Yoga shifts me back to thoughts of love.

“What keeps me coming back to my mat?” is a question I ask myself every time I practice.

My thought process goes something similar to this: “What is it about yoga and these poses that has me so hooked?”

Seconds after posing this question, it seems ridiculous or unimportant and then I think to myself “How do people not practice yoga?”

It’s true, yoga has become a way of life for me. It’s given me many tools—and I am often perplexed by how people know how to be kind, grateful and love-filled without all the powerful teachings of yoga.

Lately, this banter has turned up the volume and I have found myself dumbfounded with how much I love yoga and this yearning feeling to know why.

Yoga seems to have such a grip on my heart and I am always thirsty for more, whether it is asana, pranayama, meditation or the Sutras, I can’t seem to get enough.

In class, I listen closely to the words of the teachers whom inspire me, as if everything is a juicy secret whispered quietly…if I don’t listen closely l might miss it.

For the first time, in quite some time, I am not in a romantic relationship.

That being said, this year, my romantic relationship has been with my yoga practice. It has been the most auspicious time in my life to dedicate myself to my practice. I’m forced into a place in my life where I must grow, but all my feelings of love are solely directed back to myself.

Being that I am somebody who puts my “all” into relationships, I am trying to have that same magnitude of loving energy that I typically share with another being, poured back into myself.

What I have been trying to do lately, in my mind, is similar to what I have done in my past relationships: I try and come up with precise reasons as to why I am in love with that person. If I was going to put on the spot and I had to have the words ready—I have convinced myself I better have some good reasons as to why yoga is so important if I am going to let it take precedent in my life.

After almost a year of prioritizing my relationship with yoga, I believe I am closer to answering my own question of what brings me back to my mat: I return to my mat because yoga shifts me back to thoughts of love.

For me, my physical practice and all forms of my yoga practice, the purpose always boils down to, generating more love within myself.

In a recent workshop, I had a revelation during my practice; if I continue to shift my thoughts back to love to generate love, it will become a habit or a pattern. This is called a samskara in Sanskrit and inevitably, it will become true for me.

Samskaras can be patterns so engrained in us that they are etched on our heart and deep in our subconscious mind; so deep that they become our reality and what we believe really is true for us.

What I have realized is that there is no way for a transformation not to take place and no way for a shift not to occur within, if we are constantly bringing our thoughts back to love.

Trust me, this pattern of thinking thoughts of love will be etched deep into your soul and you will find yourself more loving.

At the start of this New Year, ask yourself what you want; what would the strongest and most confident you look like?

It should make you feel happy and excited to think about the outcome and the place you could be in within yourself if you were to really dig deep.

I encourage you to start the year off making your transformation your priority and see what incredible shifts can happen.