Yoga may have entered your life at a moment when you felt you really needed a change. It may have been introduced to you by a close friend or maybe you tried an online yoga class and fell in love with it. Regardless of the reasons you chose to practice yoga and how it came to be in your life, you certainly have discovered by now the positive effects it can bring to your mind and body. And if you’re still just flirting with the idea of practicing yoga, here are 20 reasons why you should start right now.
There are very many types of yoga and not all of them are as physically demanding, but they all focus on breath control (pranayama). Learning the best breathing control techniques is the first step to a good stamina. Incorrect breathing and an insufficient oxygenation of our body during physical activities are the main reasons we find ourselves unable to continue. Learning breath and pulse control can, therefore, make a huge difference.
Restore body equilibrium and stability
Proprioception is the sense of relative position of one’s own body and movement. Due to proprioception, we are constantly aware of our body and we can have motor coordination. Practicing yoga on a regular basis is believed to improve proprioception. For beginners, simply maintaining certain yoga poses requires a lot of concentration and effort. In time, though, it starts to become easier, more natural, and that’s because the body’s equilibrium and stability improve considerably. A good body balance plays an important role in preventing accidents and is extremely important, especially in elderly people.
Meditation plays an important role in the practice of yoga. It focuses on techniques that help the body relax, relieve stress and anxiety; this can be obtained only by regaining control of your body, your breath and your mind. Yoga encourages maintaining balance in all aspects of our lives and this contributes as well to reducing the level of stress. But because it is also a type of physical activity, yoga also contributes to restoring hormonal balance and regulating the production of cortisol (the “stress hormone”).
No, you don’t have to be very flexible to be able to practice yoga, but yoga, when practiced correctly and on a regular basis, can definitely improve your body flexibility. There are poses that are suited for beginners and you will progress gradually towards more complex poses. Why is this important? Because muscle flexibility is essential for a correct body posture and for preventing back, neck and joint pain.
A correct body posture
An incorrect body posture puts an enormous amount of pressure on the spine, potentially leading to neck and back pain, and is an important risk factor for serious conditions such as degenerative arthritis. By improving flexibility and muscle tone, yoga can significantly improve your body posture.
An increased level of energy
Yoga helps energize the body and mind in very complex ways: it helps you sleep better, it regulates the level of cortisol and it helps relieve stress and anxiety (which can cause mental exhaustion). In addition to these, you will learn to control your breath, and the proper oxygenation of your body is essential for an optimal energy level. Your yoga instructor can recommend the ideal poses that can help remove fatigue and reenergize your body and mind.
A beautiful, healthy-looking body
Yoga is not necessarily a very demanding physical activity, but it tones the whole body, it increases flexibility and improves your posture, so you can be surprised to hear that others have noticed major changes in the way you look, even though your weight has not changed. Yoga helps you get in harmony with your own body and work more easily to bring it where you want it to be. Over time, yoga can become a lifestyle that involves conscious eating choices and renouncing unhealthy habits.
Improve concentration and memory
One of the biggest challenges of living in the modern society is to manage to focus on what’s truly important and remember to live in the present. We are constantly concerned about something, we constantly auto-evaluate our past performance and these affect our ability to enjoy what we have at the moment. An important task you’ll have to do as a yoga practitioner would be to find a way to anchor your mind to the present moment. Through meditation you will be able to block the thoughts that pass through your mind and focus on the present and the things / tasks / people that require your attention NOW.
Yoga is definitely not your classical physical activity, therefore for many it can be frustrating at first. It does not seem to provoke you, you don’t really have to push your limits (unless you want to) and it happens in a rhythm that may seem too slow for you. However, in time you will discover that yoga subjects your body and mind to more challenges than you would have ever imagined. Yoga implies knowing the limits of your body and making the effort to take them to the next level. It also means, however, being aware of each step in this process and this requires patience, a quality you will acquire in time and which will also prove useful in your life outside yoga classes.
Yoga is a progressive practice, whose benefits are seen over time, but which will influence every aspect of your life. It teaches you how to self-discover, to understand your own needs, to love yourself, to accept the disappointments in your life or find a way to overcome them. All this will improve the quality of your life and help you build self-confidence.
Other (10) benefits of yoga:
- Protects the cardiovascular system.
- Protects the spine.
- Stimulates metabolism.
- Regulates blood pressure.
- Stimulates circulation.
- Helps the natural processes of detoxification.
- Helps you enjoy a restorative sleep.
- Delays the onset of osteoporosis.
- It supports the functions of the digestive system.
- Improves your relating with others.