I’ve spent the majority of my life exercising. But in the last seven months I’ve been fighting a few pesky health issues that have knocked me off the proverbial exercise wagon.
Only now am I beginning to get back into my routine, and I’m starting with yoga. I’ve practiced yoga on and off for years, but today I have a new appreciation for this ancient practice and want to share why.
If you never tried yoga, here are 10 reasons why you should.
1-Yoga is for both the Body and the Mind. Yoga has long been considered a physical, mental and spiritual practice. The stretches and poses reduce the stress hormone Cortisol in the body. Your muscles get a workout while your brain gets a break. What could be better than that?
2-Yoga allows me to Move at my Own Pace. I love that there is no stress of competition or comparison. I can work on my tree pose as fast or as slow as I like. I’ll probably never master the headstand. But who cares? There is no pressure and I slowly improve.
3-Yogi’s are Friendly. I’ve met more people in yoga than any other exercise class. It’s a friendly, nurturing environment, making conversation easy. It’s perfect for introverts like me.
4-Yoga Works a Variety of Muscles. Most gym classes focus on strengthening the same muscles. Yoga poses often stretch muscles we rarely use otherwise. It’s a great way to strengthen the entire body.
5-Yoga Instructors Tell Me What I Need to Hear. “Just breath…Focus on this moment…Give yourself permission to let go of everything…” These sweet words of calm and peace are music to my ears in this very busy world we live in. I can’t get enough of it.
6-Yoga reminds me to Live in the Moment. The deep breaths, the positive words from the instructor, the slow and steady movements for each pose, all these things help me to stay in the present. I can forget about everything that happened before I came to yoga and everything I need to do after. It’s like getting a break from my brain.
7-Yoga is for Everyone. Most yoga classes welcome people of all ages and abilities. I’ve been in classes with seniors, high school and/or college students, and even mothers with their young ones. It’s nice to take a class with a variety of people. And I love that even as I get older, I won’t have to give it up any time soon.
8-Yoga Eases My Aches and Pains. Another benefit of yoga is how I feel afterwards: relaxed, calm and able to handle whatever is coming next. The pain and tension I come into the studio with are left behind when I leave. I also tend to sleep better after a yoga session.
9-Yoga Class is a Judgment Free Zone. Yoga is all about acceptance. As you learn poses, you learn to push yourself, but never to the point of pain. Instead, you become skilled at accepting where your and accepting your body’s limits.
10-Shavasana, need I say more? Most yoga classes end with Shavasana, a final resting posture. It is meant to be a time of complete relaxation to give closure to the session and help the body and mind reap the benefits derived from the class. But whatever-to me it’s a tiny, ten-minute slice of heaven.
I believe when we enjoy an activity, we’re more likely to stick to it. What’s your favorite exercise or stress reliever?