Getting into the rhythm of a routine yoga practice can seem like a tall order at first. But once you realize all of the awesome things yoga has to offer, you might feel a bit more motivated to get into it. It helps to establish what you want to gain out of your practice. If you're looking to improve your flexibility or mental space, a daily practice may fit your needs better. But if you're not ready to dive it, take it one day at a time and gradually increase until you hit your target frequency.
Yoga is a physical, mental and spiritual practice. Its aim is to create an alliance between mind, body, spirit and the universe. And although there are different styles and approaches, each holds this union at its very core. Yoga is as flexible as you allow it to be. It's for men and women and children--all ages, all sizes, all beliefs. You can choose to do in person classes, virtual classes, YouTube videos, books or any other method that works for you. Because it is your practice and you have the power to conduct it in a way that is pleasing and nurturing for you.
Now that we're clear on the definition and goal of yoga, we can get into the reasons to start a yoga practice. Of course, the decision is up to you, but these benefits are too good not to share with you.
Improved Brain Health
A busy world creates a busy mind. Yoga gives your brain an opportunity to slow down and anchor in the moment. You may notice improved concentration over time, better mood and increased neuroplasticity. Increasing neuroplasticity or your brain's ability to adapt, means your brain can age more slowly.
Sleep is a basic human need. And when we're not well rested things can go left quickly. Not only does inadequate sleep speed up the aging process, it also can make for quite the attitude. Yoga's attention on breath and movement teaches your body how to regulate energy. You can activate your parasympathetic nervous system which will relieve nervous energy, promote relaxation and calm yourself so that you can get to more restful and restorative sleep.
Decreased Stress and Anxiety
Yoga's focus on breath and presence can help reduce stress and anxiety. It also allows you to examine your inner self and your responses to stimuli. Certain poses, like forward bends and front body openers, are great at getting feel good hormones to release in the brain. You'll likely notice an improved mood and an overall feeling of well being the longer you continue practicing yoga.
As you master poses and are able to take deeper or more advanced variations of poses, you will feel more confident and capable. The deeper you go into your practice the stronger you become, inside and out. The improvements and mastery we achieve is a reminder of our capability and fortitude. Enhanced self-confidence and self-esteem are welcome side effects of yoga no matter your existing confidence level.
Improved Bone Health
A surprising benefit of a yoga practice is stronger bones. As we age our bones can lose density and we can develop osteoporosis and osteopenia. But a daily yoga practice can help to regenerate your bones and strengthen them. Yoga can even help alleviate joint pain, improve joint flexibility and increase joint function. Our bodies are made for movement, so the more we move, the better our bodies tend to do.
Hopefully we've inspired you to give yoga a try. It's really amazing to see your body, mind and spirit working in unison to create a freer and more purposeful version of yourself. Even if you start with just five minutes a day, just start somewhere. We're always rooting for you.