Posted on April 04, 2019 by Kate Gordon
Thinking about giving yoga a try, but not really sure what it’s all about? Yoga practice combines both a strong spiritual and meditation element alongside many physical benefits. Yoga focuses on strength training and flexibility, and with postures that improve your body from the inside out, you won’t just look good but also feel good too.
Yoga is a hugely powerful activity, so both muscle and bone strength are boosted, leading to joint longevity and a healthier body structure. Blood circulation is improved and therefore more efficient. Yoga lowers your blood pressure while increasing your heart rate, enriching and cultivating the organs over time.
Yoga has even been linked to improved immune system functionality: scientific research suggests that continued practice can encourage the body to raise and lower antibody levels, depending on the circumstances. Antibodies respond to outside threats such as viruses and vaccines and adapt the bodies functions appropriately.
The great thing about yoga is that you don’t have to be taking part in daily sessions to start seeing the physical and mental benefits. Practicing once a week over a long period is a great place to start and perfectly achievable when looking to fit it into a busy schedule. Not only will you begin to feel stronger all over, but you leave your sessions feeling revitalized, if not superhuman.
Without mindfulness, yoga is merely a routine of stretching exercises. Finding the balance between the physical and mental side is hugely important in order to get the most from it. Yoga has deep-seated roots in meditation and therefore strongly linked to happiness and positive thinking.
One study found that consistent yoga practice improved depression and led to a significant increase in serotonin levels and a decrease in the levels of monoamine oxidase and cortisol.Breathing is mastered, before any kind of pose is done, bringing your mind back to focus on the now. As your breathing slows, your body relaxes, allowing the systems to relax too. In doing so, it will give you time to focus on the present and release pent-up stress or anxiety.
An important mental benefit is the effect yoga has on our sleep cycle. Our lives are full of stresses and yoga can provide a relief from day to day duties. Sleep is obviously a key component in human wellbeing: without it we cannot function. Regularly taking part in a yoga class will train the mind to let go and relax, so when it is time to head to bed, you will welcome sleep with open arms.
When and where to do yoga?
There’s a yoga style and class to suit everyone. Choose a yoga style that suits your lifestyle, with choices such as hot yoga, power yoga, relaxation yoga, prenatal yoga and more. How and where you learn can also be tailored to your goals and needs. For some, yoga is a personal and private experience, whereas for others it is a means of social interaction and confidence boost.
If you’re a beginner, going with friends or to a studio for a session is a great way to introduce yourself to the yogi community, it should also land you in the midst of like-minded people who are as equally nervous or unconfident to try a new hobby as you are. On the other hand, practicing yoga alone, in your own space, can be extremely rewarding, relaxing and unique. With such strong links to mindfulness and meditation, yoga should and can be anything you want it to be.
Find somewhere to practice where you feel at your most comfortable and take it from there. We wish you well on your yoga journey!