The yoga lifestyle is not just about taking yoga classes to strengthen muscles. It is an entire way of life that involves evolving your mindfulness to a point where you can be fully aware of yourself. The primary goal is to form a deep connection between your mind, body, and soul. This lifestyle can lead to complete mindfulness that encompasses an improved self-image, better food choices, stress management, and maintenance of other conditions. The benefits are vast, from weight loss through mindful eating to decreased risk of cardiovascular disease. Today we will give insight into starting a yogic lifestyle and how it differs from just “doing yoga.” It will also cover the benefits of this type of lifestyle and what the yogic concept of a healthy lifestyle is. Read on for everything you need to know about living the yoga life.
How To Start A Yoga Lifestyle?
Starting a yoga life requires taking on a complete state of mindfulness in every aspect of your life. It is not just about striking a few poses and calling it a day. Yoga’s primary philosophy is connecting the mind, body, and soul. When you start this lifestyle, you will select which of the six branches best suits your goals. These branches include the following:
- Hatha Yoga: emphasizes the mind and body connection
- Raja Yoga: uses meditation and strict adherence to the eight limbs of yoga, which are disciplinary steps
- Karma Yoga: aims to eliminate negativity and selfishness from your future
- Bhakti Yoga: creates a positive way to channel emotions, cultivating acceptance and tolerance
- Jnana Yoga: develops knowledge through study
- Tantra Yoga: follows ritual, ceremony, or consummation of a relationship (3).
Yoga poses, or asanas, are still essential in a yoga lifestyle. These poses increase stress relief through the inflammatory response and will use traditional yoga supplies. In addition to performing asanas, you will need to add meditation sessions to increase mindfulness. Doing this increases the connection between the mind, body, and soul (8).
You will also need to employ mindful eating. Being mindful means having a non-judgmental awareness of the effects of eating, including physical and emotional sensations. It is being fully aware of the moment you are in, not what is happening around you (2).
Many resources are available for following this lifestyle, including tracking your favorite yoga lifestyle blog.
How To Begin A Yoga And Pilates Lifestyle?
You may want to combine elements of a yoga lifestyle with a pilates lifestyle. First, you will need to know what pilates entails. The main principles of this lifestyle include the following:
- Fluidity (5)
As you may have noticed, all of these line up perfectly with yoga’s central themes. Having control, staying centered, concentrating, and breathing correctly are all essential while maintaining precision and fluidity of movement.
Fully integrating yoga with pilates into one lifestyle may not be possible; however, you can incorporate the central themes they share and increase your mindfulness. You would need to alternate your asanas with pilates exercises. The same concepts for mindfulness and meditation would apply in this situation as in creating a yoga lifestyle.
What Are The Benefits Of A Yogic Lifestyle?
The prevalent belief of yoga is that the chakras are central to the physical body through energy, thoughts, and feelings. They can even determine how you experience reality by affecting emotional reactions and physical symptoms. Yoga holds that when the energy in a chakra becomes blocked, you may feel anxiety, stress, poor digestion, and lethargy. Performing asanas specifically targeted to the affected chakra will stimulate it, freeing the energy and returning you to regular status (3).
Living a yoga lifestyle can cause you to be more mindful of your body, including what you put in it. Mindful eating can make healthier choices, resulting in weight loss and better habits.
The meditation involved in yoga can help with severe problems such as mental health issues, stress, and anxiety. Providing the focus the mind needs can bring things back into a healthier perspective, making you more mindful of your choices for the rest of your life (8).
Yoga has also been found to reduce the risk of heart disease and manage chronic illnesses, such as prostate cancer, stroke, and rheumatoid arthritis. You can also experience more significant executive functions of the brain (1, 9).
Because of the greater mind-body connection formed from the lifestyle yoga creates, the changes you make in your life are likely to be longer lasting than those you make in fear of needing to change. For example, if you are afraid you will have heart disease because of your weight, you are less likely to maintain the changes you make from that fear. Instead, if you lived a yoga lifestyle that promoted changes, you would be more likely to hold the changes (10).
