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When You Start Doing Yoga, These 7 Things Will Happen

When You Start Doing Yoga, These 7 Things Will Happen

Yoga has been practised for thousands of years and when you start doing yoga, it’s easy to see why this practice remains popular. Yoga is designed to rejuvenate the body and mind, and is about focusing on the self. It’s a discipline that grows with you as you become more tuned in with your physical-spiritual connection. It can be easy to forget that yoga is a journey into your self-development and that class shouldn’t be a time to show off. It’s a time to heal, tune-in, see how your practice has evolved, and of course, to have fun!

Here are seven things that will happen when you start practising yoga.

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You’ll learn to let go of what doesn’t serve you

My teacher says this a lot in class and it really is true. As you begin to realise that there is no competition in class and there’s only so far you can push your body, you bring that philosophy into your life. You may also find that old emotions come up during a particular pose. I remember one class when I was so angry, I felt sick and felt like crying and I wondered if there was something wrong with me. Then I found this website which described why we can feel overwhelmed in class. It was helpful to be reminded that yoga entails allowing yourself to heal which means buried emotions resurfacing so they can be released.

You’ll become more confident!

Yoga allows you to connect more deeply with yourself and your body. You start to feel gratitude that you can hold your body weight – especially when doing a vinyasa that incorporates chaturanga! You embrace every part of yourself because you know it’s your body and you CAN do it. You’ll build muscle and tone up places you didn’t even know existed! Here’s a guide to how yoga changes the body over a prolonged period of time.

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You’ll become mindful of the types of food you eat

Maybe it’s the new found awareness of your body, or the detoxing stretches, but something clicks in your brain and suddenly you don’t want to fill your body with chemicals, or eat food loaded with sugar. Me and my friend always joke that the best meal of the week is the post yoga class meal. You feel so good that you want to carry that through into everything. Not only that, but your metabolism improves meaning your body can utilise vitamins and minerals with more efficiency and much more effectively. This study by Shauna E. Keeler describes how those who practised yoga were more mindful of their food choices.

You’ll sleep more deeply

Hooray!! This is something we could all do with more of! This detailed study by Catherine Woodyard shows how yoga contributes to a fuller and sounder nights sleep and is beneficial to all areas of our lives. When you get a good nights sleep, your productivity increases, your stress levels decrease and your cognitive function greatly improves. If you’re having difficulty sleeping The Yoga Journal website has some amazing poses to help you sleep better at night.

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You’ll become mindful of your actions off the mat as well as on the mat

You’ll gain an awareness of how your body reacts in particular situations and you’ll learn how to alleviate the symptoms and find a beneficial solution. You may begin to set positive intentions during the day as well as during class, and as a bonus you may find you’ll have more patience with the flow of life. Here’s what the Harvard Health website has to say about the benefits of yoga off the mat.

You’ll be aware of your breath as a healing tool

Yoga incorporates different breathing techniques that this study in the International Journal of Yoga says “positively affects immune function, autonomic nervous system imbalances, and psychological or stress related disorders”. This means that the techniques taught in a yoga class are far more beneficial than most people think. They can be incorporated into daily life to reduce stress, lower blood pressure and ease anxiety. For example diaphragmatic breathing is great for beginners because you are taught how to consciously breathe by concentrating on how it feels to breathe. If you’re interested in the different types of breathing exercises I recommend reading “Breath Easy: Relax With Pranayama”

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You’ll have less frequent aches and pains

The Harvard Health website states that those who suffer from chronic pain found that their pain lessened with weekly yoga sessions. As someone who suffers from neck and back pain I have definitely found that doing yoga has helped. In fact my neck pain has gone and my back pain very rarely flares up. If you decide that you want to pursue yoga for this reason then remember to speak to your doctor and find a qualified yoga instructor and inform them of your pain or any medical conditions you have. They can work with you to find poses to alleviate your pain.

“Yoga stirs up the comfortable identity you’ve been projecting and peels back why you even want/need that identity in the first place.” – Caren Baginski

The body follows the mind. Yoga is a discipline that allows you to fight past the doubt and realise how your limitations are in the mind. You start to honour yourself and suddenly the negative self-talk doesn’t cut it anymore. Through yoga you come to realise that negativity doesn’t serve you and that it acts as a barrier to all the positive things you can do. You’re empowered to love yourself and feel good about who you are and the progress you make not just in class, but in life too.

