Yoga is an extremely popular practice around the globe, and that’s because it was made to be accessible to everyone, to heal, strengthen, calm and empower whoever wants to try it, regardless of age, gender, race, size, shape, background and fitness level!
Everyone should try yoga at least once in their life, and here are just a few reasons why this practice is for everyone.
Yoga relieves stress for everyone from any walk of life. Yoga helps to bring attention to our breath, which is the quickest and easiest way to change our mindsets and emotional states. Deeper, fuller breaths help to relax our parasympathetic nervous systems, which in turn helps to alleviate anxiety and tension. Whoever you are, once you try connecting and controlling your breath through yoga, you will notice your stress levels reducing. The mind-body practice of yoga allows for meditation and relaxation and gaining some knowledge of how your mind works is a great long-term stress management technique.
It Strengthens the Body
You might think that yoga is an easy sport, but it actually is hard on the body, after one session you will realize how hard you actually work and how tough you need to be. Yoga uses our own body to support different postures and helps to develop strength by using the core to support and engage the muscles to keep you in the pose. Easy pose usually focuses on a specific group of muscles, and even simple poses can help tone muscle groups all over the body.
It Increases Flexibility
Yoga is great for limbering us up and helping us tap into our flexibility - and anyone can do it! When you start a yoga practice, it’s about stretching and pushing yourself and your limitations. When you start to combine movement and breath, you will find that you can go deeper and deeper into each posture, and you open up more every day. It can take some time, but you’ll see the progress every time you practice. When you let go of tension and lengthen out your body, you’ll feel the amazing benefits.
Yoga Helps You Connect with Yourself
Yoga is a time to connect and tune into your voice. As it’s a non-competitive practice, it encourages you to listen to your mind and your body. And when you get to know yourself on the mat, it will help you be more authentic in the real world. Connecting with your inner voice is very important for your mental health, when you’re able to connect to your inner voice, you can understand your feelings and become more aware of your thoughts, and help process them.
Yoga Can Be Practiced Anywhere
All you need to practice yoga is your body - even mats are optional if you’re happy using the floor. You don’t need any fancy kit of equipment, and you can do it anywhere you are in the world, even if you only have a few minutes. Bringing a mat, if you need to, is easy to carry around and isn’t too cumbersome. You can also use alternatives for props with whatever you have around the house.
Yoga is Adaptable
No yoga practice is ever the same, and it’s not a one-size-fits-all practice. It’s easy to adapt yoga to your body, and although there is a basic outcome and alignment needed for each posture, most of the practice comes from listening to your own body and moving from within.
Yoga is Fun
Yoga lets you channel your inner child, and you get to move your body in all sorts of different ways. It’s one of the only sports when you can let yourself completely be free. There is also a common saying, which is ‘yoga is a practice, not a performance’, which also means that when you are practicing yoga there is no competition also - making it a more fun practice.
Yoga is Low Impact
Yoga is a low-impact exercise that can help to lubricate the joints and massage your muscles. You can practice yoga for the rest of your life, and use it to help you stay young and agile - both physically and mentally. The slow and careful movements improve strength, flexibility, and balance, and it’s ideal if you have injuries. This also means it's great for active recovery. With the focus on breathing and bringing in good energy, it will also help you to rest and let out your negative thoughts and emotions, preparing you for the days ahead.
Yoga can help to boost your confidence by letting you rely on yourself, and help you discover the power of your breath, body, and potential - making you feel stronger and confident. Yoga can also help you to tune into and trust your instincts, leading from your heart and your gut. Learning to listen to your inner voice helps you trust in yourself, filling you with power and kindness.
It’s easy to find a class to fit your needs. There are a lot of yoga styles such as Hatha, Vinyasa, Ashtanga, Power, Bikram, Iyengar, and Yin - to name just a few! It’s easy to find a style and type of yoga that works for you.
This week's classes are for everyone and more specific demographics. There are yoga classes for men, some for those who are aging, one from Dana's Body Positivity yoga program, and one for new moms. These classes are a reminder that while yoga is for everyone, it can be adapted to suit each person's unique needs and body.
By Amy Cavill
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