You may also find you have a better self-image. The mind-body connection gives those living this lifestyle more awareness of their body, how it moves, and greater overall satisfaction. They are generally less self-critical, embracing who they are in a positive fashion (12).
This lifestyle can also lead to better sleep, bringing about even more health benefits. Cognitive function relies on getting enough rest. It can also improve decision-making and promote weight loss while reducing the risk of cardiovascular problems (4).
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What Do You Mean By The Yogic Concept Of A Healthy Lifestyle?
The yogic concept of a healthy lifestyle is one in which a person lives with a perfect balance of the mind, body, and soul. They live at an optimal level of function and suffer from no disease. Additionally, none of the chakras are blocked. Following a yoga life will lead to this healthy lifestyle concept through mindfulness and awareness of the self as part of the world around you (3).
What Is A Yoga Diet?
While you are not required to eat a strict yoga diet to be fully mindful of what you are eating, many who follow the lifestyle choose to eat a vegan diet. This stems from the teachings dating back centuries in ancient India. Yoga is a key component of Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism, which all share a cultural history. Within these three religions, it is taught that animals should not be harmed. Some teachings state that people may be reborn as animals; therefore, all life is precious. Vegetarianism is also highly promoted in various yogic texts (11).
So, to be truly traditional, one must follow a vegetarian or vegan diet. However, more modern cultures do not align with Hinduism, Buddhism, or Jainism, so altering the diet this much is only sometimes a practice that is followed. Many focus on simplifying their diets to be more mindful.
What Is Yogic Practice?
Yoga is a psychosomatic and spiritual discipline that seeks to harmonize the mind, body, and soul. It also strives to create a union between the individual and universal consciousnesses. Through the yogic practice, the participant overcomes personal obstacles from within, including laziness, delusion, desire, and anger (6).
It becomes a cleansing experience that allows them to be more self-aware and less self-centered. By eliminating the desire to have more or be someone else, the participant will become more in tune with who they are and more accepting. Through acceptance, they will also be able to release any pent-up anger, relieving tension.
The Bottom Line
The yoga lifestyle is compelling, as it enables complete mindfulness in every aspect of your life. It will help you focus more on your body’s movements, what you eat, and how you react to the world. Choosing the form of yoga that best suits your needs will be especially beneficial to creating the best lifestyle.
With all the benefits that yoga offers, it should be no surprise how popular it is. Many use it to reduce the risks of health complications or to lose weight. The primary purpose is to gain a balance between the mind, body, and soul to create perfect health.
This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on to make decisions of any kind. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!
- 9 Benefits of Yoga (n.d., hopkinsmedicine.org)
- Development and Validation of the Mindful Eating Questionnaire (2010, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- How does yoga work? (2021, medicalnewstoday.com)
- Increased well-being: Another reason to try yoga (2020, health.harvard.edu)
- Pilates (2011, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Physiological Effects of Yogic Practices and Transcendental Meditation in Health and Disease (2012, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Psychological Functioning in a Sample of Long-Term Practitioners of Mindfulness Meditation (2009, connect.springerpub.com)
- The effect of living a ‘yogic lifestyle’ on stress response and self-image in healthcare professionals: a pilot study (2020, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- What are the health benefits of yoga? (2019, medicalnewstoday.com)
- Yoga: A gateway to healthier habits? (2021, health.harvard.edu)
- Yoga, Ahimsa and Consuming Animals: UK Yoga Teachers’ Beliefs about Farmed Animals and Attitudes to Plant-Based Diets (2020, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Yoga benefits beyond the mat (2021, health.harvard.edu)
- Yoga: Fight stress and find serenity (n.d., mayoclinic.org)
- Yoga for better mental health (2021, health.harvard.edu)