I’m just starting to get into yoga, but so far I’m really enjoying it. The following is a guest post from So Much Yoga, a website that’s… filled with so much yoga! If you’re into yoga, or just starting out, go take a look!
The number of yoga practitioners is definitely booming, with 36 million practitioners rolling out their mats in 2015. However, even with the bom, there are still a large portion of people who think of cat, cow and downward facing dog as animals rather than poses. Even though it may feel like everyone and their mother has already tried (and Instagrammed) yoga, this is certainly not the case. There are more beginners than there are people who stand on their hands with ease.
Many ancient texts revere yoga as everything and everywhere; more a state of mind than a flexibility test. Whether you have been curious about the shapes people make with their bodies or the possible places they can go with their minds, yoga has benefits that are worth exploring. Here are some of the many that may be the impetus to get you into your first savasana (final relaxation pose).
Yoga Helps You Sit Up Taller.
Slouching not only looks bad, it also is bad for you. Tilting your head forward or tucking your pelvis may build up stress in your body, which tries so hard to hold the shapes you most habitually make. If your posture is dysfunctional or asymmetrical, it can bring about pain, such as shoulder and neck pain. Yoga introduces you to the natural curves of the spine. The more you keep your body as it is intended to be held in space, the easier it will become to sit up taller. And there is a bonus: great posture makes you look slimmer, even without dropping a pound.
Yoga Makes You Happier.
There are actual studies out there that prove that people are happier after doing yoga. I personally have had some students remark that their spouses supported their yoga habit because they were nicer people when they got home. Whether you are focusing on the connection to yourself (your “you-ness” as it were) or your connection to something outside of yourself, yoga gives you a chance to get out of your head. Reducing the mental clutter will allow you to have room for simple gratitude and the peace that can come from slowing down.
Yoga Can Help You Sleep Easier.
Having trouble getting a quality night’s sleep? You aren’t alone, although perhaps not being alone isn’t the most comforting thing at 2 in the morning. There are obviously triggers that you can take out of your bedroom or out of your sleep routine to improve your quality of sleep (ahem, mobile phone), but yoga can help you get back to sleep faster. Those deep breathing exercises and meditation moments aren’t just for official “yoga class” time. They can help to slow down your racing 2am mind to get you back sleeping like a baby.
Yoga Will Increase Your Flexibility.
Well, duh. Let us give a little more revelatory information. There is scientific evidence that flexibility can safeguard against athletic injury and also protect the health of the spine. Your range of motion is entirely individual to you and is determined not only by muscles but also the shape and size of your joints and even your emotional state. “No pain no gain” is almost never true, especially in the realm of yoga. People become bendier with time in their own way.
Yoga Can Boost Sexual Performance.
Although Hatha yoga has Tantric roots, the sexual benefits aren’t due to a giant sexathon. Increasing blood flow to the genitals through poses like Eagle pose and deep breathing exercises may help as much with your love life as it does on the mat. And even if it doesn’t work, it sure is fun to try. Your partner will be impressed by your increased, er, lung capacity.
Yoga for men. Yoga for women. There is even yoga for dogs. You don’t have to be a yogi to do yoga. It has been said that we don’t find yoga but yoga finds us. Time to get out from your hiding place.
Courtney Sunday doesn’t think she will ever be an advanced yogini, even though she trains teachers and has been teaching yoga for 7 years. She likes to lead yin yoga workshops, teach seniors (or the chronologically enriched) and see the relaxed faces of people who have just allowed themselves to lie on the floor. Courtney also works as a health and travel writer and you can find her at her websites since she doesn’t stay in one place for too long: www.courtneysunday.com and https://somuchyoga.com.