Is there instant gratification in yoga?

One of the most gratifying aspects of yoga is the instant gratification. This may seem slightly ridiculous. I can practically hear people rolling their eyes because what kind of instant gratification is yoga if I weigh the same leaving as I did walking to my mat? Where is the instant gratification in eating carrot sticks again? What appeal is there in holding child’s pose while the marathon runners around me do head stands? I know you’re thinking these things, and I get it, I really do. What I’m mostly hearing, though, is ingratitude. A lack of understanding of your body. A lack of appreciation for your own practice.Think about moving from our first down dog to our last. Think about how much longer you can hold plank now than you could last week, one month, or even three months ago. Consider your own strength and flexibility from when you first step on to the mat to when you’re walking in your own front door. Consider your own personal strength in that you came to yoga, and you may have held child’s pose, but that is not disgraceful. You still showed up where many don’t, or won’t, and you recognized your own limitations. You worked with your own body instead of punishing it by trying something you may not be able to do yet.Your practice is a work in progress, just like your body. What you can do today you may not have been able to do two weeks ago or two weeks from now. Be appreciative and mindful of your own strengths and limitations. Be grateful for your practice and your body. Love the instant gratification of completing something today that is healthy and good for your body and soul. Notice the ease of your movements at the end of class, and notice the strain where you’re building muscle. Focus on the positive, and appreciate the change you’ve created for yourself. Your body at the beginning of class is different from your body at the end of class. And that is your instant gratification.

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