I have been doing yoga on and off for a number of years now and I still think it is one of the best forms of exercise out there. It’s got tons of amazing health benefits for both the body and the mind. This month I have been enjoying the YouTube yoga videos on the Yoga With Adriene channel rolling out my mat each day to do the True 30 Days Of Yoga series. I am definitely feeling the benefits of a regular practice after only two weeks so I thought I would share with you all the awesome things that come from taking up yoga.
Yoga is an awesome natural energy booster. Many mornings I have woken up feeling a little meh, but as soon as I’m flowing through the yoga poses I feel wide awake and alert. Yoga gets the blood circulating around the body so a fresh supply of oxygen to the brain is going to make you feel totally energized and ready for the day ahead.
A common misconception is that you need to be super flexible to practice yoga. As Adriene will tell you in the videos, yoga is suitable for any ages and any level of fitness. The more you practice however, the more supple your muscles will become and flexibility will gradually increase over time. It’s all about progression not perfection.
There are so many poses in yoga which improve strength and help to tone your body. The ones which spring to mind right now are downward dog, plank pose, side plank, boat pose and chair pose. In yoga, you use your own body weight as resistance and this is great for building muscle and improving strength. It is so satisfying to return to the mat each day feeling a little stronger than the day before.
Yoga is amazing for your lymphatic system which plays a vital role in immunity. Lymph vessels transport white blood cells around the body which attack bacteria and fight off infections. A well functioning lymphatic system means you are less likely to catch colds and viruses as your body’s defense mechanisms are working well.
Clarity & Focus
Yoga is so good for quietening the mind and letting distracting thoughts fade into the background. As you focus on the poses and breathing, patience and concentration improves – a skill which you can take with you off the mat with you into your everyday life. After yoga, I always feel calm and focused and ready to have a productive day.
Yoga is a fantastic type of exercise to consider if you are trying to lose weight as it works with both the body and the mind. The physical postures in yoga strengthen and tone which helps to transform the shape of your body. Also, if you are feeling calm, balanced and in control, you are more likely to make good healthy food choices instead of eating out of stress or bordem.
A yoga routine can detox both your body and your mind. Physically, yoga is great for stimulating the digestive system and cleansing the liver which removes toxins from the body. Mentally, yoga helps to dispel negative thought patterns and retrains your mind to think positively and optimistically. Yoga can give you an amazing detox better than any sort of restrictive diet.
Reduces Stress & Anxiety
Yoga reduces stress and anxiety by lowering blood pressure and regulating important hormones. An interesting study conducted in 2010 published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine found that those who regularly practiced yoga had increased levels of the amino acid GABA. This neurotransmitter is associated with improved mood and decreased anxiety. Gotta love a bit of science.
Among the many benefits of yoga, a restful sleep is one of them. There are tons of yoga poses and sequences which calm the mind and reduce anxiety leaving you feeling calm and relaxed. Sleep is so important as it is the time when our body removes toxins and undergoes cellular repair – so adding some yoga into your life does wonders for your health overall.
Encourages A Healthy Lifestyle
If practiced regularly, yoga can help enable you to live a healthy lifestyle. It sets the tone for a positive and productive day. It reduces stress and allows you to make good decisions, especially when it comes to eating a nutritious balanced diet. You feel fitter, stronger, happier, healthier and ready to take on whatever life throws at you. So yeah, I think yoga is pretty awesome.
Do you practice yoga? Do you do YouTube Yoga or go to a fitness class? If you are feeling inspired to give it a try, I recommend checking out Yoga With Adriene to find a video which suits you.