Whenever I teach an arm balancing pose like Bakasana, which is crane pose, I always tell people to put a folded blanket on the floor under where their face will be for “insurance” that they’ll be as good-looking after the pose as they were beforehand. And I always remind people that the blanket is really like modern-day insurance in that you want to have it but never need to use it!
What we call health insurance is more often than not sickness insurance. With a few exceptions, It doesn’t pay for any of the preventative things we do or buy to keep ourselves well, like yoga classes. It only covers expenses when our health deteriorates to the point where we need tests, diagnoses, medications, treatments and surgeries.
But yoga is an investment you make that actually contributes to your health and wellness. You planted seeds of wellness that very first time you stepped on your yoga mat. And you water and tend what sprouted from those seeds each and every time you practice.
When I first started practicing yoga 25 years ago, I knew I “felt better” when I attended classes regularly, but it was the people I worked with who first really pointed out to me the tangible benefits of my practice. “How are you able to focus on work for so many hours at a time?”, they’d ask. “I don’t know,” I replied. “How do you have enough energy to pull so many all-nighters?,” they’d say. And I’d reply, “I don’t know.” And finally someone asked me “How come everyone in the office has this cold but you?” And I finally said, “I think it’s because I do yoga!”
Yoga has the capacity to reduce stress and thereby strengthen your immune system. It can make you stronger, more patient, less apt to have anxiety. It can help you sleep better, digest your food better, reduce pain and stiffness, and help you know yourself better so that you know when you’re really ill or what you need to do to practice self-care. And in that way, it’s much better than a health insurance policy. It’s a road to the freedom to live your life so that you can go anywhere and do anything you desire without having to worry if you’ll physically be able to climb that mountain or bike the 50 miles or sit on the plane for the number of hours it takes to get where you always wanted to go.
By making me physically and mentally able, yoga gives me the freedom to do as I choose and to live as I want. In my mind, yoga = freedom and this is the reason I named my studio Yoga Libre. We all know that whatever we water will grow, so tend to your yoga seeds lovingly and often, at home and here at Yoga Libre with me.
Wishing you many years of wellness!