The answer to this is something that evolves over time, with one’s development, as the experiences and insight grows and changes. In the beginning I can’t say why I practiced other than I liked it. I remember saying to myself “this is the most intelligent form of exercise I have ever done”. It of course has evolved off of that line. Typically, “practice” in the beginning is more about recreation. Based on that alone the reasons would be more desire and emotion based. But there is an inherent power in the practices that takes us on a growth path. At some point we must meet that fully with our own consciousness. Then the experience deepens and the reasons evolve.
For many years now I spend anything from three to five hours a day engaged in yogic practices, even with the introduction of a family and fully functional business. It means early rising. There is an element of feeling good and healthy from it. Feeling stronger and clearer. But I am very aware that these are side effects. For the practice must stabilize at some stage and affect our behaviour at all times.
When I look at life I see two options. Either to participate in my own inner development, through awareness and practice, and allow grace to take over or to just get up and go on with the day, where the subtle law of gravity takes over. Go away for a year and leave your car in your driveway. No care or attention given to it. Come back and examine its state. It will have deteriorated no matter what. But if someone is to start the engine every few days and polish it it will work pretty similar to the level at when you left. It, however, is a mechanical device and can’t be changed in its current state. We on the other hand are conscious organic beings. When we work on ourselves we not only keep ourselves fresh but we grow.
The acknowledgement that life is full of ups and downs no matter who you are was key for me. The best thing I could do was work with myself, cultivate the focus within instead of wasting energy outwardly. I believe in my teacher and in yoga. I believe in the practice. It is at a point I feel inside and I understand what it is for. It is very private, personal, intimate. Just like any close relationship.
The further realisation that for anything to have impact it requires constant doing was also key for me. I practice daily as it is the agent of my growth, it uplifts me, it directly affects my behaviour, it intensifies the energy within, away from sensual drain and mere rushes of adrenaline, strengthens me beyond anything I have experienced, directly affecting how I handle each situation.
It is about my life, uplifted, than more intensity on the sense level. It is pure personal experience. Discover for yourself.