If It Weren't For Yoga …

Erica Rodefer Winters is well aware of the ways in which yoga has helped her—from putting an end to her junk-food habit to making her less fearful of judgement. How would your life be different without yoga?

If it weren't for yoga, I'd flip people off during rush hour traffic and use a lot more curse words. I'd probably weigh 200 pounds and/or have an eating disorder.

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Before my practice I'd sit on the couch, watch TV, and eat mass quantities of junk food. What's even scarier than that is that I was so embarrassed about my dirty little secret that I'd hide my stash and not let anyone else see me eat this way. I don't know why, but after just a few months of regular yoga practice I stopped crazing fatty foods and soft drinks and I naturally gravitated toward healthier choices. And after a few years, I learned to really own what I chose to put into my body—I'm proud to say that I enjoy the occasional cupcake or potato chip and I know I control it and stop before it becomes an unhealthy habit.

I'd like to think I would have found something different to put my energy toward that's equally uplifting and beneficial, but I can't think of anything that would come close.

I never would have had the courage to make big life changes. I would not have moved away from my hometown, experienced different cultures, or met hundreds of great friends.

I'd worry a lot more about what people think of me. What used to be a debilitating fear of judgment and/or failure is now a lot more manageable anxiety in the back of my mind. While it still exists, I'm able to put my fears aside and go for what I want more easily than I would have otherwise.

I'd be embarrassed when I fall down and shy away from getting up and trying again.

I'd be a lot less conscious of my own health and the health of the world. I'd be less compassionate toward other beings and more hardened to the struggles and situations of those around me.

I'd be quicker anger, quicker to judge, and quicker to give up. I'd also be a stressed-out basket case.

If it weren't for yoga, how would your life would be different?