This is a question I revisit every now and then. My answer may change each time I contemplate the question depending on where I am in life at that moment.
There are many reasons we may be drawn to our first yoga practice – from wanting to touch one’s toes again, improving balance, relieving chronic pain, improving strength, and stress relief, to name a few. Whatever the reason, we are all looking to initiate some sort of change in ourselves.
If you continued with yoga practice beyond the first few classes, over time you probably noticed more ease of movement, an improved steadiness in body, better posture, freeing of ‘tech neck’, improved breath awareness, feeling better in your body, and feeling better mentally. Though yoga is not a cure-all, a yoga practice can do all of these things, and there are some significant studies that have been done showing some very positive results of a steady yoga practice for specific types of issues. What I love about yoga is that it does do a lot of what we come to yoga hoping it will do. You generally leave yoga class feeling better than when you left or perhaps having learned something about yourself. We all want and need different things from our practice. You may only want a good stretch from yoga or a lovely savasana to de-stress and may never need to go beyond that. Or you may continue delving into the subtler essences of yoga – lines of energy, soma, prana, vayus, mantra, meditation, philosophy, etc. Either way – it is your yoga, your Truth. There is a practice for you.
What I have come to understand so far in my yoga practice and study, is that it is a practice of self-awareness – progressively learning to tune into the subtler levels of awareness. Listening with the inner ear and seeing with the inner eye. Tuning in with beginner mind.