Is it just me or is Yoga frickin’ everywhere right now? You can’t go on to Instagram or Facebook without seeing another YogaGirl sensation strutting her stuff Yoga style in the brightest pair of leggings known to (Wo)-man! Russell Brand is at it and owns his own Yoga studio, Colin Farrell swears by it, Madonna’s been at it ages and so has Sting! If you don’t know who that is that means I’m just showing my age 😉
There’s articles all over the internet about American Footballers, Soccer Players, International Rugby Teams, Wimbledon winning tennis players all swearing by the benefits and importance of Yoga in their training.
So why the heck is it turning up everywhere from LuLuLemon opening a new store in your city to provide the much sought after hyper-coloured leggings to posters going up down the local store for a Yoga teacher in the nearest Church Hall on Wednesday nights?
Well the answer is it really is that good for you in so many ways and here’s 5 reasons to start right now:
1. It’s a Workout with a Work-In
Different to any other form of physical exercise there is a focus on connecting with what’s on the inside while you train the outside. Your body will be challenged in so many different ways that encourage an increased level of subtle strength as opposed to other forms of training that tend to isolate larger muscle groups. This all over body challenge in each pose is designed to hold you in the moment.
2. It teaches a heightened sense of Self-Awareness
In a Yoga Practice (Class) we hold various poses for a series of breaths aiming to relax and deepen the breath within each pose. While we hold a pose still we become aware of how we feel in our physical body. Where we are holding tension. Where feels uncomfortable or held. Where needs work strengthening. As we become more aware in our physical body this begins to transfer to the rest of us as a whole. How we feel inside manifests in our physical body. As we become aware of our physicality and direct attention to areas that need releasing this begins to bring release and ease into us as a whole. If this sounds really wu-hoo mumbo-jumbo. Trust me it is really cool!
3. Improves, Corrects and Strengthens Posture
One of the many things I have discovered long after my school days that I have thought of the utmost importance that is not being taught in formal education is postural awareness. The physical practice of Yoga works on creating openness and flexibility throughout the body including the Spine and Hips which can encourage and correct any misalignments in posture.
If you have been sitting and/or walking around slouched for a prolonged period of time (like most people) your muscles and connective tissues have formed and strengthened in that shape. Practicing Yoga can alleviate and correct posture through encouraging a higher level of flexibility and with it mobility in the joints and tissues.
4. Helps with Breathing
When we feel uneasy our breath becomes short and erratic as our physical body tenses in response to our mental body. When we feel relaxed our breath is deeper, travels deeper into the lungs and is more regular as our body is relaxed and calm along with our mental body.
If we know this, using our new found level of self awareness, we can take ourselves down from emotional responses that make us feel uneasy. I’m not going to go into naming emotional states that create unease. We all know them all too well I think.
5. Meditation & Mindfulness
Coming from a guy who thought that meditation was for Tibetan Monks and lifting weights and going out drinking pints is for relaxing let me tell you I had it all wrong. Sure I still lift weights and go out. Meditation and Mindfulness though is quite simply where it is at! It is the answer to all of life’s perceived problems. Yoga is an introduction to Mindfulness and Meditation and makes it way easier to get into than just trying to meditate as it prepares the body and mind.
There are so many reasons that Yoga is good for your body and your mind. Maybe you can add some in the comments? Thanks for reading and Happy Yoga-ing and remember there is no time like the present!