Maybe you’re new to yoga or you’ve tried it before and didn’t think it was for you. While most of us know the physical benefits of a yoga practice, toned arms and flexible hamstrings being just a few, stepping onto the mat could do a lot more for you than you think. We've put together our top 5 good reasons to add regular yoga to your weekly routine.
Yoga integrates your mind and body
Your mind and body are intricately connected and yoga reminds us to listen in. Hours sitting at a desk and frantically trying to respond to all the demands placed on you, divorces you from listening to your internal warning signals, which is why we drink coffee to keep us awake when really we need to rest. Yoga helps to expand the physical body and the mind too so once you start listening in, you'll find a lot more ease.
Become more emotionally resilient
Facing challenges in our practice and on the mat also helps us learn more about ourselves and how we react to failure or setbacks in everyday life. It helps to teach us that it's okay to fail, or to not be perfect at something first time round, and helps us to accept and let go of our perceived faults that tend to hold us back. It teaches us that our default response doesn't need to be anger or upset.
You don’t need to be fit or flexible to start your practice
Yoga is ideal for all ages and stages and for all bodies. You can't touch your toes? Neither could I when I first started, the beauty of yoga is that anyone can do it at any age.
No what matter your fitness level, there is a starting point in yoga for you, as all the poses can be modified to suit your body type and knowledge level.
If you practise with patience and consistency, your flexibility will improve. In fact, many benefits of yoga come not from the postures themselves, but from payign attention to your breath, as long as you’re breathing, you can do yoga!
It’s an essential tool for stressful times
Let's face it, we're living in uncertain times. When you find yourself feeling unsettled or afraid, yoga can help, and science is increasingly backing this up. One recent study showed levels of the amino acid GABA in those who practise yoga regularly compared to those who do an equivalent amount of walking — considered to be a similarly strenuous form of exercise - to be much higher.
Why is this important? This amino acid is vital for a well-functioning brain and central nervous system and helps promote feelings of calm inside the body. Low GABA levels are often associated with depression and anxiety.
Studies have also found that the deep physiological state of rest induced by the three yoga elements of postures, breathing and meditation produced immediate, positive change in immune function, energy metabolism and insulin secretion.
You’ll tone, inside and out
Through posture, movement and breathe, yoga works on the physical body as well as the nervous system, stimulating the parasympathetic nervous system, allowing our bodies to 'rest and digest', as well as helping to replenish our adrenals and stress responses. By nourishing your nervous system back to balance, you'll find it easier to deal with stressful situations without feeling overwhelmed.
On a physical level, deep stretching helps to correct muscle imbalances and bring you back to optimal alignment. It also lubricates the joints, massages internal organs, blood circulation improves and deepens. Habitual yoga practice leads to long lean muscles and improved posture
17 January 2017