I started practicing yoga more than 12 years ago. I primarily started because I have a back condition and wanted to make sure I was doing something proactive to manage it. I've never been a person to take medication unless it is absolutely necessary. I've been very lucky in my life in that I have been able to avoid health complications that require medication.
But even if you are on medication, yoga may be a healthy fitness alternative that can help you remain active. There are many different types of yoga - from the extreme Hot Yoga or Power Yoga to the more relaxed Chair Yoga. I religiously practice Yoga at least 1 day per week. Recently, I've yearned to be able to incorporate more Yoga into my routine.
Unfortunately, it is hard to find classes that accommodate my schedule. I have a very long commute to the office which means a class would need to start at 5:00 AM in order for me to take it during the week. In order to do more yoga, I am trying free classes on You Tube. I'll let you know how that is going in a separate post.
Back to this post. Below are 4 reasons you need to practice yoga. I promise, once you get into the routine, you'll want to keep practicing it and challenging yourself. A very wise yoga teacher I have often says "it is yoga practice, not yoga perfect". You may never perfect all of the poses but just coming close is good enough!
1) YOGA ALLOWS YOU TO LET GO
One of the most beneficial parts of yoga for me is the ability to focus on what is happening in the class for 1 hour. If you let your mind wander during class, there is no way you can do the poses and keep up. You must focus on what is happening around you. In fact, Everyday Health reports that yoga may improve cognitive function because you have to clear your mind and refresh. From a place of peace and calm, we are able to use our mental facilities more efficiently. (Image: yoga.com)
2) YOGA MAY HELP MANAGE PAIN
While yoga cannot cure pain or physical ailments, it can help manage the pain. Harvard Health Publishing reports a study published in Annals of Internal Medicine found that among 313 people with chronic low back pain, a weekly yoga class increased mobility more than standard medical care for the condition. Another study published at nearly the same time found that yoga was comparable to standard exercise therapy in relieving chronic low back pain. (Image: Total Beauty.com)
3) YOGA CAN TRANSFORM YOUR BODY
I can tell you that over the years, I've gained strength & flexibility that I haven't had since I was a teenager. I can reach beyond my toes not just touch them. Now, flexibility is different for every person. If you were never flexible, yoga won't help make you flexible but it will help you gain and maintain flexibility which is necessary for healthy aging. Yoga helps you get stronger because the poses are weight bearing poses in which you need to carry your own body weight to get into the pose. (Image: Yelp)
4) YOGA RELAXES YOU
Stressed? Yoga gives you tools that you can use in your everyday life to relieve stress. I didn't realize that the yoga teachings I've had have become so ingrained into my daily life. From breathing with deep belly breathing, which requires you to extend your belly. This is the exact opposite of how we are taught to breath - we are taught to bring in our belly when inhaling. To taking a calming breath when I am in a stressful situation. A colleague who practices yoga actually told me she noticed I was taking calming breaths. (Image: DenMeditation.com)
I hope this post has inspired you to try a yoga class. The best part of yoga classes is each person is different and has a different practice. A really great yoga teacher will help you understand the poses and how your body reacts to them. It is a great workout for the mind & body. If you take a class or have been practicing yoga, let me know what you think about this post. Follow my blog on Bloglovin.