03 Sep Yoga Is More Than Flexibility: Here Are The Benefits Of Yoga
For so many people, each day is a juggling act, balancing work, family, friends, and relationship commitments. All the while struggling to find enough hours in the day to fit everything else in.
This can leave you feeling stretched in many directions, and if you’re not careful, stressed and exhausted.
As an ancient practice, yoga has a lot to offer our busy modern lifestyles.
Physical benefits of yoga
- Flexibility: Yoga practice can improve flexibility, increase muscle tone, improve your breathing and help to bring the body into balance.
- Strength: Research has shown that during a practice like yoga or meditation your body releases chemicals into the bloodstream. Bringing you a sense of well-being and contentment.
- Improve overall health: Yoga reduce stress, improve sleep, and often acts like a powerful therapy. As a result this can help heal relationships, conquer fears, and boost your outlook on life.
Mental benefits of yoga
- More positive outlook: Yoga and meditation build awareness. Yoga appears to reduce anger by increasing feelings of compassion by calming the nervous system.
- Empathy: You can also use your yoga practice to cultivate feelings of compassion. Compassion strengthens the connection to yourself and others.
- Feel a sense of belonging: One of the key ingredients for a long, healthy and happy life is being connected to the emotional support of friends, family, and community. A regular yoga practice helps develop friendliness, forgiveness, and greater equanimity.
Yoga for women
- Support: A consistent yoga practice can support women of any age. Physically, emotionally and spiritually through their lives. It’s important to find a practice and yoga style that resonates with you.
- Mindfulness: Learning to watch the breath and stay in the moment can improve concentration and help you interact with others more mindfully. If you suffer from PMT, mindfulness techniques can help empower you with the tools to ride the emotional wave of your monthly cycle. There are also restorative postures that can help alleviate physical discomfort.
- Slow down: Yoga can help to still the fluctuations of the mind. In other words, it slows down the repetitive and often negative mental patterns. Frustration, regret, anger, fear, and desire all cause stress.
- Build self-esteem: Too many of us suffer from chronic low self-esteem. If you take a positive approach like practicing yoga and meditation, you’ll begin to sense and experience a feeling of wholeness. A regular practice of self-inquiry generates feelings of gratitude, empathy, and forgiveness. As well as a sense that you’re part of something bigger.
5 simple tips that you can start practicing today
- Follow the breath: Slow down your inhale and exhale to 4 seconds each and observe your breath moving in and out through your nostrils. Do this practice for at least 5 minutes to calm and centre yourself.
- Stay in the present moment: Keep your awareness anchored to this moment, observing and responding to what is right in front of you. Be wary of dragging in past events or expectations for the future into the situation.
- Dedicate a space and time for yourself: Create a space at home where you can go and sit or practice. Even if it’s just for a few minutes each day.
- Commit to a practice: Find something that works for you and commit to it. Whatever style of yoga or meditation that speaks to you.
- Enjoy the journey: Life is a long and winding road and know that no effort on the path is ever wasted!
Everything in yoga is connected and can have such a profound, positive effect in all areas of life. From your physical health and mental wellbeing, your interactions with family and friends. And even your career.
Written by Duncan Peak