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What is yoga? By Hope Zvara, Mother Trucker Yoga®

A question that a few years ago could have been more easily answered. But in todays modern western world one that is a bit more complicated to answer.

Many equate yoga to stretching, or even impossible poses followed by sitting still and meditating (what is that exactly?).

And for some, that is true. But yoga really is way more than physically stretching or mastering the impossible pose. It’s about stretching ones’ self beyond their current situation and striving to master the quest to get to know ones’ self.

Deep right?

In a world that thrives on compartmentalizing everything from school children to medical care, from diets to fitness, yoga is all-encompassing. And that may be the very reason why many struggle to understand it or choose to extract only parts from such a well-rounded practice.

So, what is yoga really?

I often explain it to my students that yoga is a lifestyle, a way to approach life and everything in it. And the part of yoga we are most familiar with is only ONE aspect of such a huge life application. Which is why I believe many thrive to pick it apart and twist it around.

Asana (pronounced ah-sa-na), better known as poses, are the physical exercises performed on the rectangular thing called a yoga mat. Extract asana from yoga and you have physical fitness. Which in today’s western world is what many equate to yoga.

I believe that how you practice yoga is a mini incubator for how you live your everyday life.

Timid, forceful, aggressive, unsure, rough, questioning, full of comparison, anxiety, fear, joy, happiness, confusion. These feelings and then some are the exact feelings, emotions and attitudes you are experiencing in your everyday life. The only difference is now you are in a controlled setting with nowhere to run, unable to talk back, no cell phone to distract you, and you are now asked to sit with your feelings and…feel.

Yoga for me personally was a tool to help me overcome a life strangling eating disorder and develop tools to manage and overcome very high levels of anxiety. Everybody needs their own individual reasons for getting into yoga.

So, what is yoga to a trucker?

When the road is your home yoga can become that constant for you. Those few moments in your day where you feel centered, calm and relaxed. And because yoga can be done anytime, anywhere, yoga is perfect for a road warrior.

Still not sure?

Here are a few more amazing benefits to what yoga can offer you.

  1. Improves flexibility
  2. Strengthens muscles, conditioning us from arthritis and back pain
  3. Realigns the spine & help to distribute weight evenly
  4. Moves all 300 joints
  5. Helps to keep your spinal disks supple giving them the nutrients they need.
  6. Natural weight-bearing exercise, increasing bone density
  7. Gets your blood flowing, getting more O2 to your cells and helps boost hemoglobin & red blood cells.
  8. Increases the drainage of lymph, helping to destroy & fight cancerous cells
  9. Gets your heart rate up lowering the risk of heart disease
  10. Gets you breathing
  11. Lowers blood pressure
  12. Lowers cortisol levels, helping with long term memory, also fighting depression
  13. Helps to burn calories
  14. Gets you to become more conscious of your being: eating, social, presence
  15. Lowers blood sugar & LDL & boosts HDL (“good” cholesterol)
  16. Improves coordination, reaction time, memory and even IQ
  17. Helps you to relax, shifting from the sympathetic to the parasympathetic nervous system
  18. Increases body awareness
  19. Reduces chronic tension, muscle fatigue, soreness in the wrists, arms, shoulders, neck & face.
  20. Yoga becomes a way to cope with the business of life
  21. Improve immune function
  22. Helps to expand lung function and breathing capacity above the normal 18%
  23. Yoga & and meditation help to build awareness
  24. Helps to reduce anger and replaces it with compassion
  25. Builds good karma-Karma Yoga, service to others

Hope Zvara is the CEO of Mother Trucker Yoga, best-selling author, speaker, and lifelong yogi. Hope believes everyone deserves to “feel better, wherever” from yogis to truckers. Hope has helped change thousands of lives of the past 15 years, going beyond her experience in the fitness and wellness industry. Hope’s mission is to Help Others Purposefully Excel on and off the mat, in and out of the truck.
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