Why I do yoga 142

Why I do yoga

After 20 years of practice, Juliet Lundholm still holds a love for yoga. Here, she explains why she still bothers to get on the mat at all – and it might not be the answer you're expecting

Reading time: 2 minutes

As I come to almost two decades of practicing, and over a decade of teaching, I have found myself reflecting on why, through the increasing noise and responsibilities of life, I am still waving the flag for yoga. I am still holding my mat like I’d hold the hand of a dear old friend; still, after all these years.

Sometimes I find myself simply wondering: why do I still bother? Well, there are so many reasons to practice yoga, from the numerous health benefits, the postural changes, the increase in flexibility and strength and because of its stress-relieving and mindfulness qualities. But they are not my reasons.

When I put all that aside, there is one answer to why I find myself, all these years later, still coming back to that little rectangular space in front of me, and it is this: whether in the moment we realise it or not, yoga shines a big, bright light on our internal state of being and on the way we choose to navigate ourselves through life.

In that moment, on that mat, we are quiet, we tune into ourselves and we see, perhaps for the first time, the way we habitually respond, the thoughts that spring up through the quiet, the internal commentary that usually gets stuck in the noisy subconscious and it all now feels blaringly loud and sometimes uncomfortable.

The truth is, how we are on the mat is ultimately how we are in our lives — only now we can see it. When we can see, when the light of awareness that yoga offers us illuminates all this, we have the choice to make changes, to choose new responses that serve us, or to build a better habitual pathway.

Yoga then becomes a training ground for life, a system to re-assess where we are, where we want to go and who we want to be…and then it provides a safe place where we can practice it before we use it in our world.

Over time, our new habits on the mat will become new habits off the mat and this is what propels me back time and time again. Yoga will not make you perfect in a day. In fact, it will never make you perfect. What it will do is give you the opportunity and power to choose how you want to show up in your life, and the space to practice all this with compassion, acceptance and kindness. This is why, as I walk the winding road of life, my yoga mat is still never far away. This is the reason I still bother.

Juliet Lundholm

Juliet teaches yoga from The Boutique Garden Studio as well as working with companies and celebrity clients across London.