Yoga. Perhaps you’ve heard of it or even tried it…
But one thing is for sure…
Yoga is an incredibly popular form of exercise for the body AND mind.
Yoga is a well known and ancient practice that focuses on breathing, flexibility and strength – all of which work to boost our mental and physical wellbeing.
Yoga is said to have been around for over 5,000 years, originating in India. Although yoga began in religious and spiritual traditions, it quickly spread around the world eventually heading west in the 1800s and has been widely recognized ever since.
Now, fast forward to 2021. Yoga is incredibly popular all around the world for its health benefits and it’s diversity of practice!
It is used in all walks of life, including: schools, health clubs, spiritual and religious temples, and in the comfort of home. There is even yoga therapy, which is designed to help some individuals after surgery or if suffering from a chronic illness.
No matter how you practice yoga, there is no denying the benefits that can come with it.
Have you ever tried a downward dog? Sure – it looks easy enough – but holding that position for longer than 2 minutes can be quite the workout!
But yoga goes above just helping our bodies… It helps us mentally and spiritually as well.
So for those of you already practicing yoga or just dipping your toes into the idea of trying it, here is some great information for you.
If you were on the fence about trying it before… the benefits may sway you to grab a yoga mat and feel the benefits for yourself!
One of the main attractions of yoga is how relaxed you are likely to feel after it.
When we feel stressed, our tension is stored in our body making it feel tight and even causing pain.
Yoga incorporates a lot of stretching, which works to release tension from high problem areas like our hips, shoulders, and lower back.
Yoga also uses a lot of different breathing techniques which allows you to focus on your breathing, and focus less on what may be troubling you. It also allows you to become more aware of your breathing which is useful for everyday life, especially in a stressful situation. By learning to focus deeply on each inhale and exhale to the exclusion of negative thoughts, this allows you to clear the mind (not just during yoga, but even everyday life).
In many yoga classes, the session will end with 1 particular pose:
The Corpse Pose (Savasana)
This pose has you lie down with your limbs gently stretched out, away from the body, with your palms facing up. The goal is to try to clear your mind while breathing deeply, while holding this pose for 5-15 minutes.
I find this pose particularly great for clearing my mind. And since I have to hold it for 5 minutes or more, I am really focusing on the pose and my breathing. And within 1 minute, I am so entwined in the pose that every other thought I had melted away.
After practicing yoga, your body should feel more relaxed and your mind a little less empty. The racing thoughts should be pushed aside from the relaxation and you will likely have much more energy.
Now granted, the first time you do yoga you may not have more energy immediately as your body is adapting to the stretching and posing. In fact, you may be a bit sore the next day as you’re activating muscles you forgot existed! But once you get the hang of it, your body and mind will feel amazing!
Yoga can also improve your heart health by increasing your circulation and blood flow.
Yoga can also help lower blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood glucose levels, as well as the heart rate – all of which can add up to a lower risk of hypertension, stroke, and heart disease.
Another great benefit of yoga is that it is likely to improve your sleep as well.
When we exert energy and exercise, our bodies need rest.
The more we exert, the more rest we need and more tired we can become at the end of the day. In addition to that, the state of mindfulness that yoga provides can help increase melatonin levels and reduce nighttime sleep disturbances. The breathing awareness and regulation used for a relaxation technique during yoga can also work to induce a better sleep.
Yoga can also come with a lot of other great benefits for us.
If you are looking for an exercise regime that is tailored to body and mind, yoga is a great place to start!
And with the digital age we live in, there are so many options available to get started. Watch a tutorial online for some basics and see if it is right for you!
I LOVE yoga and all that it does for me! I hope it does the same for you!