As the New Year is beginning, I want to share with you 4 Simple Reasons to Practice Yoga.
My journey with yoga began a few years ago. I dabbled with it off and on through the years, but never made a dedication to practice consistently. I was into Crossfit at the time, and honestly loving it, but my muscles were soooo tight. My legs, shoulders, back & chest were so tight & knotted up I was always trying to “work out” the tightness and knots.
My decision to include yoga in my weekly workouts came from me needing flexibility. Seriously, I was BAD! I made a commitment. I began practicing yoga every Wednesday morning for 45 min to 1 hour. Yes, that seems like a long time, and it is at first, but you adapt. I did this for an entire year! Go me!!! Gotta say I was proud because it wasn’t easy.
The last few months of this year I have gotten away from yoga, but it’s back on my agenda for 2018. I may not go as hard and heavy, but it is on my calendar! So, I want to share with you the 4 simple reasons I practice yoga & hope you decide to give it a go in this new year.
4 Simple Reasons To Practice Yoga
I’ve already told you, I needed flexibility. I couldn’t stretch without being in pain & feeling tortured for 1 minute a stretch. Flexibility takes time. I doesn’t happen overnight, sorry. I promise though, one day you will wake up & you won’t feel as tight any more. You begin to move through your day without constant tension in your shoulders, neck, back, etc. Of course, I recommend some kind of stretching every day 😉.
Flexibility is also important as you age. If you don’t take care of it when you’re in your prime, it will only get worse. One thing I’ve discovered while training the aging population, is they all lack range of motion. You take it for granted when you’re young. You can bend over to pick something up without the back of your legs pulling or you can reach up to get something off the top shelf without pulling in your arms. If you don’t work on keeping flexibility in your muscles, simple tasks get harder over time.
I lift weights. I have lifted weights for years. I was strong. I am strong. You may already be strong, but yoga gives you strength like you have never experienced. There is something to holding a pose for 30 seconds or longer. It shows you your weaknesses. You think, “I got this”. Then 30 seconds into the pose, your muscles start to shake & you wonder if it will ever end.
Yoga also strengthens your mind. When you hold a pose longer than you think you can. When you accomplish a pose you’ve never tried. You become stronger in your mind (and body). You will soon be able to accomplish things you didn’t think possible. This does something for your self-esteem too. It just gives you a boost!
This may surprise you…You Will Be Sore! Just givin’ ya a head’s up.
A lot of people I encourage to try yoga say it’s boring. It’s not boring. I promise. It’s very invigorating. It’s challenging, & it takes focus. If you are used to your mind running 100 miles a minute, yes, it’s gonna take time to get use to focusing your mind.
You need to pay attention to your breathing. You have to focus on muscles you’re using. You become more in tune with your body, what is tight, what is hurt, what your strengths and weaknesses are, etc. Being able to calm your mind is also a great benefit that focus brings.
It’s amazing, once you start practicing yoga, your focus in your daily life changes. You can get more accomplished in a day, you will be less antsy, and you’ll be calmer in stressful situations.
This reason is one dreaded by a lot of my clients. I’m not talking balance in life. I’m talking about your balance. For some reason people do NOT like to work on balance. I never thought I needed to work on it, honestly. Practicing yoga showed me I was wrong. You discover muscles in your feet and ankles you didn’t know you had. At first, it’s hard and your feet may cramp, but you soon discover how strong your feet and ankles can become. Yoga also strengthens your core muscles, which are vital for balance.
Why should you worry about balance? One main reason is to keep yourself from falling if you lose your balance. E.g. trip, get pushed in a crowd, miscalculate a step, etc. No one wants to break a leg or hip because they couldn’t catch themselves. Plus, it’s cool to do one-legged poses 😉. (This one is harder than it looks!)
No, these aren’t woo woo benefits to yoga, they are just 4 simple reasons to practice yoga. If you want to improve your flexibility, strength and focus, I encourage you to make a commitment and start including yoga in your workout regimen. Take it slow, don’t get discouraged, & realize this is a journey that benefits your body, mind & soul.
Do you or have you practiced yoga? Share the benefits you enjoy below in the comments.