Updated: Jun 29, 2021
When people think of yoga they often imagine a slow moving class full of gentle stretches, which yoga definitely can be, but it is also much more than that.
There are many styles of yoga around these days, restorative being one of them, and one that absolutely deserves its place, but also yin yoga, strong classes, hot classes and even aerial yoga, all offering some different benefits to us, some of which people may not associate with yoga.
Strength : Yoga is brilliant for building muscle strength and toning the body. I am often asked if I attend the gym as I have quite toned arms and the answer is I have never stepped foot in a gym. I do however practice yoga daily. You do not have to practice the more advanced postures such as crow or handstand in order to tone the body and gain strength, many of the postures snuck into most classes provide this when regularly practiced, for example downward facing dog and warrior one require alot of engagement of the muscles.
Cardio: Vinyasa flow is great way to get the heart rate up and burn calories. Many classes will include some vinyasa at different paces and levels to suit all yogis helping you build a sweat.
Posture: Yoga can promote better posture through using correct body alignment to keep us stable in certain poses and through strengthening the core muscles. Many postures also focus on opening the shoulders and heart area and tucking the pelvis, and if you consistently practice these poses it will naturally lead to better posture.
Detoxification: Any posture that takes a twist in the body will massage and aid detoxification of the internal organs. End each day with a herbal tea and some gentle reclined twists to help flush and toxins from the body.
Pain relief: Yoga can help provide so pain relief a couple of ways, by stretching the muscles relieving any tension that has accumulated and by helping to mobilize joints, but also through the breathing techniques learned through yoga and meditation, even if at times this can not help eliminate the pain we feel at the time it can help us cope with how it feels.
Mental health, sleep and addiction: Yoga can be a huge source of relief to many psychological issues. Through practicing breathing techniques learned in yoga and meditation we can relief symptoms of stress and anxiety while meditation itself is proven to help with sleep and mood disorders. Yoga practice can also help with substance addiction via the techniques already mentioned and by giving us a new focus and one that can be utilised anywhere anytime.
Decision making: As yoga promotes mindfulness, and the practice of yoga and meditation allows us to become more self aware of both our physical body and emotions we can learn to naturally take a step back when making important decisions enabling us to choose options that are right for us after thinking through.....acting over reacting.
Immunity: With regular practice, yoga alongside a healthy diet, via all the benefits mentioned above can help promote a healthy immune system.
So there you have it, just some of the ways yoga can help us that are not always the first thing that comes to mind when we think of yoga, so why need step on the mat and see where it takes you
love and light