You might associate the word ‘yoga’ with fit, flexible young women in tight clothes. Contrary to what you might believe, it’s not just an activity for bendy 20-somethings. Here are some of the reasons you should give yoga a shot!
- It helps you set goals. Many yoga teachers ask you to set an intention for either the yoga class itself or another aspect of life. Simply telling yourself “I’ll respect my body for one hour by doing only what I feel like” can have surprising long-term effects.
- It boosts confidence. On top of the uplifting spiritual values, meditation can release mental tension and form an internal connection with yourself.
- It increases flexibility. “I’m not flexible enough to do yoga” is 100% untrue. No matter how tight your muscles may be, yoga will stretch your muscles, ligaments, and tendons in a safe way to increase mobility.
- Relieve stress. Yoga goes beyond training your body to reframing your mind. It allows you to see the bigger picture, unplug from distractions, and connect with your body and various sensations.
- Refresh your spine. Gentle spinal twists help to loosen up the many joints that compose your spine. In addition to improving your tennis game and golf swing, a healthy spine is critical for a long, salubrious life. This may promote detoxification and good digestion. Backbends, forward bends, and twists provide spinal disks with movement to keep them supple.
- Prevent injuries. Yoga reminds you to honour your body’s needs and limits, which change week-to-week, day-to-day, and even by the hour. In every yoga practice, it is important to do a mental scan of your body and take note of how you feel physically and emotionally. Exercises such as running involve rapid, high-force movements, which involve an imbalance of opposing muscle groups. Yoga focuses on balancing the body by honing in on muscle groups and engaging them in a safe, healthy way.
- Improve concentration. Clearing some room in your jam-packed schedule for a yoga class can help you slow down and take a moment to tame that endless stream of thoughts. Yoga offers the ability to be present, notice only the sensations that are happening, and develop the sense of calmness.
- Tone muscles. Yoga ditches barbells and machines to build strength using your own body weight – think squats, planks, leg lifts, and pushups. Because a yoga practice progresses from one series to another, different parts of the body are strengthened and lengthened without putting too much stress on specific muscle groups.
- It can be as easy or as hard as you want. For challenging classes, find one titled ‘Power’, ‘Vinyasa’, or ‘Flow’. Gentle, relaxing yoga classes include ‘Restorative’ and ‘Yin’.