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Yoga Health Benefits

Tags: yoga

The great thing about Yoga is that you can start it at any time and requires nothing more than a mat.  These days you can do yoga at home with youtube channels like Yoga with Adrienne, Journey Junkie, and sooo many more.  You can try out different ones until you find one that you like.  

There are benefits of going to a yoga class and being apart of that energy.  You meet like-minded people, have an ambiance in the room, feel the energy from others around you. It’s quite comforting and enjoyable.

Don’t worry, no one is looking at you or judging you.  Part of yoga is focusing on your own body and breathe, so focusing on anyone else is almost impossible if you’re focusing on you. 

You may be intimidated to start yoga because you think you’re not flexible enough (most common), aren’t sure how to even start, think you have to do crow pose or a headstand right off the bat.  Not true, you definitely work your way up the yoga ladder to obtain these poses.

Flexibility is why you do yoga. It helps you to become more flexible over time, you start off by bringing your yoga mat to the floor/studio.  You follow the easy instructions by your instructor and work your way through salutations, poses, and guided meditation. You’ll learn to live for Savasana especially after a class that really pushes you. 

Even more so you’ll learn all the names of each pose in Sanskrit. Not like you have to learn it to have a test or anything like that but rather through repetition in doing yoga on a regular basis.  Words like Asana, Pranayama, Savasana, Chaturanga Dandasana, Utkatasana, Uttanasana to name a few will slowly become second nature. 

Trust me, if you’re new to yoga it will grow on you.  You might even become a yoga fanatic. The first time I tried yoga many moons ago, more like 18 years ago. I fell in love with yoga, from the class to the people, how it made me feel and spiritual connection. All of it!  

I loved it and began going to a yoga class 4-5 times a week.  I lived in the yoga studio for about a year and a half at 4-5 times a week.  We primarily practiced Baptiste Power Yoga. I loved it, hot yoga with a fast-paced flow.  It was a great work out. Then life happened and I tapered off but never truly stopped yoga.

So I continued at home and did my best as this was before youtube and having the ability to stream a class at home.  Then I found other studios and went to classes there for a bit. I prefer smaller classes, more intimate settings, and over time no yoga class fees.  

For the past 2-3 years, I’ve been doing yoga at home with my favorite youtube channelers.  I began with Yoga with Adrienne, love her and her personality. But then I found myself needing a little bit more challenging poses and flow.  I tried a few other channels, I can’t remember them all until I found one I liked. 

That’s when I landed on The Journey Junkie.  Allie’s style is more challenging which is what I need and she has a great back story. She and her husband live on a sailboat and travel the world. So she is constantly filming in different parts of the world; which makes it more interesting for us at home.  

If you set the “mood” at home you can recreate the same atmosphere you would get at a yoga studio, more or less.  You can turn the lights down if you prefer, diffuse essential oils, play yoga music and be in a quiet space. It’s your space you get to do exactly what you like.  

BENEFITS OF YOGA

Another misconception is that yoga is just one type of yoga. But that is not true.  Due to the fact that there are so many types of yoga styles allows it to be truly customizable to what you like.  Try different types to see what speaks to you.  

There are many health benefits of doing yoga, as well.  Don’t be fooled into thinking that yoga is not “real” exercise.  Try a hot or power yoga class and see if you still think the same thing. 

Flexibility

The number one thing yoga will improve your flexibility.  Yoga is a sequence of poses that allow continuous stretching and strengthening of muscles and joints. I’ve also found that regular practice of yoga also improves your posture.  You’ll notice you’re sitting and standing a little straighter. 

Muscle Strength

Do you really build muscle strength in yoga? Absolutely! Take any power yoga or vinyasa class and you will definitely build muscle strength.  You use your own body weight and hold poses that require balance and strength. An added benefit of improving balance. Soon enough you’ll have those yoga toned arms, core, and legs.  This isn’t bulking up per se but you will be toned and strong.

Stress Reducer

Pranayama, Ujjayi breath, and other breathing techniques all help to release stress and focus on your breathe giving you the ability to release stress.  If you don’t feel the stress melt away after doing yoga then you’re doing something wrong.  

Lower Anxiety

Yoga helps to quiet the mind and focus on breathing and being present.  You’ll find that you are able to breathe more deeply and feel less anxious during those moments when anxiety would normally arise. 

Lower Blood Pressure

Yoga has a positive impact on cardiovascular health by improving circulation and physical activity.  It has been studied that it can lower blood pressure, blood sugar, lipids. Of course, you’ll still have to make dietary changes to lower lipids, read more about lowering triglycerides here.

