Why? In the words of my teachers, "Yoga is a Liberation Discipline". We practice Yoga in order to liberate our True Selves from the ego, in order to become Free.
What is interesting to me, is that this type of Freedom is Freedom through Discipline. This is not the instant-gratification-or-your-money-back kind of freedom that we in the Western world might grasp at, that "do whatever you want, no consequences" kind of freedom where the individual desire of the customer (your ego) allows you to simply do whatever you want. The message here is that if you are a slave to your impulses, you are not free. If you feel obliged to conform / reform / reject / accept / buy / borrow / steal, then no matter how you justify it to yourself ("cause I'm worth it!"), you are not acting from a place of freedom.
On a physical level, how many of us are aware on a daily basis of what our bodies are doing? Do you control your body, or does it control you? For many people, Yoga provides a therapeutic form of liberation - freedom from pain, freedom from the physical restrictions imposed by a past injury or by an illness. Slowly but surely, yoga helps us move beyond our "I can't"'s. If you had asked me a few years ago if I could possibly one day stand on my hands, I would have told you: " I can't!" Now, I'm not so sure. Yoga makes everything possible.
Possibility is not instant. Possible is made reality through discipline, hard work and dedication. And in order for those to be real to you, you need commitment. Not the "I-will-go-on-a-diet-for-one-week" kind of commitment, but a real, true, heartfelt commitment to change the things in your life that are holding you back.
As with most things, the first steps are the hardest. Sure, we want to lose weight / quit smoking / stop swearing / quit that job / tell that person to treat you right / spend more time with the kids. But saying things and committing to them don't always go hand in hand. Things slip away, intentions remain intentions and not manifestations. Our ego intervenes, providing us with helpful excuses and justifications.
So as we approach the new moon this month, the Equinox, a time of balance and of re-balancing, take time to reflect: what would you like to be liberated from? What are you committed to? What steps have you already taken towards this freedom? What steps remain?
Make a commitment to transformation - make a commitment to be free. As the saying goes, Change Begins Now. ~Namaste.