15 Reasons to Do Yoga
Yoga. It’s a buzz word and has been for many years now. If you have been alive in the last 40 years at least, you have probably heard about yoga and depending on your age, you may have some opinions around the word Yoga.
Back in the day, when yoga first become more Westernized, around the 1930’s, it was seen as another way to stay fit. Which is all well and good because yoga does have great physical benefits. While Westerners seemed to be drawn to the physical aspect of yoga, it helped bring more Eastern spirituality to light as well.
Yoga asanas (postures) were used in order to prepare the body for meditations in which practitioners worked toward enlightenment. Enlightenment can mean many things depending on who you are talking to and how it’s interpreted. In modern day yoga, it seems to be a little more than preparing the body and meditation. It’s used as a way to calm the mind from daily stresses, reduce anxiety or maybe to get in touch with the inner self.
There are so many reasons why people practice yoga. Many are common reasons but you may find some benefits you aren’t aware of. Experienced yoga practitioners might benefit from being reminded of how great yoga is for humans (I needed a few reminders).
Improves Posture: Yoga helps stretch and strengthen the chest, shoulders and back muscles, which can improve posture. In many poses the core is engaged and strengthened leading to stronger abs which helps improve posture. Many people who practice yoga speak of having more confidence. More confidence usually leads to holding yourself higher when you move.
Strength Gains: Many yoga poses help develop better strength throughout the body. When you incorporate longer holds or core engaging and arm balancing poses and sometimes props, the body starts to use it’s own body weight to increase strength.
Improves Flexibility: The more you practice yoga the more the muscles start to gain more flexibility. By focusing on holding poses and moving from pose to pose, the body starts to adjust and the muscles start to lengthen. You may never be able to touch your toes but each yoga class and pose helps the muscles adapt and become more flexible.
Spirituality: Yoga is not necessarily about religion. In fact many people of various religions practice yoga. The idea is to become one with the universe. That could mean God or Budha or humans. Yoga makes room for ALL. Meaning anyone from any background and religion can practice and will benefit from yoga.
Stress Relief: At the beginning of many yoga classes breath observance and centering is encouraged. Noticing the breath and watching it as it moves throughout the body either in stillness or movement can help relax the mind. Movement has been proven to release stress therefore flow yoga classes help relieve tension by moving the body. Add the breath awareness and you will be in a zen state in no time!
Pain Relief : Many people experience pain on a daily basis. Because yoga helps practitioners become aware of breath and gently move the body, it helps to get the muscles and joints lubricated and moving. When the body moves, endorphins are released which give a euphoric feeling. Stretching can help the body become more mobile which will aid in releasing pain as well as taking time to breathe. Breathing helps relax the body which can bring the focus away from chronic pain.
Self Care: Self care is a popular topic, for sure but for good reason. Taking a yoga class or taking the time to practice alone for even 10 minutes can improve your mood. People are busy but taking a few minutes a day or a few weekly yoga classes can allow you listen to inner thoughts and to be present. This in turn will help you be more present for others.
Improves Body Function: Moving the body helps keep things mobile but certain yoga poses can aid in digestion, improved immune function, more flexibility and strength. Yoga focuses on these areas which will help get and keep the body moving.
Better Mobility: It’s undeniable that yoga helps the body move a little better. Working on strengthening the muscles and joints coupled with flexibility training can help the body move more easily.
Better Sleep: Yoga reduces stress which can help the body calm down a little easier. When it’s time to sleep you can practice a few gentle poses with deep breathing which will help the body slow down and be more prepared for rest.
Being Present: When you are in a yoga class you are being guided by the teacher. If the mind starts to wander, you can’t be in the present moment. Learning how to redirect your thinking to what you’re doing at that very moment becomes a necessity. This can transfer to your life off the mat as well allowing for better control of thoughts.
Body Awareness: Practicing yoga helps you become more aware of how your body moves in space. You also start to notice how your breath moves throughout the body, the elevation of your heart rate in certain poses and certain areas of tightness in the muscles or joints.
Balances Emotions: Yoga brings more calm into the body improving overall emotion control. During a yoga practice emotional baggage can be acknowledged and possibly released a bit. With extended practice and focus we can start to bring stuck emotions to the surface.
Reduced Inflammation: Doing gentle yoga and breathing techniques like pranayama can help reduce inflammation in the body. Getting the feet up above the heart helps relieve some of the pooling of fluids in the lower extremities. Focusing on being more kind and gentle to yourself will also help reduce stress. Stress increases inflammation in the body.
Connection: Being part of something bigger like the yoga community will help you understand others as well as yourself better. The word yoga, means yoke, or one. The yoga community is all about finding common ground and working toward the greater good.
There are many other personal reasons to start yoga but these are a great starting point, especially if you’re on the fence. Plus it never hurts to give something new a try. The only way to know if you like something is to try it out.
In the comments, let me know what your reasons are for wanting to try or for doing yoga.
Disclaimer: The information on this website (Alt Yoga Vibe) is for informational purposes only and does not substitute for medical treatment. If you are experiencing any severe symptoms, please consult a healthcare practitioner.
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