Yoga- a 5,000 year old discipline discovered in India. It has been one of the most popular forms of exercise and lifestyle since the 1930’s. People do yoga for many different reasons, here are 7 of them:
1.Muscle toning.You wouldn’t believe that such a slow-moving, relaxing yoga sequence can actually really tone your muscles. There are such yoga styles that mostly require strength, Ashtanga yoga for example; and the asanas included are such that get you sweaty and sometimes even out of breath, but that’s why there is always an ending meditation, where all the muscles get to fully relax. Most of the poses in yoga include working on abdominal muscles, back and arm muscles, and sometimes leg muscles. This all depends on what the sequence the instructor uses. If you are feeling tired after a stressful day at work you may easily ask your instructor to make a more relaxing class, without breaking a sweat. So don’t be shy to speak up at your next class!
2.Flexibility!Flexibility in yoga is probably one of the most important requirements- with proper yoga practice I can assure you can increase your flexibility by like 10 times, which is not bad at all considering that flexibility is crucial for the physical body. Flexibility is primarily due to one’s genetics, gender, age, body shape and level of physical activity. As people grow older, they tend to lose flexibility, usually as a result of inactivity, but partially because of the aging process itself. The less active you are, the less flexible you are likely to be. So get your elastic bands and stretch out in every class as much as you can!
3.HEALTHDoing yoga, I have realized that I have been feeling much more energized in my everyday life. I am breathing slower, longer and softer, I don’t get as tired as I used to get, and most of all, I somehow enjoy every day of my life more! Our health is essential to be taken care of. By doing specific asanas in yoga, every one of them focuses on one part of our our body systems – including the circulatory, respiratory, digestive, and nervous system. In my next blog I will be talking about the different asanas and their benefits.
4.Increases concentrationWhen we do yoga, we are not only focusing on what our body is doing, but more importantly what our mind is leading us to do; so we are simultaneously working our mind, our consciousness and our body movements; this increases our concentration as we focus on our breath, our movements, the instructor’s voice and instructions.. put all of that together and you won’t believe that you are doing all those things in one, yet you still feel relaxed!
5.Reduces STRESS- depression,anxiety.Yoga can help soothe the mind and lower stress levels. It does this by focusing the mind on the moment and the movements. You will learn to BREATHE differently in yoga and you will learn to use that breath in everyday situations. The saying “take a deep breath” is much more than a saying as you come to understand how breath gives you the power to control your emotions in many situations, including moments of stress.
6.Improves your posture.If you do yoga and you didn’t realize this until now, go look at yourself in the mirror on the side, take a look at your posture. It’s not like it was before right? With yoga you will most certainly improve your posture, have a beautiful straight back. I used to always get told off by my closest friends to straighten my back, it looks ugly when I sit and have a ‘Quasimodo- like back’. After a few years of practicing yoga I didn’t even notice my back got straight until someone told me, ‘wow you have a nice posture.’
7.Last but not least, you are spending 60 minutes of your day with only YOURSELF.Now you may think this is selfish, but we all need a bit of alone time in our everyday life, correct me if I’m wrong. There may be other people in the class, the instructor talking.. the music playing.. but that’s all unnecessary cause in those 60 minutes you are literally focusing on ONLY yourself, your body, your mind, your breath. And if you think about it, we all need that at least once a day, and I think yoga is perfect for that. So take some time before your next yoga class to tell yourself a small affirmation – ‘today I will be practicing with myself, and only myself. And I am grateful for what my body and mind does for me.’