Ten minutes of yoga a day can heal your mind, body, spirit, and even a broken heart.
Goat yoga, hot yoga, aerial yoga, beer yoga, rage yoga – these myriad yoga trends might have you feeling like yoga has lost its spiritual center. If you want to get back to basics, or you’ve never tried yoga, practicing yoga for just 10 minutes a day – sans goats and beer – can help heal your mind, body, and spirit. It can even mend a broken heart. But, don’t take my word for it; see for yourself. June 21 is International Yoga Day, and it’s an ideal time to either recommit to your yoga practice, or begin a yoga practice.
While most people today see yoga as a form of fitness, that’s not how it started. Ira Trivedi, author of “The 10-Minute Yoga Solution,” and part of the team that led the first International Yoga Day celebrations in India, which set a Guinness World Record for the largest yoga class in history, says yoga has untold benefits – including the ability to heal a broken heart.
“Yoga is not just a physical practice; it is very much spiritual. But it begins in the body — this is perhaps the easiest way of reaching within ourselves. [What’s more,] certain yoga asanas work on your endocrine system and this helps you stay emotionally balanced, even in times of trouble,” she explains.
“With these set of asanas we work on our Anahata chakra, or the heart center, and this really does help in emotional release.” Additionally, she notes that chest-opening exercises can help you feel emotionally strong. “When we feel weak or upset we tend to hunch forward, we do this in times of vulnerability, but opening the chest really does lead to an [increased] sense of strength and wellbeing.”
If this sounds like your jam, but you want to tone your body as well, yoga does double duty as a practice that promotes both physical and spiritual wellness. And, it doesn’t take a huge time commitment. “We don’t need to do pranayama or asanas for hours,” Trivedi says. “Even a few minutes of a concentrated and disciplined practice can lead to physical, mental, and emotional transformation.” If you’re not convinced, consider getting up 10 minutes earlier each day and committing to your mat for a month. Because, the proof is in the practice.
The author of almost 10 books, Trivedi, who lives in New Dehli, India, majored in economics and went on to get an MBA. It wasn’t until 15 years ago that she began incorporating yoga into her life. “Yoga has transformed my entire existence. Not only have I become a healthier person physically, but I have also become a healthier person mentally, emotionally, and spiritually,” she says.
“Once you begin your yoga journey, even by practicing just 10 minutes a day, you begin understanding that life is not meant to be a continuous struggle. In fact, when you begin your yoga journey, life begins to follow you and not the other way around. It truly is wonderful how one’s life can blossom under the influence of this practice.”
In fact, Trivedi’s experience was so transformational that she founded Namami Yoga – an NGO that supports underprivileged children – and penned “My Book of Yoga,” featuring the beloved character Om the Yoga Dog, to bring yoga to kids who need it most
“Yoga belongs to all of us, and my intent with Namami Yoga is that yoga reach everyone, even the most unlikely suspects! I created the character of Om the Yoga Dog to make yoga fun for children and also for the purpose of positive storytelling,” Trivedi says.
“I want yoga to reach everyone, especially the poorest of the poor. For children who are born with very little, often in negative and harmful environments, yoga can do so much. Yoga becomes a release from all the negativity they experience at home, and I’ve seen so children actually become yoga professionals and teachers and earn a livelihood.
Personally, I am more drawn to the spiritual and emotional benefits of yoga than I am to yoga as a form of fitness. If you’re not aware that Yoga is a type of meditation, and you have trouble sitting still to meditate, developing a regular yoga practice can deliver the benefits of meditation while also toning your body. I recently engaged in a 30-day meditation challenge with a group of friends, and I can honestly say that it’s changed my life.
By meditating regularly, I feel less anxious, I sleep better, I have more patience, and small things don’t bother me as much. For example, being late for something used to send me into an anxiety tailspin, which almost always resulted in tears someplace completely inappropriate – like the drug store. Since I began meditating, I am usually able to breathe through it and accept that getting worked up isn’t going to get me where I’m going any faster. It’s just going to stress me out. That’s not good for anyone.
Additionally, I am learning to work with the universe to manifest what I want, which helps me feel less powerless. The bottom line? You have nothing to lose and everything to gain by giving yoga a chance, and International Yoga Day provides you with the perfect opportunity to get started. Look at it this way – if it doesn’t end up benefiting you, you’ve only lost 10 minutes from your day. “I encourage everyone to come on this journey, beginning with just 10 minutes of yoga every day,” Trivedi says. “Namaste, and thank you.” See you on the mat my friendlies!
Has yoga or meditation transformed your life? Share your experience in the comments below.