Last week I wrote a piece about what yoga is (or can be.) I promised a follow up post on the benefits as well so here we go. You will not see flexibility on the list because it seems to be part of any other list of benefits/yoga discussion and I wanted to give space to all the other good stuff.
Before anything we have to do a small reality check: Yoga is not a miracle cure for anything. BUT, you can definitely start getting the benefits from the first class and a regular practise will help you to feel them on a deeper level. You will also not always eagerly skip and hop to every yoga class. Even long term practitioners have moments when they really have to drag themselves onto the mat. We want to be patient with yoga: it is as alive and evolving as everything else in life. But just consider this: Have you ever head anybody regretting going to yoga class?
To the point though. What’s there to gain?
- Improved breath awarenes: We all know to how to breath, but there is a difference between breathing and breathing. In a yoga class you learn to focus on breathing with all your lungcapacity and lenghten your inhales and exhales. This in turn promotes the slowing of the heart rate, lowering of blood pressure and with this you get…
- …lower stress levels!
- Yoga moves your whole body: some poses move many different muscle groups, some just parts of your body. A yoga class is likely to be a combination of these micromovements and bigger ones, all contributing towards a…
- …Improved body awareness. And awareness in general. Remember, you have started your class with breathing, calmed your mind so you are also more receptive to what is going on in your body.
- Strenght building. This happens slowly but surely, as you work through the poses and hold them between 3-5 breaths.
- Increased blood flow: Yoga poses together with the breath makes blood circulate better, bringing oxyganated to the cells. This in turn alleviates symptoms caused by poor circulation such as body fluid retention and/or swelling.
- Improved immunity: Bluntly put, the breathing, twisting and getting in and out of poses you do in a class makes the fluids and organs inside us move, helping the lymphatic system to combat infections and to remove cellular waste.
- Clarity of the mind, focus and relaxation: By know you understand that there is a lot going on during a yoga class, mostly on a subtle level. Your instructor will guide you with your poses and breathing, and after the final relaxation at the end you will feel lighter and rested…
- Which means you will also enjoy a better sleep!
The list could go on and on… You can read more about the benefits here.
Let me know in the comments what benefits you have noticed coming up with your yoga practise?