Do you like the idea of starting yoga but don't know where to begin?
Are you worried that you're 'just not flexible enough to do yoga'?
Shudder at the thought of being surrounded by experts in a class?
It's time to put these concerns to the side and experience for yourself the physical, emotional and spiritual benefits of yoga!
In this day and age if you don't feel ready to join a class, there are so many wonderful apps which are available to download. You can start your practice in the comfort of your own home and you don't need a huge amount of space - just roll out your mat and find a relaxing and tranquil room where you will be free of interruptions. Remember, the purpose of yoga is to create strength and awareness in the mind and body all while promoting harmony. There are many different types of yoga, so be sure to find a style that works for you. Personally I love Vinyasa and Yin, whereas Bikram is not for me!
Don't get too hard on yourself if you find it difficult as you start out. The only way you will improve is with practice!
You can be of any faith (or have no faith at all) to practice yoga - it is not a religious practice and it actually means to 'join' or 'unite'. I like to think of this as the unison of the mind, body and spirit, as well as the ways it can unite all cultures and spiritual belief systems.
Most styles of yoga will typically include some form of meditation, breathing exercises and postures / poses which target stretching and flexing various muscle groups.
The great thing about this is that you can incorporate the breathing and meditation techniques you learn into every day life. Not only will this assist you in combating stressful situations, over time, you may also start to see a positive change with where you carry tension in the body.
Physical Benefits of Yoga
The relaxation techniques incorporated in yoga have been associated to reduce the symptoms of chronic pain, particularly, lower back pain, headaches and arthritis. It can also assist in lowering blood pressure and can lessen the frequency of insomnia.
Other physical benefits include:
Increased muscle strength and tone
Protection from injury
Increased bone density
Improved respiration and energy levels
Increased cardio and circulatory health
Emotional & Spiritual Benefits of Yoga
I touched on it earlier, but I cannot emphasise enough just how much yoga can make a positive difference to how you manage stress. We all know stress can have absolutely devastating affects on the body and mind, which can result in long term health issues including anxiety, chronic pain, sleeping disorders, the inability to concentrate and even substance abuse.
Yoga can increase serotonin levels which may result in reaching a more positive outlook in life and developing more effective coping skills.
Other emotional and spiritual benefits include:
Mental clarity and calmness
Ability to live in the present moment
Connection to your authentic self
Connection to a higher source
Sharpened concentration and focus
Decrease in negative self-talk
Increased body and self-awareness, which can lead to early detection of physical problems
Types of Yoga
Bikram / Hot Yoga - characterized by a set series of postures, positions and breathing exercises which are performed in a room heated to a very high temperature - usually 35-42 degrees Celsius.
Vinyasa / Ashtanga - in this style, the movement is aligned and linked with the breath so that you move with each inhale and exhale. Vinyasa style classes incorporate a dynamic flow from each posture. These classes are also often referred to as Flow Yoga or PowerYoga.
Yin - A restorative style of yoga which is slow-paced. Postures are held for longer periods of time—for beginners, it may range from 1 to 3 minutes and more advanced practitioners may stay in one posture for 10 minutes or more.
The key is to find a style that works for you and one that you enjoy.
Yoga is a time where you can just be. Don't put limitations or expectations on what you believe will be the outcome. If happiness, positivity or peacefulness does come, simply allow yourself to be aware of it and be grateful.
Have the attitude of gratitude and you will soon find this flow in to your everyday life.
Love & Light
xx Sandra Stoitis xx