Featured photo credit: Hawaii Sunrise AcroRevolution Style via flickr.com

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Last Updated on January 14, 2019

7 Ways To Make Exercise Fun For Everyone

7 Ways To Make Exercise Fun For Everyone

From Atkins to Paleo to eating gluten-free despite not being one of the rare few people afflicted with celiac disease, fad diets are everywhere. It drives me crazy because I believe these diets do more harm than good. Your body is made up of a variety of vitamins, nutrients, and minerals, and losing weight healthily isn’t possible when you fill your body with unnecessary synthetic plastics, sugars, and powders. There’s no easy button in life.

What you need to do is exercise, which isn’t very appealing to many people. Workouts take work, so there’s already a stigma involved in going to the gym. Starting a healthy workout regimen becomes easier when you make it fun. If you want to live long and prosper, get off the couch and try these methods to turn your workout into a playout.

1. Take the scenic route.

Walking is an easy way to transition to a healthy lifestyle, and it’s free. Not only do you burn calories (check out this calculator for how many calories you burn based on your weight), but you see the world in a different way. Hiking in nature is great if you have access to it, but don’t let living in an urban area deter you from walking.

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Whenever I’m creatively stuck I get my head straight by walking a couple of miles. It’s also how I discover new paths, meet new people, and stumble upon hole-in-the-wall spots I never would have found otherwise. You could drive past the same place every day and never appreciate the beauty, nor even notice it’s there.

2. Distract yourself.

No matter what exercise routine you choose, use the time to meditate. You may wonder how marathon runners are able to put so many miles on their bodies. It’s because the pain from running that you avoid is something they’ve learned to harness to enter a transcendental state. If you’re aware of the benefits of meditation and exercise but don’t have time to do both, you can combine them, killing two birds with one healthy stone.

3. Listen to music or podcasts.

There are few experiences in life more pleasurable than turning up the music and drowning out the world around you. With so many podcasts and music apps available on your smartphone, you can easily find entertainment options perfectly suited to your personal tastes. Never worry what people may think of you when working out;instead, crank up the volume and get lost in your own world. You’ll be in shape before you know it.

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4. Bring a friend.

Some people can’t go anywhere alone. While I highly recommend dining out and seeing a movie in a theater alone, having company while exercising is very helpful. It allows you to pace yourself with someone else, and gives you a coach to motivate and push harder than you may have on your own.

Many exercises are safer when done with a friend, and some sports can only be played with another person. Involving others in your goals can mean the difference between success and failure. Just remember to continue exercising if the other person flakes, or they’ll be in control of your health.

5. Accessorize.

There are accessories that can make exercise easier, and sometimes buying a new toy can add some much-needed fun to your routine. With apps like RunKeeper and Nike+, your smartphone is capable of tracking your vitals and progress. Wrist weights can add a new dimension to your workout, and, if you exercise at night, a headlamp can help you see what’s in front of you so you don’t trip.

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For urban runners and power-walkers, one of the biggest obstacles is other people. It’s difficult to get in your meditative zone and enjoy your music when you constantly have to dodge people. To resolve this vexing issue, Runbell, a startup in Tokyo, has developed the runner’s version of the bicycle bell. With this lightweight brass bell warning people you’re approaching from behind, you’re free to maintain your transcendental state while continuing your workout. Head to their Kickstarter campaign to pledge your support.

6. Compete.

A little healthy competition can motivate you to push yourself further in your workout regimen. There are apps like Zombies, Run! which turns your run into a video game, and MyFitnessPal which allows you to connect with others in the exercise community. Whether you’re directly competing with a friend, an online community, or against your previous self, setting goals is the key to reaching them. Running with no destination can feel like an impossible task, and it’s easy to get distracted.

7. Relax.

The best part about exercising is how much you enjoy the downtime. If you think laying on your couch all day is enjoyable, it has nothing on that hour you spend as a couch potato after a rigorous workout. Jay-Z said it best, “in order to experience joy, you need pain.” The harder you push yourself while exercising, the better you’ll feel when you’re relaxing.

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With that said, don’t relax too much, or it loses the effect. It’s okay to indulge every so often. Treat yourself to some junk food you’re craving, imbibe a drink here and there, and spend a day vegging out on your couch. Staying healthy doesn’t have to be torture. Just turn down when you can and dedicate some time to better the health of your body. You only get one.

Featured photo credit: tpsdave via pixabay.com

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