I can’t do yoga, I’m not flexible enough. The most common sentence I hear when I suggest yoga to friends, family or clients. Well, that’s the point!
You don’t have to be flexible to do Yoga, it is for anyone and everyone; shape, size, age and gender do not determine whether there is an inner yogi waiting to be released! You determine that by making the decision to move and connect with your body and surroundings.
I used to think Yoga was for those that couldn’t handle the intensity of cardio, or the strength needed to lift weights…how VERY wrong I was! I also only associated Yoga with holding poses and stretching, again, very wrong.
I started to attend a few yoga classes to see what the buzz was all about and soon started to appreciate the mental and physical challenges that come with the ancient practice. Being able to move my body in new ways was one of the things I loved the most, the odd little progression in balance, strength or mobility fed my desire to find out more about yoga. I had been following a few YouTube tutorials as well as the classes but decided this was not enough and enrolled to do a course down in London that would give me the basic skills needed to teach Yoga.
The course was wonderful and taught me and awful lot about the practice, yes about the physical side of it, but more about the 7 other limbs that provide the foundations for the whole art of Yoga. Below are my 5 top reasons why you too should add a little yoga to your life, from both a physical and mental view.
1. More mobility- This is a key reason for starting yoga for many, being able to move your body into new places is a great feeling and I highly suggest you find a few poses you would like to be able to do, and work on them for a couple of weeks. You will be delighted by the progression your body will give you. I have labelled this as ‘more mobility’, but for some it may be a case of preventing the decrease in mobility that comes from both aging and a sedentary lifestyle that is their goal.
2. Stress relief- yoga focuses a lot on the mind and calming the body. Increasing the effects of the parasympathetic nervous system helps to lower the heart rate, breathing rate, blood pressure and relax the blood vessels…all of which bring about a sense of calm in a sometimes chaotic world!
3. Improve your fitness- practising the physical element of yoga (asana) has many benefits in terms of improving fitness. Many postures require good balance and coordination, excellent strength and mobility and in some cases, a certain amount of cardiovascular fitness. Try following a YouTube guide for Sun Salutes and you will soon find out why!
4. Community and friendship- never before have I come across such a kind, supportive group of people until I did my yoga course. Each person there had a reason they had turned to yoga, whether to help with a health condition, fitness, or a mental struggle… and they all wanted to support one another in the individual journey they were going on. Finding a yoga class that can provide this sense of community may take a little trial and error, but if you are looking to perhaps find new friends or an escape from your usual social circle, a yoga class may be a great place to go.
5. Appreciation- for your body, your health and the world that surrounds you. Yoga has a magical way making you stop and be grateful for all the small things, whether this be your own qualities as a person, or those of the people that surround you. So for a little bit more love in your life, yoga is here for you!