Yoga. A word we hear all the time these days but yet to some, it still sounds overly intimating. Crazy poses, deep breathing and not talking for an hour? Yes! That is how heavenly yoga is! ♥ I started incorporating yoga into my workout routine about 6 months ago and have been so glad that I did. The thing I love about yoga, is that it is for anyone. As a runner, I was always in need of a deep stretch routine after my long weekend runs and I quickly found that yoga did just that for me. For others, it is the sole strength training they do and they look amazing because of it. Others just need to relax after long work days and the relaxation of the breathing technique provides them with just that. No matter who you are or what your reason is, I highly recommend you do more yoga!
Benefits of Yoga:
- Body Awareness. When doing yoga poses, you have this unusual awareness of your body that you don’t get with running or being in the gym. As a women, I find you feel more of your curves and the deeper you stretch, the more you feel your body flex and bend. When you have that kind of awareness of every muscle in your body, you will gain an appreciation of it that makes you want to take better care of yourself.
- Healthy and Mindful Eating. As mentioned above, when you have a strong awareness of your body and strive to take better care of it, you will start to pay more attention to how you are nourishing it with food. Those daily treats of sugar may become more of a weekly treat. You should want to consume more veggies and greens as your mind becomes more in tune to the fact that these are the things that make your body feel good and refreshed.
- Weight Loss. For those that are overweight or have a binge-eating disorder, yoga will help provide this lifestyle change of becoming more aware of your body and how you are treating it. You should drop unwanted weight simply from the shift in taking in less calories then you are burning.
- Strength. Yoga requires so much strength! Of course, this is all strength you gain over time during your practice but once you work up to some of the full body poses, you will be amazed at how much of your body you use to support yourself. Ever wonder why many yogi’s are super toned? This is why!
- Confidence. Yoga is like many other workouts in the fact that you have to work your way up to being able to practice new poses and inversions. Once you are able to try something new though, it is amazing how good you feel the first time your body moves that way. Being able to do some yoga poses that require your strength and flexibility and force your body to sync up with your mind gives an amazing confidence that you can do it and you look and feel beautiful doing it too.
- Posture. With increased flexability and strength comes better posture. Many yoga poses develop core strength because you are depending on your ab muscles to support and hold each pose. When you have a strong core, you are more likely to use that core outside your practice to help you sit and stand tall.
- Breathing. Yoga requires a deep and steady breathing throughout the entire practice. Because of this, your lung capacity often improves which can in turn help in other physical and fitness activities. For myself, since becoming aware of my breathing when practicing yoga, I have also become more aware of my breathing when running. This can make a huge difference in your endurance level!
- Less Stress, More Calm. You will be amazing what spending 60 minutes breathing and stretching can do for your stress level. Yoga give you a chance to spend time focusing on you. Sometimes as women, this is all we need – just a little ‘me’ time – to get us back on track with our busy lives.
- Heart Health. Yoga has been proven to lower blood pressure and slow your heart rate. For people with high blood pressure or heart disease, this can significantly help. Yoga provides a lifestyle change that sometimes can take place of surgery.
- Other Medical Conditions. Yoga has also been said to help treat other medical conditions such as clinical depression, asthma, back pain, insomnia and arthritis. Of course, talk to your doctor first if you have a serious medical condition and ask about yoga for a treatment option.
I encourage everyone to try incorporating a day of yoga into your weekly workout schedule. You will love it and all of the benefits!