In the last few years, we’ve seen the yoga craze gain some real momentum (and we’re not complaining either)! If you’re looking to jump on the bandwagon, it can be hard to know where to start. There are many different types of yoga, so you’ll want to be sure to pick the right style. Some styles are, of course, better suited to beginners than others. But first things first, how exactly can we define yoga?
Yoga is both a mental and physical practice, with origins in India. The word itself comes from a Sanskrit word ‘Yuj’ which translates as ‘ to yoke’ or ‘union’. Yoga is also taken from the word ‘samadhi’ which translates as ‘concentration’. Yoga has been practiced for thousands of years. There’s a focus on the relationship between the mind and body as well as an element of spirituality. Yoga’s popularity in the West relies significantly upon the physical benefits as an exercise as well as for aiding relaxation. Hatha yoga and Yin yoga are suitable for beginners. Vinyasa is suitable for beginners with good levels of fitness. You’ll want to wait until your practice is more advanced before trying Ashtanga yoga. There are lots of benefits to be gained from the practice of yoga. Let’s consider a few in a little more detail.
Yoga is an excellent way to ease stress and to help one to become relaxed. Several studies have indicated that practitioners of yoga have decreased levels of cortisol after practicing for a few months. Cortisol is the key stress hormone; when the body produces too much cortisol, this causes us to feel tense or anxious. Modern society and the ups and downs of life often put us in situations of stress. Much of these occurrences cannot be avoided, so it’s important to have coping mechanisms and practices that can ease our angst.
The stretches, poses, and techniques used in yoga can help to improve our flexibility. As we become older, our flexibility levels tend to decrease. This can be problematic and lead to decreased mobility over time. If we practice yoga, we are ensuring that we reduce our chances of back problems or issues with our joints. For such reasons, yoga is an excellent practice for elderly people, looking to improve their movement. If you practice other forms of high-intensity exercise, whether sports, dance or a vigorous gym routine, it’s a good idea also to attend yoga classes too. The flexibility that you’ll build up will mean that you’ve less chance of obtaining a sports injury.
You’d be surprised how much yoga can build up your core strength. Some of those movements, that don’t look like much, are really challenging on the body. Over time you’ll notice that you’ll increase strength and tone up. Again, core strength is excellent for the body to ensure that we don’t obtain injuries as we age. As we get older, it becomes easier to injure ourselves via mundane day to day tasks. However, this is generally only true if we allow our muscles and joints to become weaker. A good yoga practice can keep your body fit and strong, ongoing.
Yoga can also help to improve your balance, which comes hand in hand with flexibility. There are a number of different balances practiced as part of a yoga class (depending on the level). From crow pose to tree pose, firefly or wild thing; you’ll find that yoga for balance tests your abilities and improves your concentration. Balances require focusing on a stationary object or on the breath to hold the pose. In this way, yoga balances can be beneficial for the mind as well as the body. Calming the mind allows us to stop racing thoughts and focus on the present moment.
Yoga is often beneficial for those who have trouble sleeping. Trouble sleeping is usually linked to anxiety and an inability to relax. Yoga uses breathing practices to calm and clear the mind. Deep breathing practices also allow one to ease into the poses and to reduce anxiety. If you have trouble sleeping, it’s a good idea to practice yoga before you go to bed each night.
At times it can feel like the modern world isn’t so great for our posture! From desk jobs to lounging on the sofa, it’s easy to fall into bad habits. We aren't always aware that we have a bad posture, and over time, this means that the issues only get worse. Practicing yoga can allow you to improve your posture and get into better habits when you go about your day to day life.
Yoga helps to boost endorphins in the body and thus helps us to feel happier and more positive overall. Exercise is one of the main ways to up your endorphin levels and so when you’re feeling a little low- there’s no better go- to! Sometimes it can be a little hard to fit exercise in. Try to put aside just a small amount of time each day (as this is better than nothing)! Simple changes like getting up half an hour earlier each morning can make a world of difference to your schedule.
Reduces blood sugar
Yoga is proven to boost good cholesterol and lower bad cholesterol. For those with diabetes, yoga can lower blood sugar by reducing adrenaline and cortisol. As well as this, by enhancing sensitivity to insulin. With lower blood sugar, you’ll reduce the chances of kidney failure or heart attacks.
We all know that self-care is important for our bodies and minds both. Yoga is an excellent act of self-care because it allows you to feel at one with the earth, connect your body and mind, and practice a healthier lifestyle. When you get into good habits with exercise, you’ll be more likely to improve your diet also. Good routines can take a bit of willpower to establish, yet once they are in motion, you’ll feel increased positivity and self-esteem.
Wife, mother, grandma, blogger, all wrapped into one person, although it does not define her these are roles that are important to her. From empty nesters to living with our oldest and 2 grandchildren while our house is rebuilt after a house fire in 10/2018 my life is something new each day.