to me about the reasons I started yoga and what carries over from my practice into my daily life.

My father-in-law just passed away after a year-long battle with pancreatic cancer.  My place on my mat helped me to deal with what I was feeling as I watched him fade and it also helped me to be there for him and the rest of my family. 

After 7 plus years, I can't imagine not doing yoga; the benefits to every part of my existence continue to surprise and amaze me.

12 years ago

Hi all

yoga is so good for me and everyone I reccomend everyone to do. Well I started about 2 years ago I have bi-polar and have a fused neck with alot of pain and bad back and was stressed well mostly all is gone yoga is my medication now for everything I even have more movment in my neck. and mood swings are much better. In my heart where ever it oriniated from I'm so thankful with such an attitude of grattitude.

everyone have a good day.

peace, love & light


12 years ago

Thought, a little bit of something to participate, partly from the Web, sure, but at the risk, what am writing here probably doubtless has been said and posted, just often.

...As we all know, yoga is aimed to unite the body and the spirit. Yogis view that the mind and the body are one, and that if it is given the right tools and taken to the right environement, it can find harmony and heal itself. Yoga therefore is considered therapeutic. It helps you become more aware of your body´s posture, alignment and patterns of movement. It makes the body more flexible and helps you relax even in the midst of a stress stricken environment. This is one of the foremost reasons why people are into yoga, they feel fitter. Yoga revives the mechanism of the body, and so, one´s more cheerful.

12 years ago

Even as a young child I was drawn to yoga, being from a conservative middle class family in N.J. it wasn't readily available. When my family moved to S.C. when I was in jr. high, a friend told me about seeing yoga on tv and I was still intrigued - obviously , remembering this one lunchline conversation to this day.

Later as a young adult, I was turned off by the "airy fairy" approach most people took to it -- "breathe deep, feel the universe turn...."  yeah right.

Then...after the birth of my third child, I was surfing tv and saw Rodney Yee teaching some introductory asanas, and practiced along. He was casual and attractive - hmm....

After that, I found Steve Ross on the tv and loved his irreverent style. I percieved the truth of his actions and appreciated the humor in his words. - what fun is anything wiyhout humour - His work out was strenuous and his class showed many levels of mobility. I became addicited. Practiced every day, became more flexible than ever and discovered a great buzz went with it! As I've alwasys been drawn to altered states.....this was my ticket.  

As my life has been thru so many many changes in the past 8 years, it's a constant place for me to maintain perspetive and a link to the all.


12 years ago
I started yoga and meditation when I first moved away from my parents and needed to keep myself together in my first big city living experience. It was the only thing that kept me sane. When I became pregnant with my first child, I found that yoga and meditation were the very best way to get gentle exercise, relieve stress and stay in tune with my ever-changing body. Now, yoga is something I like to share with others as much as possible. I practice everyday and it allows me to stay calm and increase my overall energy and circulation throughout the day. Like everything, it is a rabbit hole, so now I've been exploring more meditation and breathing and learning about the anatomy of the body and how yoga actually works scientifically. It's given me insight into my own mind and body as well as others.
11 years ago

I really honestly started for fitness reasons. Initially I noticed if I practiced yoga I wouldn't have any pain in my body.
Now after 5 years (and discovering Kum Nye yoga) my practice has become my greatest passion and love.
Because I practice Kum Nye I am able to offer the best of myself. Everyone in life can benefit more, and I feel I can contribute more to whatever I focus on. Honestly there is just more to contribute.
To quote the first Kum Nye book:
 " Our awareness gives us the freedom to take charge of our lives, not in a fourceful or grasping way, but with confidence. We then naturally do what is appropriate and beneficial, and function in a positive way in the world. We realize that ideas and actions which result in stability and happiness for ourselves contribute also to the harmony of the world around us. "

As I practice, my understanding of the truth of this statement continues to deepen. In my perception this concept is immeasurably vast.

Om Ah Hung

i am guided by divine
11 years ago

i used to practise meditation at a buddhist org Tuesday evening. One day i tired about these people say women are inferior and i speak up they not happy. i found a yoga class nearby same time and the teacher is very good and her class is very enlighten. It is perfect study for me allow i continue my spiritual path after i gained insight in zen. All is perfect and i guided by both by grace and my heart. I am always at right place at right time

10 years ago

The first time I ever learned meditation was when I was 10 years old. I had terrible stress-induced headaches and was taught my first meditation technique by my psychologist. It really helped me to cope with and ease the pain. I was introduced to the asanas of yoga in my very early teens, via my aunt’s yoga videos. Throughout my teenage years I practiced on and off. The physical and philosophical practices always seem to reenter my life. By my late teens I practiced almost every day.... a couple years or so ago I began teacher trainings so that I could share the practice with others and it's been wonderful! It has improved my posture,  daily aches, muscle tone, flexibility, my ability to cope with stress, my disposition, and more! It continues to better my life and I love being able to help others in their practice  

10 years ago

All these different reasons for finding yoga are amazing & beautiful.

