YOGA is great on so many levels and it’s something everyone can do. No matter what your age or fitness levels you will see improvements within a few sessions.
If you’ve always wanted to give it a try, here are my top reason to making yoga part of your life – right now.
It makes you feel good
Exercise encourages the release of endorphins which make you feel fab-u-lous but yoga does more than just encourage the release of these powerful chemicals. The combination of breathing correctly and moving slowly with awareness will ensure you leave the room feeling taller, leaner and calmer.
It’s good for stress
Stress is the curse of the modern world and something that we all feel to some degree. But time on the yoga mat really does help. When you’re at one with your body and breath you’re able to relax which lowers the levels of the stress hormone cortisol meaning those stresses and strains simply melt away.
It encourages you to breathe properly
You may not realise it but there’s a good chance that you don’t breathe correctly. Bad posture and being stressed all contribute to shallow breathing which can decrease the amount of oxygen available to the body which has huge health implications. Yoga teaches you to breathe fully which strengthens the major organs including the lungs as well as improving digestion and increasing energy levels.
It tones your body
The physical asanas you practice during yoga tone and strengthen the body. The poses use every muscle in the body meaning you get a full and balanced workout. Because many of the poses encourage you to hold your own body weight you will be super strong in no time.
It helps with the battle against cellulite
As well as fighting the dreaded cellulite by eating well and drinking plenty of water yoga can help too. It tightens, tones and lengthens the muscles making the skin look smoother. Any of the inverted poses help aid the lymphatic system which literally helps to flush out the toxins and stimulate the fatty areas to break up and move out. My favourite inverted pose is ‘legs up the wall’ – this easy peasy pose is restorative and great for combating cottage cheese thighs.
It aids a good night’s sleep
Gentle, physical activity has been proved to help you sleep better. Because most classes will finish with a wind down session your mind should feel clearer and quieter which will help you to drop off more easily – and sleep more deeply.
It’s a useful pain relief tool
Studies have shown that practicing yoga reduced pain for people with conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis, auto-immune diseases and hypertension as well as other chronic conditions such as back and neck pain. It’s physical therapy for the whole body.
It improves flexibility
Sadly many people say they can’t do yoga because they’re not flexible enough – but that’s the exact reason you should give it a go! You will become more flexible with regular practice as you begin to use your body’s muscles correctly. Yoga also helps to improve the body alignment resulting in better posture which in turn can relieve back, neck, joint and muscle problems.
It improves posture
Most Westeners sit down far too much and this contributes to all manner of health complaints. Because yoga is all about alignment you will learn the importance of standing and sitting correctly. Many people have reported that they ‘grow’ after they start doing yoga regularly. Of course they haven’t physically grown but because their body has uncurled and they’ve learnt how to stand properly – perhaps for the first time in years it gives some extra height. Bonus.
You’ll be in company of A-listers
Every week a new celebrity extolls the many virtues of yoga and it’s not a rare thing to see a big celebrity walking to a class with their mat under their arm. Russell Brand, Sting, The Beckhams, Gisele Bundchen, Madonna and Jennifer Aniston and are all fans. Well if it’s good enough for them…
It can really help with childbirth
Pre-natal yoga makes you feel great when you’re expecting and has the added bonus of helping with childbirth. During a pregnancy yoga class you will learn the best positions to deal with labour and delivery – as well as breathing techniques that really help. New research carried out by the University of Manchester has found that even one yoga class cuts anxiety by a third and that after two months of attending classes women were less scared about giving birth.
You meet lovely people
I’ve been teaching for eleven years now and can honestly say I’ve met some of my best friends through teaching. Yoga generally attracts lovely people and the good vibes are extended to all.