The Benefits Of Yoga
I’ll admit, before I knew much about yoga I assumed it was a boring, slow class where you barely worked up a sweat.
After giving it a go for myself, I quickly realized that it was not boring, it was not slow, it left me DRIPPING in sweat, I was unable to do most of the moves, it challenged my mind AND I thoroughly enjoyed it.
Then for a while, I thought yoga was simply the physical poses (asanas) and nothing more.
I was wrong.
Throughout my yoga journey, I have uncovered (and will continue to uncover!) the many benefits of yoga to the body, mind and soul. Yoga is so much more than just the physical practice. There is more to it than being able to put your foot behind your head or sit in one place for hours on end.
Yoga is a way of life.
Yoga is the way we think, move, eat, breathe, speak, act and live.
In order to better convey my point, I’ve written a little list of just SOME of the benefits yoga can provide you. Some are probably obvious, and some might be a little more surprising!
Yoga can help build strength and stamina (mental and physical)
Some of the poses require strength of the body, and others require strength of the mind. Some require both. Throughout your continuing practice, you may find your ability to hold poses for longer periods of time actually increases, and mentally it becomes more comfortable to hold poses also.
Yoga can help improve posture
Moving through a yoga class, we twist, bend and fold our bodies in all sorts of ways! In doing so, we are unknowingly readjusting and realigning our own skeletal system.
Yoga may help protect your spine
Our spines are remarkable things. They are designed to bend in all kinds of directions. We have an array of movement possibilities when it comes to our spines, and not just simple back and forth. We are meant to utilise this ability. By moving our spines in every way, every day (or as often as possible) we can strengthen the muscles that surround and protect it, as well as keeping it well-lubricated with movement and motion. This may help to keep your spine free from stiffness, soreness and disease.
Yoga can be useful for calming the mind
The mind might be one of the last things we think can benefit from yoga, and that’s because we overlook and disregard it subconsciously. You see, even if you’re unaware that you are challenging, strengthening and disciplining the mind, it doesn’t change the fact that you are. Single-pointed focus is encouraged and nurtured throughout a yoga class, which can help us to become present in the moment and calm the mind.
Yoga may be helpful for soothing the soul
For some people, walking out of a good yoga class can feel similar to walking out of a full-day spa treatment! You can feel like your insides are smiling and joy is seeping from every inch of your being!
Yoga can help to activate your parasympathetic nervous system
The combination of a quiet mind, slow and controlled breathing and the flow of movements used in yoga can help to activate our parasympathetic nervous system without us knowing. This helps us to achieve a more relaxed state of being. In this state, we are able to rest, digest and recover. It is the OPPOSITE of the ‘fight or flight’ response. And it is the state in which our bodies perform best.
Yoga can help fight stress and anxiety
I’m sure there are so many reasons for this, but you should simply try it and feel it for yourself! Yoga can help remove the stress and chaos of our everyday lives and bring our focus and awareness to the present moment. It puts our realities into perspective and from here we can successfully start stripping away unwanted clutter and stress. Eventually it becomes a habit. I get onto my mat and my troubles feel as if they instantly melt away. Activating the parasympathetic nervous system AND releasing endorphins can do that for you!
Practising yoga can promote productivity
Doing yoga is a way of giving yourself (body, mind and soul) a reward. Most people see working out as hard and challenging, but yoga is like a treat! It’s YOU time. And giving yourself this time, is one way of stimulating your mind’s reward system. Therefore, doing good feels good and that is why we often leave a class feeling light, happy and capable. It is human behavior to associate that feeling of elation with the act of doing something good for ourselves. Training ourselves to associate doing good with FEELING good can help encourage more of this kind of behavior and productivity.
Yoga helps to raise self-esteem and self-confidence
Like I said, doing good FEELS good. Both internally and externally. This can help us to feel better about ourselves, increasing our confidence and our sense of self-esteem! Yay!
Yoga encourages self-awareness and growth
They say ‘yoga is a journey by the self, with the self and to the self’. I have found yoga to be a means of endless growth and discovery! To me, I don’t just practice yoga, I live yoga!
Yoga increases circulation
Moving your body gets the blood pumping. Moving your body AND intentionally controlling the breath is a way of getting your circulatory system and your respiratory system to work harmoniously, enhancing your overall awesomeness.
Yoga may help regulate your adrenal glands
Your adrenal glands are responsible for releasing hormones and regulating your metabolism. So attaining and maintaining balance of your adrenal glands seems like a pretty good way to live a little lighter and a little less stressed! Hooray!
Yoga can help you to focus
By encouraging you to block out all things irrelevant and unnecessary as you practice, you may find you’re able to better focus your mind and thoughts.
Yoga improves balance
Practice doesn’t make perfection, but it DOES make progress. With commitment, determination and patience, your balance can improve! Balance of both the body AND of the mind!
Yoga can help build muscle
Yoga definitely helps to build muscle. The common muscles, sure. But also lots of little muscles that you may not have known even existed!
Yoga may improve sleep quality
Numerous studies show that yoga has a positive effect on your sleep quality AND quantity.
Yoga can help to improve flexibility
This won’t happen overnight, but with patience and persistence, you may find yourself slowly creeping closer to your flexibility goals.
Yoga can help provide some protection from injury
Yoga is a wonderful calm counterbalance to other more intense and strenuous workouts you may engage in. Each yoga posture can help to strengthen the joints and stretch the muscles — minimising the likelihood of pulls or strains. Holding yoga poses for longer periods of time (75+ seconds) also has the ability to help restore and rebuild connective tissue.
Yoga can help you to feel an increase in energy
Although it sounds strange that USING energy can actually provide you with MORE energy, in the case of yoga, it does. You’ll have to feel it to believe it though!
Yoga may help increase immunity
Yoga is a great (and natural!) way for you to keep your body and mind functioning in top health!
So in summation, yoga can practically benefit anyone with a pulse. Just sayin’.
Maybe you’ve never tried yoga for yourself. Maybe you’re intimidated by it, or simply don’t think you’ll enjoy it. But I promise you, if you dismiss it instantly, you may never know what incredibly benefits you could be missing out on!
Love and light,
* Results from BAM may vary. Strict adherence to the program is required for best results.