27 Reasons to Practice Yoga
1Yoga increases your flexibility
Increases range of motion in muscles and joints
The more you practice, the more flexible you become
Deep breathing while stretching is key to improving flexibility
2Yoga improves your strength
Yoga isn’t just stretching and bending
it also requires a surprising amount of strength
Physical strength prevents injury, boosts the immune system & metabolism and helps make everyday tasks easier.
Repetition & holding poses will make you stronger
Certain poses have a “weight-training” effect, by supporting your body weight in gravity.
3Yoga boosts your immune system
Movement keeps the immune system healthy.
twisting, inverting, & back bending help the body spend more time within the parasympathetic nervous system (rest and digest) and less with the sympathetic nervous system (the fight or flight system, which causes stress and inflammation and dramatically lowers the immune system).
4Yoga helps you to focus
your mind will be quieter and clutter-free
easier to direct your energy to where you want it to go
You train the mind to become aware and present
5Yoga changes your energy
Just a few minutes of asana practice or breathing exercises can have an energizing effect on your nervous system.
6Yoga boosts your metabolism
Gets the blood, breath and muscles moving before breakfast
allowing the nutrients from your food to be better absorbed
practicing yoga helps build muscle, which increases your metabolism as muscle burns fat
breathing fully and deeply increases circulation, also helping the metabolism to stay ticking along nicely.
7Yoga reduces anxiety
Shallow breathing, poor posture and tense muscles are both results and causes of anxiety.
Dealing with anxiety for a long period of time can cause the body to “protect” itself by remaining tense, physically closed off and with very short, sharp breaths.
Mind and body are so closely connected, that physically deepening the breath, improving posture and relaxing the muscles can all help reduce anxiety.
8Yoga helps you to be more mindful
Mindfulness is a buzz word that has gained popularity in recent years
Doesn’t mean meditating for long periods of time
And it doesn’t have to be something that's difficult to keep up
It means paying a little more attention to each action you do, allowing you to be more present, aware and alive in each moment
Better to be mindful than mind-full…
9Yoga soothes your skin
The skin is one of the 1st places in the body to display signs of stress and nutrient deficiency
Combining the breathing and meditation, with the physical asana practice, all parts and systems of the body receive better circulation
Reduced stress levels can reduce conditions like acne and eczema
10Yoga gives you some ‘Me-Time’
Having a little time for yourself is extremely important – especially for those who spend their lives taking caring of others.
Giving to others is an important part of life,
It helps us feel more connected to the world around us.
But in order to give, we have to be full first.
As Gandhi (and Jimi Hendrix) said “If you want to change the world, change yourself first”.
11Hydrate Your Spine
Safe and healthy spine movement releases synovial fluid into the spinal column.
In the morning, the spine contains a little more of this fluid
In the evening the spine is more compressed and ‘dehydrated’ (hence why we’re somewhat ‘shorter’ in the evenings!)
Practicing spine-lengthening postures like Downward Facing Dog, as well as inversions, can help to bring some moisture and life back to our all-important spine.
“You are only as young as your spine is flexible.”
12Yoga boosts brain power
Moving in a way that is different than what our body is used to helps the brain work harder & keeps the brain healthy.
Twisting poses, and anything that involves crossing limbs over the body are fantastic for balancing the brain hemispheres.
A breathing exercise called Nadi Shoshana, or the ‘channel cleansing’ breath, helps to balance the brain and calm the mind.
13No space? No worries!
Unlike many other physical activities, a yoga practice only needs space for your body.
Dorm rooms, offices or even a hallway can provide enough space
Yoga can be practiced pretty much everywhere.
14Yoga helps you to breathe better
The emphasis on breathing in yoga is something beginners often struggle with
Over time moving with the breath becomes second nature.
Ability to breathe more fully & deeply can have a very profound impact on overall health and is worth practicing every day.
Our natural breath is typically shallow, using only a fraction of our lung capacity.
Pranayama, or breathing techniques, train you to use more of your lung capacity, which benefits the entire body, and helps us to live a longer life.
Deep breathing can also calm the central nervous system, which has both physical and mental benefits over time.
Various breathing exercises can:
Relax and calm the mind and body
Warm and energize the body
Oxygenate the blood and organs for optimal function and detoxing
15Yoga helps you to stand up taller
Show of hands – how many of us spend some part of the day hunched over a desk, screen phone or steering wheel?
Slouched posture collapses the chest, puts pressure on the lungs, heart, & lower back, which can cause a bad mood.
