This is not a story about how I saw the light through yoga, or how yoga made me a saint. I just want to share with you how the practice of yoga has helped me improve my life.
In one of my previous posts, I mentioned how I use yoga to help me get away from stressful situations and refocus my mind. But in case you didn’t know, practicing yoga can help you in a lot more areas of your life than just refocusing your mind. If you keep reading, you’ll learn about some more benefits of practicing yoga.
First, a little story of how I got started practicing yoga.
I originally started practicing yoga when I learned that it could benefit me as a runner. God knows during that time I needed all the help I could get to improve my running. But as I delved more into the practice, I started noticing that not only my running was improving, but other areas of my life, both physically and mentally were improving as well.
So today I want to share with you the benefits of practicing yoga from personal experience.
1- Practicing yoga is an anti-stress.
I said it before in this post, and I’m saying it again. After a session of yoga, all my problems seem to have melted away. All the stress, discomfort, and tension that I walked into the room with becoming a thing of the past. I feel powerful, rejuvenated and ready to take on the world. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying that my issues magically disappear. What I mean is that I get a clearer mind and I’m able to approach bad situations with a better attitude.
If you deal with people like I do daily, you’ll understand why being able to de-stress is important. I have a very demanding job that requires that I’m on the phone talking to people most of the day. They are not always the easiest to deal with. Sometimes they can be rude. Then once I’m done I sometimes have to deal with children who have no interest in making my day any easier. That’s why when I’m able to get 60 to 75 minutes of yoga in, I’m happy as a clam because it helps me clear my mind, let go of the negative and focus on the positive.
Did I mention you’re guaranteed a good night sleep after a night session of yoga at night? Yes, you are!
2- Practicing yoga helps with strength and flexibility.
Before yoga, I had 0 strength, maybe a little bit of flexibility. But nothing significant. Over time, I’ve watched my body change in ways I didn’t know possible. My core is getting stronger, I’m able to lift my body weight. And I’m able to get and stay in positions I never imagined. Although there is much more to learn, I’m loving the progress.
3- Yoga helps relieve pain.
This one I’ve heard people talk about, but I never believed until I experienced it for myself. I’d hear people say they had pain in certain areas of their bodies for years and after practicing yoga for a while, the pain became a thing of the past. I never understood nor believed that it was possible. My thoughts were that these people were overselling yoga. That was until I was involved in a car accident early 2015 and started dealing with back pain. Running only accentuated the pain. It went on for a couple of years.
But after only a few months of practicing yoga regularly, I’ve noticed that my pain is close to being non-existent. It really amazed me the day I realized that I did not have the need to take painkillers to help alleviate my pain. Who would’ve thought that back bends and handstands would be the solution? I should’ve started much earlier. Lol! Of course, you want to make sure you get cleared by a medical doctor before starting yoga or any physical activities if you are dealing with pain.
4-Practicing yoga is a great way to gain muscles and lose weight.
Believe it or not, yoga when paired with good eating habits can help you get rid of unwanted weight. You might wonder how can you lose weight doing yoga. The answer is simple, by using so much of your body weight. How much weight you lose will depend on how many times you practice and your eating habits. After I took yoga seriously, I slowly started noticing changes in my body.
5- Yoga helps improve posture.
Because yoga focuses so much on proper alignment, you will find yourself making sure that you are properly aligned throughout the day (even when you are not practicing yoga). This, in turn, will help you improve and have good posture in the long run.
6- Practicing yoga helps boost self-confidence.
This one is very simple. When you feel good and look good, your confidence level goes up and it shows in everything you do. Yoga makes you feel good. That’s why so many people around the world love it so much. So if you’re lacking self-confidence and you’re looking for a boost in that department, try it out. It only takes one session for you to understand.
Now there are different types of yoga you can choose to explore.
I won’t go over the different kinds with you. It can be for a different post. Personally, I am a sucker for hot yoga. Hot yoga is pretty much any kind of yoga practiced in a heated room. Generally, the temperature in the room can be from 85 to 105 degrees F. That’s hot, I know. But you get used to it.
I prefer hot yoga because I find it to be more challenging than practicing yoga in a room with AC or outside. This girl loves a good challenge. I love it, I talk about it all the time, but I understand that hot yoga may not be everyone. It is up to you to figure out what would work.
If you chose to try out hot yoga though, there are a few things you will need to get started.
1- The obvious is a durable yoga mat
2- Second on the list is a hot yoga towel. The towel is to be placed on your mat. It is critical to have the towel because it will keep you from slipping on sliding on your mat from the sweat dripping from your body. Trust me, you need it. It will make your practice a lot better.
3- A water bottle just because you need water with any physical exercise that you partake in. Just be careful not to drink too much water too quick because it might come back up when you’re doing inversions and all. I’ve been there. Lol!
5- An open mind. I think having an open mind when practicing yoga is necessary because your body will be introduced to certain positions you’ve never been in, or never even seen before.
6- You might also need straps and blocks. But if you go to a studio, they may be provided.
There you have it, the benefits of practicing yoga. As you read above, practicing yoga, not only can help you physically but it also has good effects on your mental.
Since I’ve made yoga part of my lifestyle, I have seen significant improvement in my physique and the way I deal with certain aspects of my life. I also love that it doesn’t matter what your level might be, the yoga community is a warm and fuzzy one. I’ve always experienced a non-judgment zone and very welcoming yogis.
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Have you had any experience with yoga? What is your favorite type of yoga? Is there anything you’d like to add to this list? Share with me below ⇓