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Why Do You Do Yoga?


I was recently watching Yoga Journal's latest DVD: Yoga For Strength and Toning with Flow teacher Stephanie Snyder. (Full disclosure: Stephanie is my main teacher so I am thrilled that she just released this brand new DVD.) Strength and toning seems like a great reason to do yoga but it got me thinking: I wonder how many different reasons there are that people practice yoga?

Some super-busy students of mine do yoga to de-stress; others to stay in shape. Some sporty students do yoga to stretch out after their workout.  I do yoga for different reasons on different days but mostly because it makes me feel good: mind, body, and soul. (And sometimes I joke that I do yoga because it makes me a little bit less crazy.)

I know my students do yoga for some many reasons. What are those reasons for you? What brings you to the mat?


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I practice Yoga as a lifestyle - as a teacher/educator if I don't practice what I teach I have no right or business to teach! This lifestyle includes not only the physical practice (asana) but the moral and ethical underpinnings (yama and niyama) as well as learning about and practicing Ayurvedic routines and diet.

This has been an ongoing process for the past 20 years but has completely transformed my body, mind, spirit, interactions with others, an more. I highly recommend deeper investigation of Yoga as more than just a means to a better looking "end"!

You don't have to joke about doing yoga because it makes you a little less crazy. I do it for the same reason! For those of us who have problems with depression or anxiety, a yoga class is a pleasant retreat from the madness. It's a moment in the day where you don't have to worry about yesterday or stress about tomorrow. You can just focus on what you are doing in the moment. And that has made all the difference for me.

All of the above! Your list is pretty complete, I think.

I am one of those many people who started Yoga just for the physical benefits. In my case it was to improve my flexibility for tennis. It was offered right at my tennis club. As I write on my website:

"What happened next was unexpected. I found that the philosophical practices of Yoga, especially focusing on the present moment, and detaching my ego from the results, had a far more beneficial impact on my tennis than the flexibility. The Yoga of the mind had a bigger effect on my tennis performance than the Yoga of the body."

I went on from there to read and write about the ancient Yoga texts and their practical meaning for everyday life. But I still love doing asana everyday. Like you said, "mostly because it makes me feel good: mind, body, and soul."

Bob Weisenberg

without a doubt... makes me LESS crazy!

Although my ego likes the toning and reverse-aging process Hatha Yoga produces, my true self loves the conduit it provides to connect with it and the experience of serenity that accompanies that.

Therefore, the latter reason is the far more important and sustanative reason to practice asanas, while the former is basically a product of my Western orientation and the superficiial needs it has convinced me I must have.

I do yoga because I love it. I love the strength, beauty and flexibility of it and the way it makes me feel all of those things. Some times I do it to stretch out after a long run or another type of workout, sometimes to help center myself after a long day. But mostly I do it because I really enjoy it. It makes me feel so good.

I started yoga finally to rehab a herniated disk and get my hamstrings stretched out enough to touch my toes for the first time in 30+ years. I have been practicing TM for 34 years, as well as, martial arts, but it wasn't until my back injury a year ago that I started adding it to my physical therapy regime a few months ago. Additionally, it seems to be helping to get me to sleep for more than 4 hours at a time, by calming the "monkey mind" even more than my meditation does. So, at 58, I am hooked for life.

thank you for such a nice and informative post. Yoga is a very good and best exercise which only can control and develops a healthy mind and body... I too doing my yoga practices daily with the help of the complete guidance and information's from the site They are too good in providing complete information and also providing best quality yoga products...

I do yoga for the allergies, arthritis, anxiety, depression. Also for the strength, flexibility, balance, concentration, focus and meditation.

I found this article very interesting since I am a big advocate of yoga. yoga has been a huge part of my relaxation process not only for work, but for all aspects of my life. I also find Meditation a very relaxing activity that always recharges me after a stressful week. Perhaps you can write an article about Meditation as well?

