If you haven’t done yoga before, now is the perfect time to pick up and practice some moves. Recent surveys have shown that more than 20 million Americans are practicing yoga today making it one of the most popular exercises in the country. Scientific studies have also proven that it has a lot of other benefits aside from weight loss.
Yoga has been around for thousands of years. Lord Vishnu was known to be the first teacher and his followers continued teaching the ‘discipline’ until it eventually branched into many different kinds. Yoga is roughly translated as “union” which implies connecting the body and min by incorporating the breathing, poses, and meditation.
Regularly doing yoga can benefit your body in a lot of ways. For one, it helps in relieving pain and illness in the body such as hypertension. Another benefit of yoga is stress relief. In fact, a lot of studies have shown that yoga helps improve a person’s psychological well-being therefore reducing the chances of depression. Aside from these, yoga is also known to improve the cardiovascular health as well as enhance the function of the different organ systems in the body.
Yoga is a continuous process. In order to master it, you have to practice constantly. Eventually, all your hard work will pay off and you’ll notice a big difference in your life. How? Here are 11 ways in which yoga can transform your life.
1. It Boosts Your Confidence
Confidence is important for every person. When we have enough of it, we start to trust our own instincts and do things without any worries. Doing yoga can help us work on our third chakra or core area. This area helps us improve our will power, confidence, and resolve. The deep breathing technique encouraged by doing yoga helps in maintaining your calmness through a difficult situation. It also helps us build our physical strength. As we go on from one pose to the next we realize that we’re capable of change and changing comes with growing.
Warrior III or that Virabhadrasana III is one powerful recipe for building confidence. It allows you to achieve core strength and balance making you feel powerful both inside and out.
2. Yoga Encourages You to Be Optimistic
Yoga can help change a person’s mindset. Trying on a new pose that don’t feel comfortable doing before helps you think that you can do anything if you put your mind to it. Yoga also helps you let go of all the negative thoughts in your life and replace it with new opportunities. It helps you find a silver lining to every problem.
Being optimistic is especially helpful if you want to achieve self-realization. Letting negative thoughts stay in your mind could prevent you from doing things that could help you grow. Optimism is a powerful tool that could help propel your life to the positive side.
The Heron Pose is a perfect pose to master to encourage positive outlook on life.
3. Improves Your Flexibility
Don’t worry about your inflexibility when you start doing yoga. It’s normal. You might find yourself having a hard time reaching your toes but as you continue practicing, you’ll eventually find it easy. Doing yoga regularly improves your flexibility as well as your mobility since it helps in lengthening the muscles and therefore improving its elasticity. This then reduces the pain and aches you feel when doing a more challenging pose.
Spinal twists are one of the easy poses of yoga for beginners to try. It increases your lateral flexibility and helps in stretching the head, neck, shoulders, and spine. Go as far as you can but it’s important to never go overboard. Downward dog is another yoga pose to do to build strength in your arm and improving the flexibility of your hamstrings down to your heel.
4. Encourages You To Eat Healthy
Mindful eating is one of the many benefits of yoga. It encourages yogis to eat just enough food so as to provide sustenance to the mind and body. It also helps us choose what food to eat to balance the harmony between the mind and the body.
Yoga encourages people to eat natural foods. Usually yogis follow a strict vegan diet that consists of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, nuts, and legumes. The more you practice yoga, the easier it is for you to let go of your meat cravings. The more you eat healthy, the lesser your chances of developing diseases.
5. You Become Energized
There’s nothing better than starting your day with a smile. The way you feel when you wake up often affects your attitude throughout the day. Yoga has shown to be a helpful companion in boosting your energy throughout the day. Doing simple yoga poses such as the Setu Bandhasana or the bridge pose helps in activating your legs and awakens your whole body to prepare it for the activities for the day. For beginners, it can be a perfect pose for cooling down and boosting energy levels throughout the day.
6. Helps You Accept Who You Are
When you start practicing yoga, you’ll learn a lot of things – including accepting yourself for what you are and what you are not. Through meditation, you will be able to discover parts of yourself that you never knew existed. You’ll be able to mute all the negative thoughts and focus more on your abilities. Once you uncover all of it, you will learn to love yourself.
Practicing yoga a few times per week helps open up your heart and mind. When this happens, your body will be able to accept new changes and you’ll eventually learn your self-worth.
Self-acceptance doesn’t happen overnight or after one yoga session. It is a process. And when you learn to accept yourself, you’d be surprised on how powerful you will become.
7. Learn Self-Control
The breathing technique that is taught in yoga helps you in developing self-control. Yoga helps us in controlling our perception of life. We become aware of our surroundings as well as our patterns. Meditation helps us accept our habits – good and bad – and change them for the better.
Meditation also helps us control how we feel. Controlled breathing helps us think about the negative effects of letting our emotions get a hold of our life. Once we’re calm, we’ll be able to control how to react to certain stresses.
8. You Learn Proper Breathing
Yoga emphasizes breathing among other things. Breathing affects many aspects in your life including your concentration, mindfulness, and your emotions. It can have a great influence in relieving stress as well as in regulating our sleeping patterns. People may notice that yoga instructors never fail to repeatedly remind their students to focus on their breathing. This is because through breathing, you would be able to channel the energy within you which could help you navigate through the different levels of consciousness. Proper breathing is also essential for yogis to be able to perform smooth transitions in between poses.
9. It Helps Your Body Heal
Yoga not only helps your body build strength, it also aids in letting your body heal. For instance, the Cobra pose is the best pose to practice as it can help in relieving stress. It elevates your mood while releasing the stress build up in your shoulders and back. It also causes your chest to open thereby helping the oxygen circulate throughout the body.
Another pose, the Warrior II, is famous for its ability to aid in respiration and blood circulation. It also helps in increasing strength in the shoulders and helps in relieving back pain.
10. Gives You A Whole New Perspective in Life
Mindful meditation not only helps you accept you for yourself. As you go through that process, you also realize on the way that there is more to life than what you know at the moment. When you’re at your lowest, doing yoga can help you shift your outlook. It encourages you to be present, to be active, and to look on the positive side of everything.
11. You Gain a Lot of Friends
When you’ve achieved some of the things that are written before this, you’ll eventually learn to be comfortable in your own skin. Once you know more about yourself, it will be easier for you to share some common things with other people.
Moreover, attending yoga classes is one way of building relationships with other people. It can be a perfect way for you to socialize with other yogis and share some of your experiences with them.
A lot of yogis have stated that their life has never been better since the day they started practicing yoga. Every one of them has witnessed its power in changing lives. There’s never a perfect time to start practicing yoga. Whether you are at the golden years or you’re just starting out on life, the benefits of yoga remain the same and you would still be able to experience its transformative powers. It’s important to remember that change is not achieved overnight. You have to be patient and go through every bit of process in order to achieve the best results.