I practice yoga daily, it’s a choice I made a while ago, it’s my one non-negotiable every day. It’s my chance to shut everything else out and to be present on my mat. I’m often asked why I practice yoga over other sports and activities so what follows are my 5 Top Reasons To Keep up Your Yoga Practice. Whether a 10-minute stretch or a 60 minute sweaty Vinyasa, no time is too long or too short. It’s about listening to your body and moving in the way it wants to go.
1. It relieves stress!
Yoga is a mind-body practice; combining physical poses with controlled breathing. Yogic breath involves deep breathing, filling the lungs to their maximum. As you breathe deeply in and out through your nose you are expanding and flattening your diaphragm and stomach and increasing your oxygen flow. Breathing like this for even 5 minutes will absolutely calm your mind, nervous system and reduce your stress and anxiety levels.
2. It develops tremendous physical benefits!
Increased flexibility, increased muscle strength and tone are just a few of the physical benefits of yoga, but studies show that a regular yoga practice can be an alternative form of pain relief too. Back pain, arthritic pain and even migraines have proven to be greatly reduced when practicing restorative yoga.
3. Anyone can do it!
There’s a common misconception that you need to be flexible to ‘do’ yoga but there is no right or wrong about the physical practice, you go at your own pace and know your limits. Flexibility comes with time and consistency makes it easier. Yoga is about YOUR journey and over time you will achieve more than you ever thought was possible.
4. You don’t need special equipment or an expensive gym membership!
You can practice yoga from the comfort of your own living room without ever having to see a soul (although I highly recommend attending a regular class for guidance and a sense of community!). All you need is a mat or even a towel. There are so many websites and tutorials online that will teach you. Some even have live classes where a teacher will verbally correct your poses for a few pounds a month. A home practice can be wonderful, allowing you to practice whenever you like and for however long you want.
5. It’s time just for you, to be unapologetically you!
Yoga is the perfect escape from everything and everyone except yourself and the moment. When you are practicing you are in the present, concentrating on your breathing. Nothing else matters apart from the here and now. That thing that’s been niggling at your mind doesn’t matter, the thing that you have to do tomorrow becomes irrelevant. All that matters is you and the space on your mat.
The list goes on! There are so many reasons to keep up your yoga practice but these are some of my favourites. Some people have asked about getting therapy in combination with yoga. If this is the approach you feel is right for you, feel free to read this. Meantime, I hope you’ll grab your mat and meet me in down dog. Namaste!