It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s…a yogi?
Everyone knows there are a ton of benefits to practicing yoga. But did you know you can also gain real(ish) super powers from a regular practice? Everything from mind control to healing powers to flying (you heard me) is attainable simply by rolling out your mat and showing up. So pull up your tights, fasten your cape, and check out these seven yogic super powers:
The wonderful thing about yoga is it strengthens literally every part of your body, and the only equipment you need is your body itself. A practice that incorporates a variety of poses will strengthen your muscles, joints and bones, while simultaneously building your confidence to try some of those poses that once felt out-of-reach. As a bonus you’ll help ward off ailments like osteoporosis and arthritis. As a second bonus you’ll become a badass, like Wonder Woman.
In Practice: Poses like Tree, Chair, Downward Dog, Plank and Warriors can all help build strength.
You may not stretch quite like Mister Fantastic, but yoga will help you gain flexibility, especially in areas of the body where stress and tension is held. Because strength and flexibility go hand-in-hand, an effective yoga practice should ideally include poses that both build and release your muscles. Remember that every body is different, so allow your goals to be customized to your body needs instead of simply trying to touch your toes.
In Practice: Improve flexibility with poses like Triangle, Child’s Pose, Pigeon, Big-Toe Pose, and Forward Bends. Yin practice as a whole is beneficial here.
Imagine soaring among the clouds, feeling light as a feather as you flip, twist and swirl in the air. Now come back down to your mat, because no, you can’t actually fly (womp womp). However, yoga can give you the power to feel weightless with the right combination of balance and strength. The key is to engage your core muscles and bandhas, which will naturally help you feel lighter on your limbs. Once that clicks, you’ll be side-kickin’ it with Superman in no time.
In Practice: Play with balance poses like Airplane, Dancer, Half Moon, Crow, or anything in the Aerial/Acro realm.
The mind is a fickle beast. On one hand we can worry ourselves sick with thoughts like “am I talking too much?”, “what if I have something in my teeth?”, “does this Barista think I’m weird?” But on the other hand we have the power to turn those thoughts into calm, positive ones through meditation and breathing exercises. These practices allow our minds to relax and focus on taking in the good stuff and expelling the stuff we don’t need. If the Hulk can do it, so can you.
In Practice: Utilizing Ujjayi breath, 3-part breath or breath counting while in seated or reclined meditation can help focus and relax the mind.
When we think about yoga, the first things that usually come to mind are the poses, the breath and meditation. Yet we often don’t consider our individual senses and how crucial they are to our practice. Our eyes become focused tractor beams while balancing; our feet pressed into the mat become roots in mountain pose; we learn to acknowledge and let go of what we hear outside of ourselves during Savasana. When we acquire these newfound Spidey-senses, the sky is the limit (unless you can fly, see #3 above).
In Practice: Tap into each of your senses with walking meditation, food meditation, Yoga Nidra, Sound Healing meditation or Alternate Nostril breathing
The Power of Healing
Can we pause for a moment and give a special shout out to all of those who have turned to yoga as part of their healing process? Whether you’re working to restore your mind, body or spirit, the healing power of yoga is undeniable. While we can’t regenerate parts of ourselves immediately like some superheroes (or lizards), we can get ourselves to a place of peace and comfort, and the power lies within that journey. The Marvel-ous strides we’re able to make within ourselves is how we inspire others to join us on their mats as well.
In Practice: Tailor your practice to your personal healing needs by including a combination of poses, breathwork and meditation
While we can’t truly live forever, we can live pretty damn long thanks to yoga. Several studies have shown that a regular yoga practice, combined with a healthy lifestyle, contributes to longevity. When we move, breathe and meditate, we nourish our minds and bodies and allow them to become stronger, lessening our chances of age-related ailments and diseases. We can’t escape our mortality, and those of us that know this tend to emanate gratitude. The greatest heroes live with real purpose, simply because they’re aware of their Kryptonite.
In Practice: Choose a style of yoga that speaks to you and that you can practice regularly with enjoyment, focusing on poses that feel good in your body. Meditate often. Take your yoga off your mat by connecting with others, giving back and adopting a healthy lifestyle. Then, live long and prosper.
With great power comes great responsibility to take care of ourselves, and a consistent, safe yoga practice is a great way to do that. You don’t have to be born a superhero to become one, you just have to tap into the physical and mental powers that already lie within you. Or get bitten by a radioactive spider (not recommended). So, Bad Yogis, what’s your super power?