I love when our guests at Travaasa tell me they’ve come to “get away” and relax. It’s so nice to hear people taking care of themselves, and I believe everyone could benefit from taking time to rest, enjoy a beautiful place and eat good food. I don’t think enough folks today do.

Of course, I also believe everyone could benefit from a little exercise. Different forms of exercise have different effects on the body. Many people enjoy doing yoga because it tones muscle, increases flexibility and reduces stress—not to mention, it also can leave you feeling much more peaceful. Why is that? What makes yoga different from other forms of exercise? There are so many reasons, but I’ll just mention a few.

If you were to search for the “goal” of each class, it would be to listen to your body, rather than your ego. That means bringing yourself to the edge where growth occurs but having the discipline to not go over it. Yoga is not a competitive sport, and in this practice, we learn to appreciate that everyone’s body is different. We greatly benefit ourselves to not look at what our neighbor can or can’t do, but instead, focus on what we can do in this present moment. Another vital component of yoga is focusing on the breath and linking each pose to the breath. During our practice, we must always, always, always continue to breathe, even (and especially!) in those awkward or difficult moments. Now, how would things change if you took these principles and applied them to your life off the mat?

During a true yoga practice, you practice compassion towards yourself, letting go by staying with the breath, having the courage to go into a resting pose if your body tells you, and being present in the current moment. When we take better care of ourselves, we can take better care of others, and that’s just one of the many ways yoga can change your life.

In addition to being a certified yoga instructor at Travaasa Austin, Kate Winge also is a Reiki practitioner and art instructor. Learn more about Kate here