With the high-paced nature of modern society, life can get the better of you if you struggle with stay on top of your mental health. While one of the negative sides of society is the stress it can bring, the good thing is this has pushed humans to seek out helpful methods for minimizing stress to make your life easier. One of those stress reducing methods is yoga. However, yoga has a lot to more to offer us other than simply decreasing stress levels.
This practice is not only extremely enjoyable, but it can also offer countless benefits for the mind, body, and soul. Let’s go over what it is and some benefits of yoga.
What is yoga?
Yoga is a physical practice that also benefits the mind simultaneously. With a massive collection of 84 yoga poses (A.K.A asanas), there are countless combinations one can experiment with. Yoga, originally created as a Hindu spiritual practice, is an ancient activity that is still adored today worldwide. There are many different types of yoga you can practice, making it easy to choose which one works best for you. Whether you are spiritual or not, anyone can enjoy the many benefits of yoga. Let’s take a closer look at these benefits.
What are the benefits of yoga?
Although the list is extremely long, I have narrowed it down to a 10 benefits. Here is a short list of the benefits of yoga:
1. Increases patience
This will be especially noticeable for beginners. This practice, especially if you are not very flexible or have a hard time slowing down your thoughts, can be very challenging. Introducing healthy challenges into your life is a great way of increasing general patience for life’s many obstacles, yourself, and those around you.
2. Improves balance, strength, and flexibility
By partaking in an activity that involves a lot of balance and flexibility, you will inevitably improve in these areas by doing yoga. Not to mention your overall bodily strength will improve at a healthy rate, just as it would with any light exercises. For best results, remember that consistency is key!
3. Can work as both a natural relaxant or a natural energizer
Thanks to the multiple types of yoga with different benefits, there is a type of yoga for every need! Feeling over-stimulated and need to wind down? Yoga! Need a wake-up to get your day started? Yoga! One thing I love about yoga is that it can always help me in some way, no matter what my needs are!
4. Enhances focus
Like almost any mindfulness tools, yoga increases focus. This practice is all about focusing on your breath and fully remaining in the present moment. Actively allowing yourself time to completely zone in on something, such as yoga, you are training your brain to get better at focusing on command. This can help you in many aspects such as career, social, or spiritual advancements.
5. Manages stress and anxiety
Statistically, one of the top benefits of yoga that individuals report is a reduction in stress/anxiety. Focusing on in sync breathing along with gentle movement will calm you to the core, relieving symptoms of stress and anxiety. Add some CBD, some herbal tea, or other relaxing plant medicines to your practice and you will manage your stress with more ease!
6. Assists spiritual advancements
If you are a spiritual person, this practice will be exceptionally beneficial for you in many aspects. One benefit of yoga is gaining better peace of mind. Learning how to flow with movement also promotes a healthy relationship between the mind, body, and soul. Meditation is also often paired with yoga, which has its own heap of benefits for the spiritually minded.
7. Boosts brain function
According to new research (published by Brain Plasticity), yoga is able to enhance your brain and it’s functions. This means yoga has a positive affect on the structure of your brain and enhances its overall function and improves brain health. A healthy brain=a happy life!
8. Expands awareness
Doing yoga can be very therapeutic and can assist you in gaining extra awareness. It teaches you to be more aware of your mind, body, its movement, and your emotions. This additional awareness can be carried with you outside of your yoga practice as well and can help you learn how to listen to your body 24/7, making it easier to respond to its needs.
9. Amplifies positivity and creativity
With a combination of all the benefits from yoga, (eg, mood, health, spirituality) you will find yourself being more positive overall! Studies have also shown us that yoga’s effect on the brain have creativity boosting potential! When you actively practice something that is so good for the mind, body, and soul, it will inevitably leak out into all aspect of your life in a positive way. The added creativity is just a bonus to this practice!
10. Increases discipline
Mastering a healthy balance of discipline can be extremely difficult-never mind mastering self discipline. Yoga is really good for that. Especially if you are challenging yourself from time to time by experimenting with different poses, seeing how long you can hold them, etc.. Learning anything new and being consistent will make you more naturally disciplined.
Tips for yoga at home
With lockdown getting the better of most of us, its been harder than ever to stay motivated. Specifically, it has been hard on those who are used to going to yoga classes and now have to motivate themselves to continue their practices at home. Here are a few tips to help you out.
If you want to start doing yoga again every other day, put a timer in your phone. Treat it like you are going to a class that you’ve already booked to motivate yourself. Have a nice tea or something tasty afterwards as a reward. Also, getting into the yoga clothing you’d usually wear to your class may help with the motivation!
Get others involved! One good thing about lockdown is how many individuals have been trying new things. If you have roomates, encourage them to get on a yoga mat and become yoga buddies! If this isn’t a possibility, then try doing yoga with a friend over Zoom or Skype. I know- not ideal, but you have to work with what you’ve got, right?
Follow lots of yoga inspiration accounts on social media. I know this may sound silly, but try to subconsciously get yourself inspired. If you are active on social media, your subconscious mind is constantly soaking up whatever you are looking at. You may as well make it something beneficial like yoga inspiration!
Keep your yoga mat out. It is surprising how much more likely you are to step on your yoga mat everyday if you keep it out rather than keeping it neatly tucked away in a cupboard. You may even find yourself stepping on it more than ever if you leave it out!
I hope you found a reason in this article to get on your yoga mat today! I urge you to either give yoga a try or get back into your routine. With lockdown happening, it may seem like the last thing you want to do. However, it is likely one of the best ways to spend your time in lockdown.
Minimize stress/anxiety and treat your soul with love during lockdown and reap the benefits of yoga.