Yoga will not change the world.

Going to a yoga class every week will not change the world. Practicing yoga every day won’t change the world. I don’t believe in the spiritual aspects of yoga (whatever those may be) and I don’t think that people who practice that aspect of yoga will change the world either.

However, I do think practicing yoga every day or every week can create personal change. It can make your body fitter and your mind calmer. It can get you centered and focused. All these things can make you a happier person to deal with out in the world around you.

But the key ingredient in that change isn’t yoga. It’s discipline. Discipline changes lives and it can change the world. Dedication and commitment can go along with discipline. Discipline isn’t even specific to yoga. Any person who dedicates themselves to regular activity that improves their body and mind will reap the benefits of discipline. Here are a few benefits.

If you run every day or swim every day, you’ll be happier, calmer, and healthier. If you play a team sport (as opposed to individual nature of yoga, running, or swimming), you’ll certainly change the world around you as your behavior towards others has a direct outcome.

We need to stop attributing magical benefits to doing yoga that can actually result from any dedicated practice. All of the existential lessons one might learn from yoga (that you have to be kind to yourself, that everyone has an off day, that practice makes better, that being connected to your body will help you take care of it better) can be learned through many physical practices. Yoga is one of many avenues you can take to knowing yourself on a deeper level.

With all that said, dedicating yourself to something you gain great personal benefits from (maybe it’s yoga, maybe it’s something else) is important and beneficial to the world around you. So do it. Dedicate yourself to something and then be disciplined and stick to it.

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