5 Reasons Yoga is My Soul Food

Meredith DeCosta
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In the South, we use food to comfort us. We sit around kitchen tables with family and friends for hours at a time eating familiar dishes and calling up past memories.

As I’ve evolved over the years, I’ve learned to rely less on casseroles, fried chicken, and biscuits – although those are sometimes tasty too – and more on yoga poses, breath work, and meditation. I’ve realized that yoga is MY soul food.
 
Here are five reasons yoga feeds my soul, and how it can feed yours too:

 

Yoga helps me relax.

In America, we go go go and do do do. I used to live in constant stress and anxiety. When a teacher called for a restorative pose, I pushed back wondering when we’d get up and get moving again. Thanks to years of practice, I show up to my mat and accept the body’s craving for stillness and quiet. Now I go to class for the savasana, not the crow pose.
 

Yoga shows me that life isn’t so serious.

I’ve fallen on my face in an arm balance once (or twice or a hundred times) during my time on the mat. I used to feel disappointed in myself when this happened, but my yoga practice has taught me that whether I master a pose or completely biff it, it’s never life or death. Yoga makes it okay for me to laugh at myself when I make mistakes, especially when I face plant in a pose!
 

 

Yoga helps me see the value in self-care.

Before I began yoga six years ago, I wouldn’t spend money on a massage or fancy organic food. It felt selfish to indulge and treat myself. Yoga’s therapeutic qualities have shown me that these things aren’t just nice to do; they are necessary for me to be the best person that I can be.
 

Yoga is my soul family.

I met my long-time boyfriend and partner though yoga. I clicked with one of my closest soul sisters over handstands. I’ve shared the deepest parts of my heart with strangers after a long meditation session. The yoga community is my soul family. We are a group yoked in a similar commitment to unity, awareness, and peace.
 

Yoga heals me from the inside out.

Challenging poses teach me to find steadiness and ease in stressful situations. Meditation pushes me to quiet the mind and eliminate physical and mental distractions. This work has healed my heart.
 
Soul food is like a warm, generous hug, wrapping us up and telling us that everything is going to be okay. Yoga nourishes me. Yoga is my soul food. I hope it can be yours too.
 

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A Thank You Note to My Yoga Mat
The yoga mat is what supports us during each of our poses. Our yoga mat is always ready to catch us when we fall out of a balancing pose.
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Meredith DeCosta

Meredith DeCosta, PhD, RYT is an academic by day, yogi for life. She is a university teacher, researcher, and writer. When she's not at the university, she is practicing or teaching yoga, specializing in vinyasa flow and power classes. Meredith playfully blends a deep knowledge of asana with an infectious energy that encourages her students to feel lighter and brighter. Join her tribe of positivity.

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