Let’s discuss what we actually mean with Yoga
Yoga is not a sport, it’s not a workout to get fit.
It’s a holistic approach to life where we see the body, mind and soul connected with each other. A tradition that we have adapted from Indian culture.
Yoga implies different tools to reach the stillness of the mind and live in alignment with the self, with others and nature.
To name just a few, probably the most known are the physical poses (Asanas) that are usually put together in a sequence you’re being guided through.
Another part of Yoga is the practice of breathing exercises (Pranayama). By controlling the breath we can control our mind and our reaction to situations we experience throughout life.
Finally, another aspect of yoga is meditation (Dhyana). To be completely aware of the present moment without being interrupted by the mind running 1.000 thoughts at the same time.
If you would like to learn more about all aspects of Yoga, have a look at this article.
The benefits of practicing Yoga:
1. Build up physical strength and flexibility
Through practising Asanas you will notice your physical body getting stronger. You will build up muscles and open up the facial tissues and tendons allowing you over time to gain more flexibility.
2. Get more flexible in the mind
Not only the physical body is becoming more flexible but also your mind. Notice how you train your mind to stay in difficult positions even if it’s really hard and how you keep yourself in the position by breathing through it with a calm mind. This powerful technique can then be later on applied in life. In any kind of difficult situation we have the ability to breathe through it and keep a calm mind.
3. Control how you react to your emotions
We are able to moderate our emotional response to certain events by controlling our breath. Part of any Yoga class is Pranayama, controlled ways of breathing. If you apply these techniques when you feel your emotions heightening, you’ll see how much better you can reflect on the situation and how you understand and allow your emotions to simply be and how to get detached from them.
4. Reduce stress and anxiety
Stress and anxiety often rise because our mind is concerned about the past or the future. While we practice yoga, we practise to be completely present in the present moment. This allows us to disconnect from anything else that is happening around us. Once we get off the mat we can face situations causing stress or anxiety with a much more relaxed mind. This alone can already help to reduce stress and anxiety.
5. Generate more energy
As we are moving the body, working the muscles and raising the heart beat, we build up a lot of heat in the body which is transferred to an energised feeling after the practice. And not only the Asanas will provide us witch these boosts of energy, also Pranayama and Meditation can be a great tool to raise your energy level.
6. Get to know yourself
Practicing Yoga is a great way to get to know yourself. Wether it’s getting to know your limits in holding the poses, to observe your breathing, to listen to your own heart beat or to observe your mind in meditation. There are so many things about ourselves that we are not aware of or barely take the time to actually observe them. Yoga is the best way to get to know yourself.
7. Elevate your mood
Everyone knows the feeling of this satisfaction after a doing something good for your body. Well in Yoga we’re doing something good for the body, mind and soul. Imagine how good you feel after nourishing all three of them.
8. Improve posture
Your body can easily adapt a bad posture when you are sitting at a desk and watching a screen for the most part of the day. By strengthening certain muscles – especially in the back – we help the body to build up a natural protection so your muscles keep your spine nice and tall for long hours and you don’t fall so easily into a bad posture.
9. Release pain
By keeping a bad posture throughout the day we most likely tense up muscles and over the long run we experience pain, most commonly in the upper back, neck and shoulders which also resolve in headaches. Let’s stretch those tight muscles to release the pain and feel at ease when working at the desk.
10. Detoxify your body
Twisting poses and backbends help to give your body’s natural processes a boost. When you hold these poses, you squeeze your organs, pumping fresh blood through your body and removing “waste” from your cells as well as speeding up the metabolism. You’ll notice the fresh feeling after your practice and after removing all the stagnant energy.
I hope you enjoyed this article and I got you motivated to try one of our programs.
by Julia Richters
Yoga Instructor | Female Empowerment