*This is a collaborative post, however all words and opinions are my own.
I have been doing yoga on and off since I was around 18 years old. I’ve found that it’s a form of exercise I always come back to, even if I haven’t practiced any of the movements for a while. There are a huge number of benefits that come from practicing yoga, from targeting specific aches and pains to helping maintain your mental wellbeing. I find that when I practice yoga, I tend to have a specific goal in mind and I alter the routine I’m practicing in order to get the most out of my workout.
Yoga can be extremely beneficial for everyone; it doesn’t matter how big or small you are, how flexible you are, or how fit you are. If you’re interested in trying out yoga, it’s so simple to get started. All you need is a good quality yoga mat – the more cheerful the better, in my opinion – and some comfortable clothes you can stretch and relax in.
Here are my list of 5 reasons for loving yoga and why I think you should love it too.
You don’t need to be super fit or flexible to practice yoga.
Yoga is for everyone! It’s about moving your body, stretching your muscles, focusing on your breathing and practicing the ‘mind over matter’ mentality. I find that slowing down and stretching your entire body in the morning sets you up for the day perfectly, gives you a little endorphin rush and makes you feel ready to tackle whatever the day brings. It doesn’t matter what shape you are or what level of fitness you have, yoga is a low risk exercise that almost everyone can do.
Yoga is great for your mental health.
As someone who suffers badly with anxiety, I find that using yoga as a method to control and cope with my mental health issues to be invaluable. Yoga encourages us to move, to slow down, to be mindful of our bodies and to breathe in a controlled manner. All of these things are known to be excellent coping mechanisms for stress, anxiety and depression.
Yoga can be used to target specific aches and pains.
I use yoga a lot to cope with my chronic back pain, however it can be used to target nearly any muscle aches and pains you experience. A simple search on YouTube will open you up to a whole world of targeted pain relief exercises that honestly help so much. It can take as little as 10 minutes out of your day and enormously improve your quality of life.
Tone up your muscles and lose weight through yoga.
All that moving and stretching that you do during yoga is great for toning up muscle groups and losing weight. In fact, yoga is such a great strength exercise, that just two sessions a week will mean you’re hitting the UK government’s recommended muscle strengthening exercises quota. Building strength with yoga also comes with the increase of flexibility, whereas simple strength training in the gym will make you stronger, but you’ll miss out on the additional benefits flexibility grants us.
Sleep better with yoga.
Another way that yoga helps me is by enabling me to get a better night’s sleep. I often struggle with sleep, it comes with the territory when you’re having a particularly anxious period. Practicing calming yoga before bed helps eliminate negative thoughts, balance my mental wellbeing and put my body into a state of relaxation. Practicing gentle yoga before bed provides some down-time for your nervous system, allowing you to sleep more deeply and be less tired during the day.
Other benefits of yoga.
Honestly, there are just so many benefits to yoga that I’m always surprised it isn’t recommended more as a way to help maintain a healthy lifestyle. Studies have suggested that yoga can reduce blood pressure, help those with arthritis, boost your immune system, prevent digestive issues, and so much more! If you’re going to change your lifestyle and start a new self care movement, yoga is a great place to start.