Fitness Magazine

Take Your Time: Results from Yoga Practice

By Ninazolotow @Yoga4HealthyAge
by Nina

Take Your Time: Results from Yoga Practice

Horses Grazing by Brad Gibson

It's a running joke in our family that when Brad gets impatient with me—because I often do various household tasks a bit slower than he does—he says to me, "Take your time!" He swears that Bill Murray said this repeatedly in the movie Caddy Shack, but when we watched it again recently, no one actually ever uttered that line. Regardless, I always reply, "You take your time."
But many worthwhile things really do take time. For example, if you want to cook a really good meal instead of eating fast food, you need to shop for fresh ingredients and prepare everything from scratch. And if you want to turn a new acquaintance into a close friend, you need to spend a lot of time together, getting to know and trust each other. The same is true for seeing results from yoga practice. Obviously, one Downward-Facing Dog pose doesn't instantly make your arms stronger, though with regular practice, it definitely will increase your strength. And it also seems obvious that if you want to reduce your stress levels, you'll need to practice stress management regularly over a period of time.
So it was very interesting for me to hear about a recent study at the Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University, that looked at the effect of exercise on insomnia. One of the findings as reported by Gretchen Reynolds in the New York Times post How Exercise Can Help Us Sleep Better was:

"After the first two months of their exercise program, the exercising volunteers (all of them women) were sleeping no better than at the start of the study. Only after four months of the program had their insomnia improved."

Yes, it took four whole months of regular exercising to bring improvements. That's quite a bit of time, don't you think? The women in this study were not practicing yoga for exercise, but it's likely that using yoga as a form of exercise to help with insomnia (something I definitely recommend) might take a similar amount of time. And it also makes sense to me that if you are practicing yoga for insomnia (see Yoga for Insomnia, Part 1) by using stress management techniques, you should also give that some time (though some people report that doing breath practices in the middle of the night produces immediate results). So be patient.
In general, the time you invest in your yoga practice—whether you are practicing for your physical health, your emotional health or both—is what brings the payoffs. After all, yoga sutra 1.14 tells us that equanimity is attained only through steady, dedicated, attentive practice:
Long, uninterrupted, alert practice is the firm foundation for restraining the fluctuations of the mind. —trans. by B.K.S. Iyengar

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