As I was sitting in meditation the other day, after having practiced asana for a bit, this thought came to mind: The purpose of yoga is to live a happier, fuller, and more enlivened existence.

I wrote it down, looked at it for a bit, and contemplated it over the next few days.  I’d written it on the back of a piece of paper that I had handy when the words/thought came together.  A month or so passed, and I saw it again this morning, and it speaks to me still.

Like other physical activities, asana practice lifts my spirits.  But in addition, I learn about myself through practice in a way that specifically and directly improves my life; that improves my ability to stay calm when things go wacky, to really listen to myself and recognize patterns of thought and why they’re coming up, to balance my energy levels, calm anxieties, alleviate fatigue, and increase my feeling of connectedness to the world around me.

Obviously, these are just a few of the benefits of a well-rounded yoga practice that includes meditation, pranayama and the other limbs of yoga, but sort of summarizes why I practice yoga.