If you’re debating on whether to start yoga or not, here’s just 5 awesome examples on why you should. There are no right or wrong reasons to start yoga, but so long as your motivation keeps you showing up then you’re onto a good one. Here’s some that’ll have you laying on your mat rather than your sofa.
1. The physical benefits
There are of course obvious, visible physical benefits you can gain from a regular yoga practise - weight loss, muscle definition, improved posture, strength and flexibility.
Other, more therapeutic benefits include, calming the nervous system, improving digestion, lowing blood pressure and tapping into our parasympathetic nervous system (aka. Rest & Digest). When our body enters this state our internal organs work at their optimum, digestion is improved, blood pressure drops and we conserve energy. This is great for maintaining a healthy balance in our body’s systems.
Yoga can also help ease pain and discomfort from chronic conditions such as arthritis, back pain, sciatica and asthma, just to name a few.
2. Learn how to breathe
Throughout the majority of our life we barely ever notice our breath, whereas in yoga the breath is the main focus. We learn how to breathe fully, nourishing our body with vital oxygen, whilst also learning how to direct our breath, use it to calm our mind and get deeper into stretches.
When we’re stressed or anxious it’s common for us to take faster, shallower breaths. By extending our inhalations and exhalations, breathing in and out of the nose we physically calm our nervous system and send a message to the mind that we’re okay. Yoga promotes breathing through the nose, as it filters and warms the air before entering our lungs. Proper breathing is useful in deep stretches too, use the inhale to create the space and a long, slow exhale to move deeper into the stretch.
3. Benefits for the mind
When practising yoga, we leave whatever kind of day we’ve had off the mat and allow ourselves to bring our full attention to the present moment. Modern life can sometimes feel like we’re juggling 101 plates, but through our yoga practise we learn that we can gently place everything down and allow ourselves time to experience ‘The Now’. This can be incredibly stress relieving and as we practise this more, our mind becomes stronger and we develop increased focus, patience, and self-awareness. This is a very powerful part of yoga and can help with feelings of depression, anxiety and insomnia.
4. A sense of self acceptance
Yoga is celebration of the body and mind. Contrary to what we might see on social media, yoga is not about perfectly aligned poses and crazy gymnastics, it’s about loving the body you’re in and listening to what it needs. Flowing through a yoga practice and easing into postures helps you to get to know your anatomy (Is your left hip tighter than your right? Are your hamstrings not as tight as you maybe thought?) It’s also an opportunity to see how you talk to yourself, (when you fall out of a balance do you get frustrated? Are you annoyed because you can’t touch your toes?) Through our yoga practise we learn that when we turn up to the mat perfect, there is no competition, just a growing and learning journey. When we learn how to accept ourselves just the way we are, that’s when the real transformation happens.
5. True relaxation
We all like to relax in different ways, whether that’s reading, cooking, watching the TV or having a glass of wine; and these are all valid types of relaxation. However, when was the last time the you thought about absolutely nothing and gave your mind a break…. The final posture of a yoga class is Savasana (aka. Corpse pose), this is where we lie on the mat in a comfortable position and practise stillness of both body and mind, this is often THE most difficult pose, as we all have that internal conversation going on in our mind. You see, when we read or watch TV we are still taking in images and sounds which our brain has to process, but by practising Corpse Pose, we allow our mind to take some real time off and a chance to find space within us for stillness and calm.
You can start a yoga practise with me for FREE on YouTube by clicking HERE. Also look out for my new online courses coming soon! I’d love to hear why you practise yoga, or if any of the above has given you some inspiration to start a regular yoga practise?