The Benefits of Yoga Beyond a Workout
Yoga is not simply a workout
Yoga is often claimed as being one of the best forms of physical activity. Therefore, being only partially understood and revealed as only the physical yoga poses (asanas). As such, its benefits are only perceived to be on the physical level.
Although the roots of this traditional practice go much deeper. Yoga was originally about spiritual development and mind-body awareness practices that were aimed at cultivating a higher level of consciousness and connection. Physical benefits were merely a welcomed side effect of the practice.
So, better flexibility, strength, increased energy levels, improved mental clarity or mind body connection - whatever you may be looking for, yoga has it on offer.
You will be glad to know that you don’t need specific yoga wear or be able to bend your body like a pretzel – anybody, anywhere can experience the benefits of yoga through a simple, regular practice.
So, lets look at what this traditional practice has to offer:
Improved mental clarity
Needing a little more focus? Yoga has been proven to clear your mind and improve mental clarity. Even basic balancing poses are fantastic at creating focus, concentration and awareness. Often in our everyday busy lives our minds begin to drift off and are filled with distracting thoughts, to-do lists, worries or reminders. The practice of yoga helps us to slow down and build focus by doing one thing at a time helping to anchor our minds and attention to the present.
Want a refreshingly deep sleep? It can often be hard to switch our minds off at the end of a busy day. Lack of sleep can be a common problem experienced by most. Although, when practicing yoga on a daily basis it helps to improve the quality of sleep by promoting a greater sense of calmness, connection and alignment throughout the body.
Increased energy levels
Need a boost of vitality? Some yoga poses such as balancing poses and backbends are excellent at reducing fatigue and increasing energy levels helping to awaken your mind and body, so that you can power on through the rest of the day without that caffeine hit.
Feeling anxious or overwhelmed? Stress and anxiety seem to be primary themes of modern living. Anxiety can be crippling and often we feel there is no way out of our stressful situations. A regular yoga practice incorporating the right poses can help to alleviate some of this anxiety. The deep breathing practices (pranayama) involved in yoga can help calm you and keep you in the moment. So clear your anxiety by practicing deep breathing and focusing on each movement mindfully, allowing your stress and tension to just melt away.
“ Allow your stress and tension to just melt away ”
Relief from chronic ailments
“ Have you tried yoga? “ This may be a question you’ve been asked before if your living with a chronic illness. Yoga can be an invaluable tool for improving your health. Lots of people have found yoga to reduce pain, stress, anxiety, fatigue, improve immune function and stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system which helps you to rest and restore. If your living with a chronic illness, its important that you honour your body and its limitations by finding a style of yoga and routine that works for you.
“ Listen to your body” If you have ever been to a yoga class, I’m sure you would’ve heard your teacher say at some point listen to your body. This term may sound rather complex and unique. Although, your mind is powerful and your thoughts can affect many aspects of your body. Alternatively, the way your body feels can let your mind know if you need to make adjustments to your practice. Yoga can be one of the most beneficial ways to strengthen your mind-body connection, helping to connect your awareness to your actions.
Better strength and flexibility
Wanting to get stronger or become more flexible? Most people practice yoga with the intention to gain strength or flexibility. While this is a huge benefit of a regular and consistent yoga practice, as mentioned throughout this is not the only benefit you will gain. Yoga teaches you to practice with a strong foundation and create ease of movement. Yoga asanas (poses) are total body strengthening practices. When practiced regularly, you will notice a great improvement in your overall strength. Along with that, you will also improve your flexibility and range of motion. Therefore, reducing pain and tension in tight muscles.
Regardless of what brings you to your practice, the most important thing is that you take the time and show up for yourself.
“ It begins with a desire and becomes who you are ”