Inexperienced wannabe yogis often shy away from the practice because they have no clue where to start. It doesn’t help that many people’s perception of yoga involves complicated poses that take years to perfect. Sure, well-practiced individuals can pull off neat tricks like balancing on their head, but yoga is designed for people of all ages and ability levels. Anyone can do a simple yoga flow!
Everyone has something to gain from yoga. Whether you’re a beginner or master, yoga offers numerous physical and mental health benefits that can completely transform your overall wellbeing.
The following benefits will help you muster the courage to sign up for a yoga class:
- Develop healthy eating habits: There’s a surprising correlation between healthy diets and individuals who practice yoga every week. Yoga promotes mindfulness, a state of being that encourages you to stop what you’re doing and be present in the moment. You can practice mindfulness during meals, too! People who engage in mindful eating are in tune with how foods affect their mind and body. As a result, they’re more likely to ditch junk food and prepare meals with healthy ingredients that make them feel good.
- Improve performance during workouts: Yoga is the perfect activity for developing strength, flexibility and endurance. A variety of poses engage different muscle groups throughout the body, especially when you hold the pose for a minute. You’ll also gain flexibility by moving your body in new and creative ways. Yoga focuses on the breath, increasing lung capacity and the length of time you can spend on other physical activities. Many athletes cross train with yoga because it boosts their overall performance.
- Relieve chronic pain: Chronic pain has many causes but very few cures. People living with chronic pain opt for traditional medication, but some simple yoga poses are equally effective—and more fun—for easing some discomfort. Yoga gently stretches ligaments and muscle tissue, which can help your body let go of tension. Prescribed medication alone simply takes away the pain. But when yoga is thrown into the mix, you can further reduce chronic pain and even prevent future flare-ups.
- Balance your energy levels: A simple yoga flow right before bed can drastically improve sleep quality and help you stay asleep. The combination of mindfulness and breathing techniques relax your body so it can ease into sleep mode. On the other hand, yoga flows practiced in the morning can provide a gentle boost of energy that kickstarts your day better than a cup of coffee! Yoga is the best way to wind down or wake up without the grogginess of sleep medication or jitters that accompany caffeine.
- Experience instant stress relief: Much like any form of exercise, yoga is an effective tool for stress management. It reduces the stress hormone cortisol while releasing serotonin to put you in a brighter mood. The stress-relieving benefits of yoga are nearly instantaneous and help people put their best foot forward before tackling what lies ahead. When practiced on a weekly basis, yoga can lower your overall stress levels and help you approach life with a calmer mindset.
- Overcome feelings of anxiety: Yoga is a holistic form of treatment that can assist people who struggle with anxiety. Any exercise is great for mental health, but yoga in particular utilizes deep breathing to help the body relax and slow racing thoughts. Yoga classes are available for beginners, which encourages people to get out there and socialize. This helps combat loneliness and can make you feel more connected to a community that shares similar interests.
- Bring happiness back into your life: Chronic illness takes its toll, making it difficult to stay resilient through intense treatment regimens. When life deals a critical blow to one’s health, yoga can help you get back up and experience joy once again. It’s for this reason that inpatient visits to the hospital often involve yoga flows to gently aid the healing process. For instance, yoga has been shown to reduce symptoms in cancer patients and improve their quality of life during treatment.
The list of benefits goes on. Yoga is one of the few exercises anyone can do from anywhere at any time. All you need is a yoga mat and a willingness to learn. Make friends at a yoga class or look up tutorials and practice at home. Discover what works for you and go with it. Namaste!