For me, practicing yoga has always been a bit like going to church — I don’t always want to go, but I am always glad when I do it. However, recently I made the decision to practice yoga every day. It’s been very rewarding. There are numerous benefits when it comes to doing yoga, but in this post I’ll share eight that I think will persuade you to give it a try.
1. Builds my confidence.
According to Shape magazine, “Confidence feels great on everyone: It makes you feel good, and it makes those around you feel comfortable.”
The article goes on to illustrate 10 yoga poses that will help boost one’s confidence. The first few poses are for beginners and the last few poses are for more advanced yogis. We all have times in our lives where we need an extra shot of confidence.
2. It can be done anywhere.
Yoga can be practiced anywhere. Sure it’s nice to have our own mats and be in a yoga class or in the comfort of our own homes, but yoga can be done wherever we are. I have seen YouTube videos for yoga while traveling, yoga at your desk, yoga at the beach, etc. I enjoy doing videos so I can do a whole practice, but now that I have done enough of them, I can do my own practice anywhere. I don’t need electronics, a mat, or a teacher.
3. I learn to breathe.
An article from health and yoga states that there are tangible benefits from learning and using the full yogic breath. The benefits include:
- Releases acute and chronic muscular tensions around the heart and digestive organs.
- Helps sufferers of respiratory illnesses such as asthma and emphysema to overcome the fear of shortness of breath. It actually increases lung capacity.
- Encourages proper nervous stimulus to the cardiovascular system.
- Dramatically reduces emotional and nervous anxiety.
- Improves detoxification through increased exchange of carbon dioxide and oxygen.
- Amplifies the autoimmune system by increasing the distribution of energy to the endocrine system.
- Calms the mind and creates mental/physical balance.
4. I become aware of my posture.
Since I have been doing yoga, my posture has improved immensely. Every pose and action I have done while practicing yoga has taught me to stand up tall and align my head over heart and heart over pelvis. Even while sitting, I will notice when I am slumping and I will correct it. I have also noticed when I correct my posture my breath deepens and has much better flow.
5. It doesn’t have to be expensive.
I have never actually paid to do yoga. First, a friend gave me her yoga mat that she never used and then my sister bought me a new yoga mat. I wear clothes I already have: usually sports bra, tank top, and yoga capri pants. I don’t drive anywhere. I usually practice yoga in my house. I have never paid for a class. I have attended free classes occasionally. However, I usually follow along with Yoga With Adriene. There are a lot of good videos out there, but she is my favorite teacher. Her videos are free and they have a wide range of choices: beginner, toning, stretching, confidence boosting, morning and evening routines, etc.
6. I become more mindful.
While doing yoga, I learn to live in the moment. When I first started practicing yoga, I was tempted to rush and often felt impatient. I would also check the time a lot. I kept checking to see how much of the video was left. As I have continued my journey with yoga, I have learned to slow down my mind. I focus on my breath and the movement. Sometimes, I am not moving at all but am in a still position and just focusing on my breath. It’s wonderful. To be able to slow down my mind and focus on one thing at a time is beneficial in all areas of my life.
7. I become leaner and stronger.
I noticed right away when I started doing yoga that the practice uses a lot of one’s own weight as resistance. For example, if you are doing a plank or downward dog, you are holding up your own weight. It’s gotten much easier the more I do it because I am getting stronger. I also feel leaner and my clothes are a little looser. According to Health, if you are looking to be lean and look terrific, there is no quicker way to achieve this than through a regular yoga routine.
8. Yoga helps relieve stress
Prevention states, “During periods of transition, the holidays, or anytime life starts to get a little complicated, a quick yoga break (even just 10 minutes, if that’s all you have) can take the edge off.”
I can tell you from personal experience that yoga absolutely does reduce stress. I can usually feel stress manifest itself in my shoulders. It’s amazing to me how just one yoga practice can release the stress in my shoulders. I find myself mentally lighter and physically more relaxed.
Yoga is wonderful for so many reasons. There are many more benefits than the ones I listed above. If you haven’t tried yoga before, please do. There are practices as short as 10 minutes. If you have tried it before, please try to do it more consistently. I am, and the benefits I continue to see are completely worth it.
Featured photo credit: Lushlifegarden.com via flickr.com