If you are a yogi, you probably don’t need anyone to tell you that consistent practice helps
us connect our physical body with our mental, emotional, and spiritual selves. You’ve experienced it - enter the popular quote, “yoga is 99% practice and 1% theory” given to us by K. Pattabhi Jois. Our practice is experiential. Our mats are our lab. We learn every time we intentionally move, breathe, chant, or meditate, and there are no words that will ever be able to completely describe what that consistent practice brings to our lives.
But have you ever tried to explain those benefits, the transformation that happens, the stress-reduction you experience, to someone who has never practiced yoga? You can’t tell me you’ve never seen that blank stare back, or felt that tinge of disbelief, or heard the response that they understand because they work out too. So, there we are, knowing the immense transformational benefits of a practice, but unable to communicate it accurately because, well, like I said before, so much of it is honestly beyond words and only available through experience.
So for just a moment let's talk science - how we can logically show that yoga connects and heals. It connects the systems in our body for improved functioning. It connects our body, mind, emotions and spirit. It allows us the space to become aware of all of these aspects and intentionally utilize our energy to support them as needed at any given moment. While, as a yogi, I do not believe that science can explain it all (I still believe there are mechanisms at work that we cannot quantify and extrapolate), there have been several studies and writings in recent years regarding the vagus nerve, its tone, and the resulting changes from increasing its tone through yoga.