Since most of my Yoga students are beginners, I thought it might be beneficial to write about why I (and many others) think Yoga is so flippin’ great. I know a lot of people really want to try it but haven’t gotten around to it for one reason or another, and I’m here to say, “There’s no time like the present! Do Yoga NOW!” I know that may seem a bit pushy, but I don’t care if you take my class or someone else’s class (odds are if you don’t live near me, you won’t be taking my Yoga class at this present moment), but Yoga is SO GOOD FOR YOU! I just want to be a part of the movement that helps more beginner yogis (or people who have never tried it before) better understand why they should try it without hesitation. I personally have so much respect for the discipline as a whole, and I honestly think that everyone could do with a bit more Yoga in their lives.
Now, there are already a vast amount of articles on this topic all over the internet with a lot of scientific research backing up the theory that Yoga is very good for you (a few of which I’ve listed down below). This made me wonder why people are still skeptical about trying Yoga for themselves. Are they afraid its too difficult? Do they not like change? Are they worried people will make fun of them for trying something new? To me, these are not very good reasons, so I figured I would give it a go and try my best to bring awareness to those who are STILL skeptics (even after all the research, studies, and physical proof).
5 Reasons Why You Should Practice Yoga
1. It gets your body in serious shape!
Since I started practicing Yoga, I’ve been in the best physical shape of my life. I have a lot more upper body strength due to all the weight baring that we do on our arms, I have stronger legs (not as strong as when I was dancing full time, but it has helped to gain back some of the strength that I had lost), stronger core muscles (central abdominal muscles and others surrounding those), better alignment, and knowledge of how to maintain all of the above. As a beginner, you won’t see these changes right away, but if you do practice regularly (even once a week), you will see a difference!
2. It will help to reduce stress!
Practicing Yoga requires you to focus on yourself. At the beginning and end of class, you are called to bring your focus internally. During the physical aspect of class, you are called to concentrate as you hold each pose in the correct way. If you are focusing your mind on the task at hand (which would be the yoga class you are taking in this particular instance), then you are NOT focusing on the aspects of your life that cause you stress. Yoga requires your full attention, and regardless of whether or not you can actually provide your full attention to the practice just yet (we all have trouble with focusing at first), with consistent practice, your mind will eventually get there. Just think of how you will feel if you train your mind to be able to just release all that stress and solely focus on the present moment. Just think of how wonderful that would feel! That is the power of Yoga!
3. It makes us more compassionate.
I remember when I first started taking Yoga classes, I had a really difficult time listening to the message that the instructor would give us at the beginning of class. This was mainly because I was young, in college, and I had a few difficulties with my instructor (issues that stemmed from my own insecurities). This eventually faded for me when I matured a bit and started to understand more about myself. Anyway, the beginning of each class is carefully crafted by your instructor with love and kindness. He or she wants you to be able to take something away from his or her class. They don’t just want to help your physical body, but they want to help cultivate more self-love and kindness towards others. A world where we are all kinder to each other is something that we can all use right now, and developing those skills within ourselves is the perfect way to start.
4. It improves organ function.
This may be a little hard for some people to swallow, but many studies have shown this to be true. Yoga calls for you to breathe more deeply and with purpose. It requires you to breathe through your movement, which in turn, improves your overall circulation. The combination of finding your breath, moving your body in a certain way (carefully premeditated by your certified Yoga instructor), training your mind to focus on one thing at a time, building strength, and gaining flexibility will provide your body with a better chance of allowing your organs to function properly. I mean, just looking at your lungs for instance, the more you practice deep breathing, the better your lungs will get at breathing more deeply. Your lung capacity will grow, and you will be able to have longer inhales and exhales. As for your other organs, the improved circulation of your blood flowing will allow them to receive what they need to perform better. Again, this is something that will come in time, so be patient with yourself and the results will appear in time.
5. Yoga makes you happy!
If you don’t try Yoga for any other reason besides this one, then I’m totally fine with that. We could ALL use a little more happiness in our lives. Just like most physical exercise, asana practice (the physical practice of Yoga) on a regular basis will increase serotonin levels, which improves your mood and makes you happy! Not to mention the fact that you are becoming less stressed, getting your body into awesome shape, breathing more deeply, and feeling the wonderful effects of kindness & compassion. Generally, people who practice Yoga regularly are happier people overall. Don’t you want to be one of those people? I know I do!!! :)
Final Thoughts: There are so many other reasons why Yoga is great, but I invite you to find those out for yourself! Get into a Yoga class and see what all the fuss is about. I don’t care if its my Yoga class, or any one that you can find, just try it out if you can (preferably a beginner level class with a certified instructor if you’re just starting out). I promise, you won’t be sorry!
Sources/articles to back up these claims:
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