It’s commonly known that yoga is great for health, toning, flexibility, and helps us to feel calm too. There are countless more reasons to practice yoga regularly, and here are just 5 of the less publicized ways that practicing yoga in 2016 can enhance your life!
1 - YOGA ENHANCES YOUR PERSONAL SENSE OF AWARENESS!
A healthy yoga practice encourages you to become more aware of parts of your body you may not have given attention to in many years, if ever! Added to which, it encourages you to maintain a steady and consistent breath throughout the practice which requires another level of awareness altogether. By practicing this way, we are becoming more aware during our time on the mat, whilst cultivating an ability to develop a more enhanced awareness when off the mat. This can translate into other significant areas of our lives too as we begin to experience life more fully, with a heightened awareness and attention to things that really matter in life.
2 - YOGA HELPS US TO GET “UNSTUCK”!
Do you ever look at a “pretzel like” yoga pose and think “are you kidding”! Yoga postures were meant to be extraordinary and unusual, enabling us to break out of routine patterns of movement that keep us stuck. We tend to “get good” at movements and postures we maintain regularly such as, slouched at our desks for example, or in contrast opening our chests during certain yoga postures. If we keep repeating the same patterns, nothing changes. The unique nature of yoga postures is to “shake up” the subconscious patterns we are holding not only in our bodies but ultimately in our minds too!
3 - YOGA BUILDS STRENGTH AND IMPROVES BONE DENSITY
Yoga involves weight bearing and strength building postures such as Downward Facing Dog, Plank, and standing poses such as Warrior 1 and 2. Many newcomers to yoga are surprised that their biggest challenge is not their lack of flexibility, but lack of strength in the unique ways that yoga challenges you, unlike any other form of exercise, without putting undue stress on the body at the same time.
4 - YOGA CAN BECOME A REFUGE
We can often feel anxious and stressed about meeting the responsibilities and challenges of our lives. During tough times, we know its easy to turn to distraction activities that can “numb us out” through diversions such as television, shopping, alcohol and even drugs – anything to take our minds off what’s bugging us! Your practice can become a place of refuge, for you to gain awareness of, acknowledge and accept whilst staying fully present with them until their power dissipates, as opposed to avoiding them and allowing them to build power within us. By doing so, we not only move the energy associated with these emotions through the body but develop stamina to stay with those feelings just long enough for them to loosen their grip on us! Ultimately, your yoga mat becomes a place where you can learn to break through physical and emotional barriers that can hold you back from reaching your full potential.
5 - YOGA COMMUNITIES ROCK!
Yoga attracts people that are open minded and seekers of ways to enhance physical, mental and spiritual wellbeing, which is infinitely more appealing when compared to people who are either apathetic or prone to narrow-mindedness. People from every walk of life land on the yoga mat, and one common thread shared is that we are interested in life, what we are doing here and now, and have a desire to grow and enhance life in a multitude of ways. Yoga classes are a great place to meet people you might not come across in the normal course of life. If you stay open to it, your life can be truly enriched by yoga and yogis alike!
On a practical note, if you try one class and are not quite sure, try another. Persevere and experience different styles and different teachers. It may take a little while to find what truly resonates with you, but when you do, the journey begins, and you won’t regret it for a moment!