I too suffer from anxiety and depression. How do you know if it's 'right' to do the teacher training or not? I've signed up for it...but now it's making me more anxious and unsure...should I stick it out or should I just take the time to experience yoga for myself and learn more/appreciate it for what it gives me. I'm not even sure if teaching is the route I'd want to go anyways...more of a personal discovery thing I guess.

I started to do yoga after I got sober 11 years ago.
I started to try new things in my sobriety and discovered that there was a whole world I had been missing.
The foundation of AA is prayer and meditation and a conscious contact with a higher power and through yoga, I discovered how to really tap into that side of recovery.
I think there is a very close link between 12 step work and the yoga way of life.
An added benefit was an extra 20-30 yards off the tee, and now my friends who made fun of me for years, are now starting to try yoga.
Hey, whatever gets them there.
It has changed my life.

I do yoga to de-stress... especially after a 12-hour day of physical, mental, and emotional humdrum. Yoga grounds me, makes me realizes there's more to life than work, and yoga has kept me sane. i have just started to do yoga again after a few years "wasting away."

True, once you start yoga, it sticks to you like glue!

Wow, what a great post! Some of these comments are so inspiring and passionate that I get shivers just reading and reflecting on them. I started yoga as a way of destressing, not knowing (or believing) what it may lead to... I don't even know what stress is anymore. I have rediscovered myself in a way i never imagined and am journeying inwards to connect with my true self. It is such a wonderful and satisfying journey.

Yoga has changed my life. My life has become yoga. Life is yoga.


In my youth I did a lot of weight lifting, bodybuilding if you will. I spent a huge amount of time in the gym, eating all the time and in the end I felt......well heavy and slow. One day I realized I didn't need all those muscles so I stopped with the weights but then searched for a couple of years to find an exercise that not only had tangible, physical results but also the elusive spiritual side as well, you know that feeling when the workout is complete and your whole being is rejuvenated.
I began to do Yoga two years ago, five days a week, with one of those days being a more dynamic Yoga routine. What I have found is the perfect blend of strength, flexibility and peace. With far less time required out of an already busy day. Who said men can't do Yoga.

I think it is a yoga meditation thing...Mind and body... Where the mind goes, the body follows so I think yoga brings these 2 aspects into balance perfectly with one another. However, it is not the only thing that does this. Far Eastern martial arts practices have also done this for centuries. For example, the beginning stages of Ninjutsu in Japan focus mainly on physical, but the advanced stages begin to focus much more on the mind. It takes many years to perfect this and is still never perfected even after a lifetime. I find this extremely intriguing and similar to yoga in this way and that's why I like it.

Oh, so many reasons .... initially, to get in shape, feel good and ease depression. Now, it is sooo much more. As a mom of two, I really look forward to my practice as "me time" and it helps me be a better, calmer, more centered mommy!

I started yoga because I felt like something was missing and that I needed to balance. I do it not as much for the physical practice as I do for the spiritual. Yoga has helped me feel better about myself inside and out and I want that to continue. At some point I hope that I can even go through teacher training. So I can help others like myself heal their body and mind.

My reasons for rolling out my mat differ from day to day. Some days I feel more athletic and want to focus on the body and maintaining strength and flexibility, on other days I want to honor the way that more gentle poses makes my body feel. Then there are times when I don't practice asana at all for about a week. When I come back to the practice my asanas feel even better than if I had been practicing all along. Different days/weeks bring different reasons for practicing or not practicing.

I am doing yoga for three weeks and I found it really helpful to alleviate stress and anxiety....really yoga is a great thing....

I practice yoga to give myself some silence time inside modern day to day life. I also practice meditation, wich is kinda similar, just to be in the moment and clear all thoughts and concerns. To be aware of the presence and recharge. There really isn't anything crazy about it, only to those who think it. New science is proving all yoga practices and meditations to be really benifitial to the self, but also to the environment around you directly.

i concerned,,,,i specially do yoga for my mind set,i.e,,,,positive attitude, Crazy through out day......and also fitting my body well.....
In addition to that,,,i feel very happy to do yoga regularly...
Detail information provided in ur site,,
Kiran Reddy...

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