In recent years, yoga has seen an impressive popularity gain in the country. In fact, it’s expected that by the end of 2020, over 55 million people in the U.S. will practice yoga in their day-to-day lives. Ten years ago, the number was only at 15 million. What has led to such a significant increase in interest?
The answer is in the work of Susan Foxley—a renowned life coach, yoga instructor, and TV personality, whose charisma and extensive knowledge about the world of yoga has inspired others to lean into the practice more themselves.
Many of us simply know yoga as a fitness and meditation practice, but Foxley defines it as something beyond that.
“Yoga really means yoke or union (…). It’s about taking care of your body temple, through good food, good thoughts, and [exercise],” says Foxley.
Foxley believes that a flexible body will create a flexible mind, and she emphasizes that this “allows us to wear life like a loose garment.” Adopting this lifestyle means being able to go with the flow—and it means shifting one’s focus from outward to inward, and taking care of our health in every aspect.
Foxley first became interested in this discipline when she was in college and her sister took her to a class. “[Back then] I was not in my body,” she recalls. “I was from the neck up rather than from the neck down. So when I finally did yoga, I said ‘Oh my Gosh! (…). I realized I was so cut off from my own body; I spent most of my time in my mind with my thoughts. It really helped me drop down into my heart, and reach an awareness of [my whole self].”
And the journey that began then has allowed her to achieve incredible things, such as having her own television show, and writing a few books.
In yoga, it’s most important that we feel fully connected in our bodies. But what does that mean exactly?
“[It’s] when the mind, body, and spirit are saying the same thing,” she responds. “When they are aligned. There is nothing worse than when your mind is telling you one thing, and your body is telling you another. “
Yoga helps to achieve that synchronicity. Through deep exercises, meditation, and positive thinking, you become self-aware of every part of your being. It helps you connect with your true self. And this effect is one of the primary reasons as to why so many Americans have started practicing yoga in recent times.
Foxley believes that although yoga has become really popular for superficial reasons, such as appearance and physicality, people have kept practicing it because they feel better and can visibly notice the positive changes in their lives.
She says that once people get on the mat, they realize how euphoric and blissful they feel—and how their worries and stress seem to melt away, along with any general body discomfort, such as neck or back pain.
Once you experience that, it’s hard to stay away.
Of course, there are many other fitness disciplines and workouts, so why should you choose yoga rather than something else?
“Yoga will give you a deeper connection with yourself than any other mindful movement,” Foxley emphasizes.
It’s important to note that there are many different types of yoga that have branched from the ancient disciplines, such as Vinyasa yoga, Hatha yoga, and Iyengar yoga, among others. This variety of options could make it difficult to know which one is best for you. So how can one choose?
“I think [it is important] to play and experiment with different yogas,” says Susan Foxley. “It’s kind of like when you go out to a restaurant. I recommend trying [all types of food] (…). There’s so many different types of yoga for each palette. And we all have a different palette. [Through that] you’ll see which one resonates the most with you.”
Experimentation is the perfect way to discover what yoga best suits you. And whichever type of yoga you do choose, it is sure to have a big impact on your life.
“Yoga is a beautiful form of self-love,” says Foxley. “It’s a personal gift you can give to yourself.”
Of course, like with everything else in this world, it’s important that one practices this discipline in a healthy way and with a healthy mindset.
“Yoga [should not] be a place to compete with other people,” warns Foxley. “There’s always going to be people more flexible than you or stronger than you. This is a lifelong practice, and we won’t get it perfect all the time. Just look to become imperfectly perfect to yourself.”
Do not push yourself more than necessary, especially to compete with others. Yoga is not about competition; it is about harmony and peace with yourself and your world.
“I love the prayer: ‘May all beings know love and peace. And may it begin with me,” says Foxley.
To purchase her books, book a coaching session, or to learn more information, visit www.susanfoxley.com.