Perhaps one of your new year’s resolutions this month is to start practicing yoga. It’s a great idea.
A lot of people come to the mat initially to try a new form of exercise. And that may be your motivation. If so, that’s great. Yoga is excellent for your body.
But did you know the benefits go way beyond just the physical?
Yes, Yoga Has a Ton of Physical Benefits
The sheer comfort of yoga pants isn’t the only reason yoga has become so popular. Yoga is comprised of mindful and (mostly) gentle movements that can be easily modified. And with so many different kinds of yoga, it’s ideal for any ‘body’ at every fitness level.
For example, if you’re a serious gym rat, you may find an exhilarating and challenging ashtanga or vinyasa class right up your alley. These vigorous practices also build stamina. On the other hand, if you haven’t been active in a while, you could start with a gentle or restorative class to help you safely ease back into movement.
In every yoga class, you’ll target specific muscles that will help you increase flexibility, improve balance, and build strength. All of these attributes will make it easier to engage in other activities you enjoy off the mat such as swimming, running, or just every day moving through life.
Because of the focus on alignment and breathing, yoga is a safe entry point for people who want to exercise but struggle with lower back pain, headaches, arthritis, osteoporosis, depression, limited mobility, poor circulation, injury recovery, and high blood pressure. All movements can be adjusted to fit each individual student’s needs.
And, of course, there’s the improved posture and increased stability that come from strengthening the muscles along the spine and through the core. So if you want to start practicing yoga only to garner all of these benefits, that’s just fine!
But yoga has so much more to offer.
Additional Reasons to Start Practicing Yoga
Yoga is a mind-body practice. Sure, you can keep your focus solely on the body aspect. (And there is that risk with some of the more rigorous practices that blast loud and distracting music.) But you have so much to gain by adopting the mindful and meditative aspects that are built into the practice.
Once you learn the more subtle nuances of the practice, yoga quiets the mind and offers peace and calm. It can help you with the following:
The only constant in life is that things are constantly changing. And that can be discomforting! Especially if you’re busy trying to keep all your proverbial ducks in a row.
Yoga teaches you that nothing is permanent. There are going to be good times and there are going to be not-so-good times. Practicing non-attachment (known as aparigraha in yoga) allows us to not cling to the good moments or unsuccessfully resist the bad. It steers us away from expectations so we can stay steady in the present moment.
Sound easy? It’s not. It takes a lifetime of practice. But it’s well worth it.
How many thoughts are racing through your brain right now? Too many to count? You’re not alone. The mind is a problem-solving tool. If it feels there is no immediate problem to address, it’ll make one for you.
The beauty of yoga is that it’s a practice of calming the mind by learning one-pointed concentration. When the brain gets frazzled, you come back to the one thing that’s always with you and that we ALL have in common. The breath.
Learning this important skill while on the mat enables allows you to better focus your mental resources when you’re off the mat. Your head will be clearer and you’ll increasingly see the value of focus in staying in the present moment.
When you move into a more traditional yoga practice, you’ll be instructed to go inside and sit with yourself. That may not sound so much like a reason to start practicing yoga as one to run away from it! But when you’re able to finally reach a spot of quiet, you will become more self-aware. You’ll have a better understanding of your thoughts, tendencies, and motivations.
Furthermore, you’ll become more keenly connected with your surroundings and be able to re-evaluate the things upon which you’ve placed importance. This brings us to reason #4.
4. Making Good Choices
As you become more familiar with yourself and what truly makes you tick, you’ll be drawn to healthier people and activities in your life. You may change your diet, sleep habits, and social connections. And you’ll have the strength to steer away from negative situations you may have formerly viewed as positive.
When you open yourself fully to yoga, it will be a transformative experience.
Turn Over a New Leaf This Year With Yoga
Obviously, there are so many great reasons to start practicing yoga. But if one of your reasons for not starting is because of time constraints, then contact us today.
We offer MOBILE yoga, meditation, mindfulness, and coaching sessions that we’ll bring right to your business or organization on your schedule. No extra travel time is required.
And we have both on-site and virtual offerings to meet your comfort level. Give yourself the gift of good health this year.