Let's go behind the scenes on what yoga is and how it can benefit you.
The word “yoga” essentially means, “union.” Union means it brings you to the ultimate reality, where individual manifestations of life are surface bubbles in the process of creation.
“It is through this body that we have been given, that our soul experiences the world. By deepening our knowledge of our body and mind, we gift our soul a richer experience in this extraordinary world.” (online yoga school)
In yoga practices we find up and down, forward and backward and side to side movement. Moving our bodies into new shapes will actively change the way we look at our lives. Putting ourselves into shapes will influence the way we process incoming information. The practice of yoga postures is called asanas in Sanskrit means to to sit and breathe. (Eddie Stern). If you all read my bio, you will know already that I started out with Bikram yoga (26 postures in a hot room). The very 1st day I wanted to run out of the room I disliked it so much, but I kept at it because it was mentally making me feel better and I was seeing such a change in my body. I currently practice Vinyasa (the linking of breath and movement) which I adore. This is what I want you all to realize, try all different types of yoga to find what works best for you. I prefer Vinyasa as it is a “flow” (move your body with your breathe). When I started vinyasa I would constantly just focus on what is the next pose and when am I getting out this. Then I started to notice I was doing that and forgetting to breathe, which that is ok. Acknowledgement of that was a step in my journey. I have said this many times, yoga is about the journey not the end point. Just as any practice, maybe you are more of gym person or crossfit, or dance. It’s about enjoying every present moment in your practice. I can talk about postures all day, but wanted to talk a bit about the inner part of yoga and what it is doing for you via postures, breathing, and meditation. Below are a few benefits from doing yoga that I found in yoga journal with my witty comment next to it ;)
1. Improves your flexibility (touch those toes, baby)
Improved flexibility is one of the first and most obvious benefits of yoga. During your first class, you probably won't be able to touch your toes, never mind do a back bend. But if you stick with it, you'll notice a gradual loosening, and eventually, seemingly impossible poses will become possible.
2. Builds muscle strength (which way is the beach, muscle flex)
Strong muscles do more than look good. They also protect us from conditions like arthritis and back pain.
3. Perfects your posture (stand straight for that selfie photo shoot)
Poor posture can cause back, neck, and other muscle and joint problems. As you slump, your body may compensate by flattening the normal inward curves in your neck and lower back. This can cause pain and degenerative arthritis of the spine. Yoga practice will correct your posture.
4. Protects your spine (no one wants to be in a walker at 42)
5. Makes you happier (which you can virtually spread at Happy Hour later)
One study found that a consistent yoga practice improved depression and led to a significant increase in serotonin levels and a decrease in the levels of monoamine oxidase (an enzyme that breaks down neurotransmitters) and cortisol. At the University of Wisconsin, Richard Davidson, Ph.D., found that the left prefrontal cortex showed heightened activity in meditators, a finding that has been correlated with greater levels of happiness and better immune function.
6. Lowers blood sugar (Sugar is worse than Carol Baskin)
Yoga lowers blood sugar and LDL ("bad") cholesterol and boosts HDL ("good") cholesterol. In people with diabetes, yoga has been found to lower blood sugar in several ways: by lowering cortisol and adrenaline levels, encouraging weight loss, and improving sensitivity to the effects of insulin.
7. Helps you focus (to stay present and not drink Clorox)
An important component of yoga is focusing on the present. Studies have found that regular yoga practice improves coordination, reaction time, memory, and even IQ scores..
8. Gives you peace of mind (don't let you ego run your life, tell it to F off))
Yoga slows down the mental loops of frustration, regret, anger, fear, and desire that can cause stress. And since stress is implicated in so many health problems—from migraines and insomnia to lupus, MS, eczema, high blood pressure, and heart attacks—if you learn to quiet your mind, you'll be likely to live longer and healthier.
9. Increases your self-esteem (walk the runway and know you are a queen and or king)
Many of us suffer from chronic low self-esteem. If you handle this negatively—take drugs, overeat, work too hard, sleep around—you may pay the price in poorer health physically, mentally, and spiritually. If you take a positive approach and practice yoga, you'll sense, initially in brief glimpses and later in more sustained views, that you're worthwhile or, as yogic philosophy teaches, that you are a manifestation of the Divine.
10. Helps you serve others (doesn't mean serve your best cocktail, let's change the world)
Karma yoga (service to others) is integral to yogic philosophy. And while you may not be inclined to serve others, your health might improve if you do. A study at the University of Michigan found that older people who volunteered a little less than an hour per week were three times as likely to be alive seven years later. Serving others can give meaning to your life, and your problems may not seem so daunting when you see what other people are dealing with.
As you can see there are so many benefits to yoga. I am not here to force anyone to do yoga, but I will say try it if it intrigues you. During this downtime I have really found myself opening up to my practice more, diving deeper into what actually is yoga. I appreciate all that are following my journey and I hope to help going forward. I am currently taking my teacher certification so once that is complete I can be more professional ;)
MUCH LOVE XO