There are a ton of great benefits to having a yoga practice, and it is in the regularity of your practice that you will find these benefits in their most potent form.
“Regular” doesn’t mean practicing yoga daily either. You could practice once a week, it’s the significance of your putting aside that time to practice every week which is a huge step towards reaping all the yummy, great stuff yoga has to offer. Your body and mind will sink into that routine and be able to snack on it all week long.
The best news is that you can get your mitts on these benefits without forming the shape of a pretzel! Yoga is not just the physical practice of bending into a shape that looks similar to your five year olds shoe laces. Yoga is also about controlling your breath and learning how to sit still. It is about clean eating, healthy reasoning, building strong morals and ethics and gaining strength in your body, organs and mind.
Here are just a few of the benefits you could be tapping into with a regular yoga practice:
1. Stress relief
The breath work alone in yoga can bring your blood pressure down from boiling point. Pair that with some slow methodical movements and the stretching out of tension in the muscles and you’ve got yourself an all natural, and very powerful stress reliever.
2. Better sleep
The sleep benefits born from yoga begin with the breath control, meditative qualities and the reduction of tension.
3. Clearer memory and decision making skills
In yoga classes we use a lot of inversions (where your head is below your heart), this increases blood flow to the head and thus nourishes your brain, making decisions and memory more clear. We also become contemplative for a few moments before and after any form of the practice. A long “Savasana” meditation is encouraged at the end of each practice. This enables you to take space apart from the world and can realign your entire day. (Plus you are literally lying on your back as if about to nap heaven!)
4. Fewer injuries
Keeping your body limber and active is important in any form of preventative care. Many athletes use yoga as a way to prevent injury in their chosen sport as it creates suppleness in the tissues and opens the body up in ways that prepare us for more vigorous activities.
5. Better digestion
The clean eating tradition in yoga is very much alive and is definitely the biggest aid in improving digestion. However the twists and compressions in yoga help massage your digestive tract in ways that encourage a healthy level of digestive juices and therefore a healthy Gastro Intestinal Tract. Also the act of becoming aware of what you put in your body can help you to make wiser food choices and eliminate irritants from your digestive system overall.
6. More energy
Working out in general will supply you with more energy no matter what kind of exercise it is. Yoga provides a type of energy that is cool, calm and collected. It will help you cruise through your day and then sleep like a baby.
Sounds great to me... so grab a mat (and your limbs) and get into your downward facing dog as soon as possible! You will be feeling great in no time at all!