So if you’ve been reading my Facebook updates you’ll know that for the past four days I’ve been yoga-ing my butt off. I took part in an Iyengar yoga workshop that totally knocked my socks off! My trikonasana has improved considerably…my what?!? Oh yeah, my triangle pose that is. I’m sore, I’m a little tired, but I’m enlightened and loving every moment. In the last year I have taken to yoga like a duck to water, and it’s funny because in my early 20s I was a huge yoga fan but then I started traveling, got a serious boyfriend, started partying, and all thoughts of yoga kind of got left behind. So to rediscover it again now has been such a blessing and I’m so grateful that I did!
In fact, I’m loving it so much that in November this year I’m off to Bali to do my 200 hour teacher training and start my journey as a yoga teacher! Now, why oh why am I loving it so much? I guess for me it’s a few things. I’ve been working at a desk job for about 15 years or so and that takes quite toll on the body – tight hips, shoulders and lower back to name a couple. But suddenly I’m starting to feel flexible again and I don’t have the pain in my right shoulder that I used to get (that’s my mouse hand, you know what I mean!). I feel like my body is moving properly again and I even feel stronger. But the biggest changes by far have been inside.
Doing yoga has made me feel more me than I’ve felt in a while. It’s that ability to totally switch off from the world for an hour, get away from all the things I should be doing, and just listen to my subconscious for a while. Yoga has been defined as “the stilling of the changing states of the mind” and it really is. I’ve had realisations and ideas that I doubt I would have had otherwise, and my confidence in myself and who I am has grown a whole lot. A whole lot. I probably wouldn’t have started this blog if I hadn’t started my yoga practise again! I’m listening to myself again, and to me, you can’t put a price on that.
There are so many reasons I love yoga, from the physical aspects, to the mental clarity, to the breathing and inner self changes, it’s actually quite hard to list them all. However, for you my lovely, I’m going to try and I hope that by doing so it inspires you to give it a go and see for yourself how it can change your life.
So we’ll start with the physical stuff, because, well, we all like physical stuff! Looking better and feeling better is like the holy grail to most of us ladies, and I’m happy to tell you that yoga will do both. Yep, both!
So physically yoga will (and by the way, this is only a snippet of a massive list of benefits):
- Stretch and lengthen your muscles (hello flexibility!)
- Increase your muscle tone (all your muscles, not just the big ones)
- Improve your endurance, balance and coordination
- Improve your posture (if you work in an office all day, this one’s for you!)
- Improve your breathing, and can decrease asthma symptoms
- Improve your blood circulation and helps to prevent the hardening of your arteries
- Lower your blood pressure and your cholesterol
- Help with sleeping patterns (especially good if you experience insomnia)
- Reduce, and can even eliminate, chronic pain (amazing for back pain sufferers and arthritis!)
- Massage your internal organs and flush out toxins
- Reduce your blood glucose levels (awesome for diabetics!)
- Increase your energy levels!
And mentally? Here yoga really shines. Bright like a diamond. Yoga will:
- Improve your mental clarity, concentration and focus
- Reduce stress! In a major way. And it will improve your ability to handle stress
- Improve your creativity and imagination (who doesn’t love that?)
- Increase your self-confidence! Woohoo! And your optimism
- Improve willpower and your ability to control your thought patterns
- Reduce anxiety and depression
- Build a healthier body image
- Help with symptoms of OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) and PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder)
- Improve your control over negative emotions such as anger, resentment, fear and loneliness
- Improve your relationships (with yourself and your loved ones)
- Improve your ability to relax (and we could all do with a bit of that)
- Allow you to have some ‘you’ time (away from kids, partners, phones, social media, you get the idea!).
So why not give it a go? You don’t have to be fit, flexible, tall or lean. You don’t have to be strong or wearing the latest gym fashion. You don’t even have to leave your house! There are so many awesome yoga websites that play free videos, and even YouTube has instructional videos that you can watch for free (over and over!). Just grab yourself a mat and get on the floor, and even just by doing that you’re starting a fabulous practise. Don’t worry if you’re not good (none of us are when we start!), just allow yourself to be there. And see what happens.
Let me know about your yoga practise! Are you a beginner or a super yoga extraordinaire? Have you tried it and loved it, or tried it and struggled? I’d love to hear your experiences!
With love and downward dogs,