I first found yoga about 5 years ago. I didn't practice regularly and only really thought of it from a fitness point. The spirituality aspect never hit me until one day I felt a class feeling balanced, happy, full of life and energy. I was alive. Yoga is a way for me to calm by mind and just breathe. It is excellent for grounding, making me time & feeling connected to Mother Earth. It is also an excellent practice for stress relief, I appreciate everything more and I'm definately never depressed. On days when I don't do yoga, I often feel lost and remember why I am lost. Yoga is the light in my day and I'm beginning to build a solid practice because I want this to be a regular and amazing part of my life.

9 years ago

I enjoyed reading these posts.
Yoga has been a long journey for me. I can't imagine how I'd be without it.

Yoga Journey
9 years ago

I have gone from casually taking a yoga class in Brooklyn, NY to getting certified to teach Ashtanga Yinyasa Yoga and Children"s Yoga to opening up my own studio in San Juan, PR. It has been the most amazing journey of my life.

9 years ago

I initially started yoga close to 10 years ago because I found my flexibility to be in terrible shape. I fell in love with it. While the "honeymoon" is long over its hard for me to speak of any tangible benefit and there have been long lapses in my practice. At the same time I appreciate that yoga provides challenges that I can accept. So maybe that is the benefit.

This post was modified from its original form on 17 Sep, 19:08
9 years ago

I wanted to try yoga to be happier and healthier. I knew some people who were regularly attending yoga sessions, but I ended up trying it years later. I was a little scared of trying something new. When I finally decided to attend a class, I told myself to just let go and experience the whole process. I ended up falling in love with yoga and I've been doing it since then. I'm a lot more disciplined and physically fit than before thanks to yoga.

9 years ago

When, in more or less of a psychedelic haze, I first lurched into a yoga ashrama back in '70, I had no idea where that would lead. They immediately started explaining that because Bhakti Yoga was the yoga of love and devotion, it was the topmost system and would automatically protect me from the dangers of misusing new found powers that might sometimes otherwise be stumbling blocks for a yoga practitioner. As far as what I gain from it now, I'd have to say the ability to control my ojas shakti and have multiple orgasms with erotic energy suffusing my entire being would have to be way near the top if not at the very top of the list.

This post was modified from its original form on 06 Nov, 0:04
8 years ago

I just started about two years ago in order to learn it. I knew it was going to be a large part of my life for it was one thing that was definitely missing. I was quite stiff actually, to spite how fit I was. I have gained an amazing amount of control over my body, and also some deep meditations and even spiritual awakening. As I am only twenty-three years old I look forward to the magic it will bring in the next seventy years.

8 years ago

I started yoga, to love my self . It has given me a better life, it has removed pain and ignorance and offers practical ways to attain happiness and wisdom. I love yoga.

8 years ago

Hi Lukas and Ravindran - thank you for sharing your experiences and hopes. I felt uplifted reading each of them.
Today I found a video on youtube that someone has made - a collection of pictures of my yoga teacher: ACHARYA ROY UPENDRA. He passed away in 2006. He gave me so much, he gave very many so much, with his classes in the centre of Sydney city. I'm grateful beyond words.
If you'd like to see him, here's the URL...


7 years ago

First, I wish I would have started doing yoga many years ago, I'm sure I wouldn't have the problems I have today if I had. I started a few years ago and it's helped me alot since I suffer from chronic pain in my back and legs. I have worked hard physically all my life ( I enjoy it  and I've had eight children. But that has all taken a toll on my back which as cause other problems. The yoga has helped alot and as there are many levels I can do simple stretches and excersizes and not be afraid I'll hurt myself. Also, I have found that meditation has also helped me a great deal, not only to deal with pain but it's helped with anxiety and depression. Which, since I've been doing it I haven't had that much of a problem with.

Why I started Yoga
7 years ago

I started about 3 years ago. I found the pawanmuktasana series asanas helped a lot. The asanas improves my joints flexibility, suppleness and release wind trapped in body. Sun salutations also my favourite. Apart from that for cleansing i practice jala netti, kunjal and laghoo. These shatkarma practices help me to detox. Glad that i have picked up these beneficial practices !

Why I started yoga?
7 years ago

Hi to everyone, this is my first posting in the group.

Well when i started i was 20 that means that i have about 25 years on it. I started because i have loved fitness all my life and i wanted to do something to add flexibility. So i started with Indra Devi's books, with light asanas and some guide of breathing. I liked the results, not only for flexibility but for my wellness. Then i started to go to a class to learn meditation. I have to admit that meditation is very difficult because ur mind never gets "silent" Nowdays i still do and i find it fantastic for flexibility, mental wellness, peace of mind, the breathing is awesome and relaxing.

Why I started yoga
6 years ago

I am a beginner. I was told yoga would help with my depression, could possibly help with myt fibromyalgia, and i hope it does, and since its quite a workout, Iam hoping it will help me lose weight along with working out at the gym and watching my diet. I am open to many new experiences, and I want yoga to be a part of my life for however long I have left here (we all go at some point in time)


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