Perhaps this should have been the post to start the blog with, but: better late than never! Today, let’s take a look at why we should consider the practice of yoga at all.
Yoga is an ancient practice that combines physical poses (āsana), breathing practices (prāṇāyāma), and meditation (dhyāna). It originated in the Indus Valley, in South Asia thousands of years ago and has since become popular all over the world.
There are many different styles of yoga, each with its own focus. Some are more physically demanding, while others are more gentle and meditative, but all styles of yoga offer a wide range of benefits for both physical and mental health.
Here are just a few of the benefits of a regular yoga practice:
- Increased flexibility: the āsana (poses) stretch and lengthen muscles, which can improve flexibility and range of motion; this can be beneficial for people of all ages and fitness levels, but it is especially important for older adults, people with chronic pain conditions, and people who have a strength-training practice, or an active lifestyle or job
- Increased strength & muscle tone: many āsana also help to build and tone muscles; this can improve overall strength and fitness, and can also help to reduce the risk of injuries
- Improved balance & coordination: moving into and out of the āsana needs balance & coordination, which can be improved with regular practice; this is beneficial for people of all ages, but can be especially important for neurodivergent folx, as well as older adults who are at increased risk of falls
- Reduced stress: yoga has been shown to be effective in reducing stress and anxiety; this is likely due to the combination of āsana, prāṇāyāma, and meditation, or dhyāna
- Improved mood: yoga has also been shown to improve mood and reduce symptoms of depression; this is likely due to the release of endorphins, which have mood-boosting effects
- Improved sleep quality: yoga can help to improve sleep quality by reducing stress and promoting relaxation; yoga nidrā can be especially helpful in this regard.
In addition to these physical and mental health benefits, yoga can also help to improve overall well-being and quality of life, by increasing self-awareness, promoting mindfulness, and cultivating a sense of inner peace.
If you’re interested in trying yoga, there are many resources available to help you get started. There are yoga classes offered at gyms, in studios, community centres, and perhaps even other locations around you. You can also find many yoga videos, tutorials, and apps online.
When choosing a yoga class, it’s important to find one that’s appropriate for your fitness level and experience. If you’re new to yoga, it is best to start with a beginner’s class or course, that way you can focus on learning the basics rather than trying to keep up with more seasoned practitioners.
Yoga is a safe and effective form of exercise for people of all ages and abilities, it’s a great way to improve your physical & mental health, and to enhance your overall well-being.
If you’ve got any questions, or experiences from the early days of your yoga practice you’d like to share, leave them in a comment below.