Why Practice Yoga?
Yoga is an ancient practise and has been aroung fro possibly thousands of years in one form or another and it seems to only be growing in popularity with an explosion of yoga studios and classes in the 2000's, it has been the 2020's exercise of choice while we have all spent time at home. Yoga is in many ways a very simple practice to take up, despite what all the instragram pictures would have you believe you don't need anything fancy, just clothes you can move in, and maybe a mat but many studios including our have mats that can be borrowed for free. So if you are yet to jump on the yoga bandwagon but still need convincing here is my take on why to practice yoga.
If you are looking for physical benefits, there are hundreds of ways you could move your body. Similarly, If you are looking to calm your mind, reduce stress or anxiety, there are also lots of different things to try.
There are not a lot of modalities that incorporate the body, mind and and spirit. Yoga can be thought of as a full package in that way!
The work yoga in Sanskrit means to yoke, or to connect, think of a horse yoked to a cart. We connect, breath with movement, mind, with body, body with soul, soul with what is divine for you - maybe it’s a higher body or simply nature. Maybe it’s the idea of a oneness with all beings, or maybe it is your greatest self - the person that you know you can be.
With this union, or yoke, we cannot steer. If our horse is not connected to our cart we are not going anywhere. This connection is perhaps the greatest benefit of a yoga practice. Through yoga we can get back in touch with our bodies and the wisdom that comes with that. The bodies are not just vessels for the brain after all.
Different styles of yoga focus on different things, some are more physical and some are more mental or even spiritual.
The benefits of a physical practice that have been scientifically proved include:
· Improved balance and flexibility
· Increased strength
· A possible reduction in inflammation in the body
· Possible reduction in chronic pain
· Improved breathing
· Better heart health
· May reduce migraines
The scientifically proved mental benefits include:
· Reduced stress
· Reduced anxiety
· Possible reduction in depression
· Improved quality of sleep
· Possible overall improvements to quality of life
These are just the benefits that have scientific studies to back them up, yoga practitioners all have a list of the ways that yoga has improved their life. While these benefits alone are a great reason to practice yoga, there flow on effects make such a difference in people’s life. For example, increased body strength and balance is so important as we age, especially in New Zealand where our rates of osteoporosis are so high. Maintaining strength in the body reduce osteoporosis markers and balance and stability means less chance of falls.
The mental benefits will all start building on themselves as well, better sleep means better reaction times, better decision making, reduced stress and reduced anxiety which in turn will keep improving that sleep quality. Not being tired leads to making better food choices as we are not looking for that sugary, carb loaded snack to get us through our next meeting or play group, in turn we don’t get an afternoon blood sugar slump. We might find we can eat more mindfully, choosing to fuel ourselves with food that is giving us more nutrient dense.
Some people will feel amazing after just one yoga class, while for others it will take a little longer. If you have specific goals you want to work towards or health limitations you are working around or within feel free to reach out, we have a highly qualified range of teachers on staff including a trainee yoga therapist (think physiotherapy but using yoga), a qualified nutritionist, a trained hypnotherapist and an addictions and rehabilitation specialist.
Let us know why you practice yoga.