Improve Sleep

There are different yoga sequences you can do specifically to help you sleep. The deep breathing you’re doing during yoga helps to calm the nervous system which allows you to relax.  Stretching your body allows the stress you may be carrying for the day to melt away allowing you to be able to settle in and fall asleep. You’ll sleep deeper and be more rested when you wake. I also recommend grounding for more restful and deep sleep. 

Improved Eating Habits

You’ll become more in tune with your body and mind that you’ll slowly start to be more mindful of what you’re eating and putting into your body.  It also makes it easier to move or flow through asanas when you’re not feeling weighed down by bad and heavy foods. A good detox can jump-start your improved eating habits.

Relieve Back Pain/Neck Pain

I can personally vouch for relieving lower back pain.  Having suffered from this for years, I have found the only relief I get is from practicing yoga regularly.  The stretching and building lower back muscles build strength and are the only thing that works for me. I’d rather not have to take ibuprofen every day and I don’t when I’m doing yoga.  

If I stop for a length of time then I will slowly start getting back pain, so back to the mat I go. Honestly, I just feel better all-around when I’m consistently doing yoga.  Like anyone else, I’ll stop for whatever reason or lack of time but then notice the difference right away. 

A little side note: I saw a PT (physical therapist) for my lower back pain years ago.  Know what they had me do?? The exercises they had me do where almost all yoga poses like plank, utkatasana,  cat/cow and other similar poses or stretches. Once I learned this little bit of info all I did was stick to doing yoga for relief and because I enjoy it. 

TYPES OF YOGA

Ashtanga

This style follows a specific sequence of asanas in the same order every time.  If you like routing this is for you. This is a vigorous style similar to Vinyasa. 

Hatha

It is a general term for most types of yoga. It includes Ashtanga, Iyengar, Power yoga and Vinyasa. 

Hot Yoga / Bikram

Hot yoga is just that, HOT! You will sweat to say the very least.  Sequences are not in a certain order as is familiar with Bikram yoga.  Don’t let that fool you as you will sweat both types of classes. 

Kundalini

Meditation, chanting, and breath of fire are found in yoga class.  Kundalini focuses on breathing techniques and the chakras. I’ve found this takes some getting used to and practice from my experience.  In fact, I’m still working on it. 

Restorative

Slow down with this type of yoga.  Use props and stay longer in poses to stretch and restore your body.  If you think you don’t want to do restorative or that it’s for people who can’t do vinyasa, think again.  I thought the same thing until I tried last year for the first time. And wow it was amazing. If you like doing power, hot or more rigorous yoga I recommend incorporating restorative yoga into your weekly routine. It will help you gain more flexibility and restore just as it says.  It feels great and once you try it you’ll definitely do it again.

Vinyasa

By far my personal favorite.  A faster-paced yoga style that flows through poses and focuses on the breath.  You are sure to get a “workout” and sweat with this yoga. Baptiste Yoga that I mentioned above is this type of yoga style. If you’re looking for a challenge and really want to get your heart rate up try this yoga style.

Yin

Yoga targets the fascia or connective tissues of the body, joints, bones. You hold restful postures longer (3-5 minutes) that allow deeper work on your ligaments, tissues, and joints. For a more restful, deeper and calming yoga this is for you.  You’ll improve joint mobility and flexibility too. 

Yoga Props

At any point in time, you can use props to deepen your practice and assist you in different poses.

At first, you may think I don’t need those (thinking its a crutch of some kind) but believe me, it will help build your yoga practice.  I was skeptical at first but when I tried it along with restorative yoga it gave me greater flexibility in poses. Blocks and straps will allow you to become more flexible over time and you’ll be looking like your yoga instructor, performing all asanas with such ease and grace, in no time. 

Blocks

Straps

Bolsters

Yoga Is the Ultimate Self-Care Program

It allows you to reconnect with yourself, body, mind, and soul.  On top of that, you get all the added health benefits too. It’s a win-win.  Plus, you have meditation and reflection built into the practice. You can’t beat it.  

For beginners try a beginner class to learn the postures before a more challenging class. It’s not necessary but it does give you that little bit of knowledge beforehand. Then try different styles of yoga to find what speaks to you. Then build your practice from there.

I wish you peace and guidance on your yoga journey.  Take care and be well.

Namaste.



This post first appeared on Inspire Health And Spirit, please read the originial post: here

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