Inspirational Yoga: How Can Yoga Transform Your Life? | Helen Krag



What draws you to practise yoga? Is it the very act of being on the mat, in your body? Or the benefits that practising yoga brings? Maybe it’s both! 

In his book The Truth of Yoga, author Daniel Simpson suggests that by refining awareness of inner experience, yoga is both a method and its outcome. His reference is the sage Patanjali:  

“Yoga is to be known by yoga, and yoga itself leads to yoga.  

He who remains steadfast in yoga always delights in it”. 

Commentary accompanying Yoga Sutra 3.6 


In traditional texts, yoga outcomes were very different to those we aspire to today. For early yogis, the backdrop was one of world-renunciation as they occupied themselves with trying to break the cycle of worldly entrapment and liberate themselves from rebirth.  

Whilst there is much to be learned from traditional texts, escaping rebirth and withdrawing from life are, for most of us in the Western world today, alien concepts! Modern yoga outcomes are more likely to be linked to wellbeing or healing. For many of us, the practice of yoga can help us replace old habits with healthier alternatives. 

In this article we take a practical approach to how inspirational yoga can lead to transformation.  

It is common for us to talk about ‘yoga off the mat’ as a reflection of how yoga and our practice influence our lives more holistically. With this context in mind, let’s start with some clarity about our outcomes. Do you know what yours are?

Here are some examples: 

  • Become stronger.  
  • Have more patience with ourselves and others. 
  • Be flexible in mind as well as in body. 
  • Practice acceptance for who we are and what we have.  
  • Avoid stress (notice how this outcome is defined in terms of a ‘problem’ state rather than a ‘desired’ state). How would you rephrase that to say what you want, instead of what you don’t? 

In his delightful book, Yoga: The Spirit and Practice of Moving into Stillness, Erich Schiffmann talks about ‘moving into stillness in order to experience our true nature’. This in turn leads to a change in the way we evaluate ourselves and the way we anticipate and imagine our future. 

“The future will look bright. You will spontaneously become optimistic about the future wellbeing of yourself and humanity and everything associated with the earth, sky and universe: Creation” 

Erich Schiffmann 

I don’t share these words lightly. In the context of what is going on in the world today, this may sound like a very lofty, and even empty, promise.  

And yet, our ‘inner world’ remains one of the few things we alone can influence. If our yoga practice – asana, pranayama, meditation – can shine a light on what is going on inside for us, then that’s a great start. When we discover how to take that learning off the mat and into our day-to-day lives, we can begin to effect tangible change. 


Change is unique for each of us. I talked to a few yoga practitioners and teachers to understand how yoga inspires them in their everyday lives.

Let’s hear some of their stories: 


Alex observes how her self-awareness grows by moving her body.

Her yoga practice represents a microcosm of her life, and she gains insights into her internal ‘stuff.’

She describes herself as her own ‘lab rat!’ For example, if Alex is feeling ‘stuck’ somewhere in the body, how does that translate into mental ‘stuck-ness’ off the mat? If she feels particularly flexible in a pose, she may become curious about how thinking and moving flexibly is serving her off the mat.  

Learn to tune into your body with Lizzie Reumont and this Tutorial: Intelligent Body


Raj makes connections between yoga and how he conducts himself at work.

He recognises that each time he shows up on his mat (or at his desk) it’s a new experience and he is a new person.

One day he may have 40% of his ‘normal’ energy. When he puts all of that into his practice (or his work) then for today that is his 100%, and he has learned to accept this.

Yoga has taught Raj to be kinder to himself, to listen to his body and mind, and to know his limits that day.  

Love Your Body: Affirmations, Breath and Flow with Gabriella Espinosa reminds us to be kind to ourselves in body and mind. 


Monica finds that yoga can help her slow her ‘busy brain’.

She has a habit of being stuck in her mind, and yoga helps her reconnect with herself bodily and spiritually. Monica is appreciative of the different approaches of the teachers who help her achieve this.  

For example: 

A class that focuses on physical alignment, such as this Jivamukti class with Lizzie Reumont, can improve proprioception and demonstrate how to use the body in an integrated way. 

The practice of chanting, such as Get to the Heart of Yoga with Naomi Absalom, can release some of the ‘charge’ to the nervous system and unblock energy channels. 

A Restorative Sequence, such as this one with Jean Hall, facilitates deep relaxation. 


Judy draws inspiration from teachers who meet her where she is in her life.

As a woman in her mid-life, she is interested in yoga that promotes slowing down and contemplation, seeking to learn from the wisdom of her teachers.  

Menopause Yoga: Finding Ease with Petra Coveney encourages us to slow down and rest our bodies. 


As an antidote to the busyness of life, Lucy comes to her mat to experience what a regulated nervous system feels like. It reminds her how she wants to ‘walk through her day’. 

This gentle Hatha class with Lucy will help you ease into your day. 


To further illustrate how inspirational yoga has the potential to influence life off the mat, here are some practices to cultivate desirable qualities.  

The 6 ‘Pāramitas’, or ‘perfections’ (translation from the Sanskrit), are core qualities in Buddhism:   

  • Generosity 
  • Discipline 
  • Enthusiasm 
  • Patience 
  • Meditation 
  • Wisdom 

Adam Hocke explores the six in this article and shares classes that help us to embody them.   

For example, try this Slow Flow for Generosity. How can you bring this intention into your embodied practice? 

Explore how much you should push and when you should hold back in this Slow Flow for Discipline class.

Where does the energy for practice come from? Find out in this Flow for Enthusiasm class.

In Slow Flow for Patience, discover how to sit with restlessness and emotional reactivity in your body and mind.

Work with the concept of meditation in movement in Slow Flow for Meditation.

Experience how wisdom can lead you to decrease your suffering in Slow Flow for Wisdom.


For a 30-day transformative journey through yoga, dive into this Transformation course with Zephyr Wildman. Zephyr invites us to bring something a little deeper to our ‘on the mat’ experience that we can then take into our lives. 

Recommended for anyone who knows there is a brighter ‘self’ inside of them just bursting to get out, and who wants to understand how yoga can inspire this. You will be challenged to look at unresourceful habits and emotions through a different lens and garner techniques to enable you to make changes that will serve you better. 


“The only constant in life is change. Life is continually transforming and evolving.” 

Kat Farrants, founder, Movement for Modern Life 

Kat tells the compelling story of her personal transformation from ‘bendy yogi’ into one who now embraces a more rounded yoga practice to help her experience life’s joys and challenges.  

Transformation is a unique experience for each of us. The change in Kat’s life was precipitated by a nasty car accident, and thankfully it doesn’t have to be a tragic event that kickstarts us into action. We can choose to begin where we are right now. Whatever we are facing, it is by placing attention on our inner world that we start to make shifts.   

Transformational change doesn’t happen overnight. It takes place step-by-step with commitment to a regular practice. Inspirational yoga provides us with the tools.   

Author: Helen Krag. Helen is a health and wellness enthusiast; observer of human behavioural change; yoga teacher trainee; passionate traveller; and lover of the outdoors.


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