This is for all of you out there who have said, "I'd like to do yoga, but ___________." We can fill in the blank with an array of excuses: I'm not flexible (I hear this one all the time), it's not really a workout, I don't have time, I don't know what I'm doing, it's new (this is a big one too). This isn't meant to shame you into doing yoga. This is meant to inform you on the benefits of a yoga practice.
Yoga has changed my life. I used to be someone who was always unsure of myself and constantly looked to others for validation. Yoga has taught me to let that go. Of course yoga is a physical practice, and I'll get to that a bit later, but yoga is mental, big time. Some of the benefits of yoga include:
Space - We are crazy multitasking people who rarely sit down to do just one thing. Yoga allows us to put everything aside as we step onto our mat.
Quiet - This ties right into space. Our lives are loud. We have constant chatter, and it feels so good to get some quiet, and quiet is necessary.
Breath - There is so much power in the breath. When you're feeling anxious, breathe. When you're feeling mad, breathe. When you're feeling crazy happy, breathe. In yoga we focus on the breath for a reason.
Love and gratitude - I remember a time in college going to a yoga class and thinking to myself, "I love my body." This was a time when I was insanely critical and always worried about the scale, so to have a place where I could love myself was huge. At the beginning yoga we set an intention, or sankalpa. More times than not, I dedicate the practice to someone I love or choose to focus on something I am grateful for. Again, necessary. A time where we can look for the good instead of the bad - sign me up.
If not, let's talk about the benefits of a physical yoga practice. My husband used to kind of chuckle when I said my workout was yoga. Then, he did yoga. I recently took a class at a hot yoga studio, and let me tell you, I literally don't think I have ever sweat so much in my life, and I'm not even remotely exaggerating. Now even if hot yoga isn't your thing, read on to see why yoga is the best for our body.
Strength - You want to get strong, do yoga. We hold poses for a number of breaths fatiguing the muscles, which ultimately builds the muscle. You build strength in all the right places: arms, core, legs, and even our feet!
Flexibility - Sure, you've seen yoga pictures of people putting their leg behind their heads. For most of us, that probably won't happen, but what will happen is our muscles start to lengthen as we stretch. Even the most inflexible person over time will start to gain elasticity. That brings me to the number one reason people don't think yoga is for them: I'm not flexible enough. Confession: I am a yoga teacher and I'm not that flexible. There are some poses that my body, physically, can't do. Doesn't mean I can't do yoga. Yoga is for everyone.
Stability - In life we can be too strong or too flexible, both of which can make you prone to injury. Yoga brings us to the place in the middle: stability. This is where we want to be in order to stay healthy.
If you are still not convinced, my final attempt is an eight letter word.
SAVASANA - C'mon, what other workout ends with a nap? Seriously though, savasana, in my opinion, is the most important pose of all. It invites us to completely relax and do nothing!
So, if you're someone who has thought about doing yoga, but has yet to make the leap, do it! Start with two days a week. Find a local class or search for the thousand of free classes online. Remember, it's okay to be a beginner, it only happens once.
Share your journey with me online! #getonthemat #beabeginner #yogaforeveryone