Yoga is known to be great for improving range of motion, increasing bone density, improving concentration, decreasing stress and increasing muscular strength. However, there is more to yoga than the more obvious benefits.
Practicing yoga will help to build the relationship between you and yourself. Yoga is the process of becoming more aware.
Yoga practice involves breath manipulation, yoga poses, intention and ultimately meditation. As we move slowly with the intention on keeping the breath controlled and the heart-rate down, it doesn't take long before we start to witness physical and psychological habits.
First you begin to notice the more gross aspects of yourself. The ways you carry your body, where you hold tension and where you are weak. Certain poses might pose HUGE obstacles. The poses might be accompanied by resistance, anger, frustration and loads of mental dialogue. The longer you practice, the more you will begin to witness yourself outside of yourself. You will start to see where your mind goes. For instance, perhaps you are holding a pose and your mind starts to say something like: "gosh, I can't do this, or my knee or hip is bad," or you simply come out of the pose.
As you witness yourself as a third party spectator you will start to notice that your mind has patterns on the mat that are pervasive in other aspects of your life. For instance, your negative self dialogue in a pose, might also trickle into your work, social life or your home life. Most of our habits are unconscious. When we shine the light of awareness onto these hidden aspects, most of the time we are left with no other choice but to address them.
Awareness is a continuing process. You can practice for decades everyday and continue to build on your own relationship with yourself.
Extended time on your mat, ultimately will have lasting benefits on your psycho-physiological and spiritual well-being. You will begin to love yourself more fully and through the continued devotion to regular practice you might also find that poor food choices begin to fade, relationships that don't serve your greater good fall away and you experience present moment awareness MORE AND MORE.
Be kind to yourself. If you resist the practice of yoga, that is very normal. Devote more time to knowing the temple that is you.