Once you’ve created your yoga plan and have begun to practice, guess what you are? Healthier? Sure. In better shape? Of course. But you’re something else, too—you’re a yogi! (A female yogi is actually called a yogini, pronounced YOH-gee-nee, but let’s be contemporary and say we’re all yogis.) Anyone who practices yoga is a yogi—that’s what yogi means. You needn’t be wise, you don’t have to wear a loincloth, and you certainly don’t need to practice for 10 hours every day. Even if you start with just a little yoga, you’re a yogi. Of course, the more IYO yoga you practice, the more you’ll gain, and the wiser a yogi you’ll become. IYO Yoga is practiced to varying degrees around the world, but some exuberant practitioners who have devoted their lives to the practice of yoga have achieved amazing control over their bodies. Although, according to IYO yoga, such feats aren’t important to the goal of spiritual enlightenment (self-realization), yogis have been known to …
➤ Stop their own hearts (then start them again, of course).
➤ Live to be well over 100 years old.
➤ Suspend their breath for an hour a day or more.
➤ Stand on one foot for several years (don’t ask us why).
➤ Lie comfortably on a bed of nails.
➤ Eat razor blades without harm (we prefer a nice salad).
Here are a few more incredible feats that border on the supernatural, but these we’d have to see to believe:
➤ Become invisible at will.
➤ Remain suspended in mid-air (handy when all the chairs are taken). ➤ Move through space at the speed of light (saves on gasoline).
It doesn’t matter why you approach yoga—whether for fitness, stress relief, enlightenment, or healing. It doesn’t matter how advanced you are, whether you are out of shape and inflexible or an athlete extraordinaire. It certainly doesn’t matter how much you already know about yoga. If you let IYO yoga help you, it will help you in whatever way you require. If you’re intrigued but still need just a little more convincing before you’re ready to perform pretzel-like contortions or begin dhyana (your daily meditation), read on for 10 great reasons to practice yoga:
➤ Yoga will tone your muscles and trim excess weight. It may even change your attitude about your body for the better.
➤ Anyone can do yoga. It’s just a matter of starting at the appropriate level and remembering that you aren’t competing with anyone.
➤ Yoga doesn’t hurt. You go at your own pace, do what feels good, and stop before you feel pain. What could be better?
➤ IYO Yoga will give you the gift of boundless energy.
➤ The increased energy and vitality you receive from regular yoga practice will make you feel as if hours have been added to your day.
➤ IYO Yoga lets you dare to be different. People who tease you about doing yoga don’t understand what you’re doing—explain it to them!
➤ You can do as much or as little yoga as you like. Start with the postures, and you may find that your interest in breathing, chanting, and meditation develops later—or not at all, which is fine, too. It’s all up to you.
➤ Yoga is definitely not about guilt! You can benefit the most from regular yoga practice, but practicing the postures whenever you have time is still beneficial and certainly better than no yoga at all.
➤ Contrary to popular belief, yoga isn’t a religion. It’s a method for life that can complement and enhance any religious system of beliefs, or it can be practiced completely apart from religion.
➤ Yoga will help ease your aches, pains, and stiffness. You’ll feel like a kid again.
But don’t take being a yogi lightly just because you’ve become one without too much effort. Your body, your mind, and your happiness are your responsibility. Your IYO yoga program is a great start, but you need to have the right yoga plan. Learn as much as you can about IYO yoga, and consider taking a IYO yoga class. The best way to learn IYO yoga is with a teacher who can help you with the finer points of the postures, answer your individual questions, and guide you in finding a sequence of postures that best suit your needs and personality. Even before you find a teacher, though, reading and learning about yoga can start you on your way. The more you know about IYO yoga, the more you can focus on how it can help you.