Yoga is a popular form of exercise and relaxation. There are many different types of yoga. Vinyasa Yoga and Power Yoga classes will typically increase your heart rate and increase muscle mass. Restorative Yoga and Yin Yoga classes will allow you to stretch deeply and relax fully. If you’re not sure whether or not you want to start your own practice, maybe the top 5 benefits of yoga will convince you:
- Decrease Stress: when you take time to move your body in mindful ways and focus on the breath, your cortisol levels decrease. Cortisol is the stress-causing hormone that we tend to have way too much of! At the beginning of a yoga class, the first thing a teacher typically cues is to control the breath. As you learn to control your breath through your daily activities, you are able to naturally relax yourself, even in the most stressful of situations.
- Decrease Pain: yoga allows you to move and stretch the body, and when practiced correctly, yoga can eliminate pain throughout your body. More and more doctors across the country are prescribing yoga to patients that are recovering from injury or illness. Stretching the body deeply allows the release of pain and the opening of the body.
- Increase Peace of Mind: the most common word and feeling I hear at the end of a yoga class is “peace”. There is something semi-magical about the transformation that occurs during a good yoga class. I have seen a group of soldiers (naturally reluctant to try yoga) leave a yoga class feeling completely at ease. It is something that you must truly experience!
- Increases Self Care: yoga is a great form of caring for the mind, body, and spirit – but that self care doesn’t end after the yoga class! Through meditation and mindful movement, yoga helps decrease cravings. I have taken numerous classes where I walk in wanting to eat a hamburger instead of practicing yoga, then afterwards my hunger is gone, and I realize that it was just a silly crazing. Next thing I know, I’m picking up healthy groceries and cooking myself a wholesome meal for later that day! When you begin to practice yoga, you put yourself on an upward spiral in the realm of self care.
- Increase Clarity: during a yoga class, you are encouraged to keep your focus on the mat and forget about the world outside. This is known as a moving meditation because your focus is entirely on the body as you move through the poses. This sort of meditation allows your subconscious to process thoughts that were previous stuck in an endless loop in your consciousness. If there was a problem to solve before yoga, you may notice that after yoga the solution becomes clear! Or you may even realize that there was never a problem at all… EIther way, yoga aids in your own mental clarity.
I could go on, but I think these benefits are great enough to convince you to at least give yoga a try. And remember, not all yoga is the same! So if you find that hot power yoga is not right for you, search around for a more relaxing, restorative class. I hope you find as many great benefits by practicing yoga as I did! And if you want to share any of your yoga experiences, please comment below. And to head to your first yoga class, check out Brick House Cardio Club. Namaste!