I can hear the collective sigh of my readers from here, as once again, I’m banging on about Yoga. I haven’t posted a Yoga related blog post in quite a while so figured now would be a good time, especially as we’re approaching the end of the year and “new year, new me” season. If one of your resolutions is to get healthier then these reasons to start Yoga might guide you in the right direction.
I’ve been practicing Yoga for years. It’s in my soul now. I had absolutely NO IDEA how much I would adore Yoga before I started – and that was BEFORE I knew about any of these positive reasons to start Yoga. Going in completely naive and with an open mind – which in hindsight, was the best thing I could have done.
I totally understand how annoying it can be when someone claims that Yoga will fix anything and everything. Not only is it annoying, it’s also incredibly irresponsible and potentially dangerous. There IS truth in the claims – Yoga has a LOT of benefits (which we’ll get into) but of course you should always consult your GP first.
Yoga has become one of my biggest loves in life. I don’t know where I’d be or what I’d do without it. I practice more or less every day. I’ve been to a Yoga retreat (and learnt a LOT from the experience). I use Yoga for pain management. And I have lots of plans for how I’d like to enhance my Yoga journey in the future.
And I think that’s one of the most beautiful things about Yoga… it’s a journey.
So if you’re intrigued about Yoga but aren’t sure whether it’s for you, you’re in the right place! Here are my 8 reasons to start Yoga – especially in the New Year!
It has a ton of physical health benefits
I recently read the book The Reluctant Yogi by Carla McKay which I’d HIGHLY recommend for anyone who’s a bit skeptical about Yoga. But not only that Carla goes heavily into the health benefits of the practice and it’s quite outstanding. Some include: increased flexibility, muscle strength and tone, improved respiration, energy and vitality, improved metabolism, cardio and circulatory health and SO MUCH MORE.
Yoga also has a ton of mental health benefits
This is a big one for me because mental illness was the reason I started Yoga in the first place. The mental benefits are huge reasons to start Yoga. It can decrease stress and anxiety, calms and centers the nervous system, improves attention and concentration, increases body awareness, reduce tension and much more. Many Western doctors are now prescribing Yoga to patients for a variety of conditions (much more on this in The Reluctant Yogi book!)
Yoga is for everyone. Truly. Yoga absolutely doesn’t have to mean an intense workout if you don’t want it to or if you’re not able to. And it’s so important to remember that all poses can be changed and adapted to suit your body. If you’re familiar with Yoga With Adriene, you’ll know her motto, “find what feels good” and I find that ultimately, that’s all that matters in Yoga.
It’s not a one-size-fits-all thing
So, you’ve tagged along with a friend to a Yoga class in the past but it really wasn’t for you? No biggie! There are a ton of different types and style of Yoga and it’s certainly not a one-size-fits-all approach. Bikram Yoga for those who like a sweat and a detox. Hatha Yoga if you prefer a more gentle practice. Kundalini Yoga if you want to work on your breath and spinal energy. And there’s many more styles to choose from too.
It is what you make it
I understand that it might be the perceived spiritual elements of Yoga which put you off starting in the first place and whilst Yoga DOES originate from Indian holy texts over 5,000 years ago, I think it’s a huge misconception of Yoga that you need to be spiritual in order to practice. I think the fact that it is what you make it is one of the BEST reasons to start Yoga!
There’s Yoga for everything
There is. Which is fantastic because if one day you’re not feeling a workout but you’re having a little bit of back pain or digestion issues – there’s Yoga for that! That’s where I find Yoga With Adriene comes in really handy because her short and snappy practices often cater for specific things, which, if you haven’t got an awful lot of time, can be amazing for slotting into your self care routine.
It feels good
I mean, that’s a good enough reason to do anything isn’t it? Yoga feels GREAT. Running? Makes me feel like my lungs are going to fall out my arse. Cycling? Makes me feel like someone injected the essence of Mordor into my thighs. But Yoga? It’s something that combines all the above benefits as well as feeling good at the same time. Triple win.
It’s all about you baby
And finally, I think a few of my above points embody this and from a more personal point of view, Yoga is the one thing that makes me feel like me. It’s the one and ONLY thing where I feel like my time spent on my mat is all about me. I have no other worries on the mat. I feel completely safe and supported. And I’d love for those who are trying Yoga for the first time to feel that way too.