Simply standing up a little taller and opening the chest can have instant positive effects on mood and overall well-being.
Yoga practice improves posture through alignment of the spine
As rib cage & head are rebalanced, neck becomes aligned vertically with the shoulders.
16Yoga helps with depression
Movement brings a good mood
Yoga is an especially effective when it comes to battling depression.
Taps into the nervous system, helping to release hormones that improve the mood.
Focusing on something positive (intention) each time we practice yoga imprints positivity into the mind, so the more you practice, the more you might notice yourself smiling…
17Yoga improves your balance
Balancing yoga postures help the brain to fire neurons that help with muscle memory and spatial awareness
Like with anything, the more you practice balancing poses, the better balance you acquire
Balance also varies day to day…the balance in our mind comes from recognizing this and accepting where we are each day
18Yoga helps to clear the toxins
yoga practice helps to clear toxins from the body.
Getting things moving inside and outside helps shift any lurking toxins and rids the body of them quicker.
Breathing deeply while twisting is said to “ring out” the lungs, ridding them of old carbon dioxide that can become trapped in the lower portion as a result of shallow breathing
Being aware and mindful of your thoughts too, can help to ‘detox’ the mind of any ‘toxic’ thoughts
19Yoga frees your feet!
Being barefoot is more important than we might expect.
Many shoes are designed for look rather than feel
Your favorite shoes could actually be the cause of your aches and pains.
Feet are the foundation of the body
Giving them time to breathe & move freely can help the alignment of the body improve.
Use of the feet in yoga practice helps strengthen the muscles of the foot, of which there are over 100!
20Yoga has anti-inflammatory 'properties'
Decreased stress levels, better blood and oxygen circulation, all help to decrease inflammation.
Calming Pranayama practices, in which the length of the out-breath is increased, can also be a way to powerfully reduce inflammation.
21Yoga helps give meaning to your day
Spending a little time in the morning to set an intention or focus for the day, helps us come back to that intention each time we need to make a decision.
Setting an intention can also help us to be more aware of our actions, giving the day much more meaning.
Practicing Loving Kindness meditation increases compassion and kindness towards others and ourselves.
Humans are born to be compassionate and to feel emotions, yet the modern world often leaves us feeling more disconnected than ever.
All our actions and even thoughts have impact on the world around us, and if the saying Love Makes The World Go Round is true, then practicing feeling love and kindness for others will make more difference than you might expect.
23Yoga increases body awareness
"Listen to your body" is something you’re likely to have heard most yoga teachers say, but what does it mean?
A ‘good’ yoga practice encourages feeling instead of forcing,
gradual progress instead of instant gain
a way of moving that is helpful instead of harmful.
A study from the department of Psychology at Berkley, California, showed that yoga practitioners have more body awareness, responsiveness to bodily sensations, and even body satisfaction than those who do not practice yoga.
24Yoga helps you to accept whatever life brings to your table
Yoga teaches us that everything changes.
Both the positive but also the painful things in life come and go.
Knowing and understanding this makes it easier to accept and stay present & positive, even through the hard times.
25Yoga gives you a natural wind-down
Instead of watching a movie or checking Facebook for the 100th time, try practicing some restorative yoga.
It’s a very powerful way to calm the nervous system
improving sleep quality
helping the digestive system to do its job overnight
giving you the energy you need to get up early the next morning to start your day
26Yoga is a life-long lesson
Beautiful thing about yoga is that it can be adapted to suit anyone.
Whether you’re a baby or a baby-boomer, a grumpy teenager or a great-grandma, you can practice yoga.
The task is often in finding the type of practice that suits you and listening to your body.
27Yoga makes you feel better - simple as that!
Pick a suitable class for your level
Approach it with an open mind
You’ll feel different - more
open, present and happier
If you don’t believe me, try it!
*Bonus*Meditation – what and why?
·Another form of self-care, creates a connection with your inner-self
·It is not clearing the mind of all thoughts – that’s impossible!
·It is concentrating the mind on one thing (thought, phrase, idea, etc.)
·Something that resonates with you or has meaning (gratitude, love, peace, etc.)
·Focusing the mind on this one “mantra” for a set amount of time
·As other thoughts come up, no reaction
·Just notice and go back to your mantra
Benefits: Anxiety decreases Emotional stability improves Creativity increases Happiness increases Intuition develops Gain clarity and peace of mind Problems become smaller Meditation sharpens the mind by increasing focus