Keen to embark on a new fitness regime this year? Perhaps yoga is on your list of considerations.
Those practising yoga regularly say they enjoy increased physical health and a calmer state of mind. Depending on how and where you choose to participate, you may also find you’ll trigger a new group of friends for your social circle too.
Here’s the thoughts of one yoga expert.
1 You Will Feel the Benefits Instantly!
Even after just one yoga session you will feel a noticeable difference in your body. Stretching our muscles and tissues, holding physical positions and also allowing our bodies to rest in stillness, as is done in a yoga class, releases physical, mental and emotional tightness and tension which has an instant effect!
When you walk out of your first yoga class you will hopefully leave feeling a positive difference in your body and mind.
2 Build Strength and Mobility in your Body
The physical practices done in a yoga class support you to create strength, stability and flexibility in your bones, muscles and joints.
This helps you in your everyday movements – from how you sit at your desk, in your car or on your sofa, to how you carry your shopping or your children, to how you reach for something on the top shelf – you will learn how to move in a healthier and more functional way.
3 Connect with your Breath
The breath is a fundamental aspect of any yoga practice. Just by connecting to your breath, you will learn how it affects your body and your mind.
When we breathe slowly and calmly it has a direct and positive impact on our nervous system, supporting a vast range of physical benefits in the body.
You will also discover how our breath directly affects our mind and our thought processes. If we are feeling stressed and overwhelmed, learning to slow our breath right down can reap great benefit. In some yoga classes you may also learn specific breathing practices that will help you to develop a particular state of mind – be it more calm and focused or more energised and alert.
4 Learn the Art of Awareness
Awareness is another fundamental element to practising yoga.
Learning how to bring your attention into your body in a mindful and focused way, will support you to integrate your body, mind and emotions, leading to a greater sense of wholeness.
Awareness itself does not help us be calm and happy, but learning the art of awareness can support us to manage our thoughts and feelings in a way that leads to a greater sense of peace and freedom.
5 Connect with Others
Yoga classes are a wonderful way of meeting new people and sharing in positive experiences.
You might end up going for a coffee after class, or the teacher might organise a yoga retreat that a group of you decide to go on together.
Community plays a big part of yoga and this starts within the yoga class.
About Jo Darking
Jo first discovered yoga and meditation in her late teens and it has been part of her life ever since. Both physically and philosophically, Jo finds the system of yoga has everything she needs for her own life and personal evolution. Jo teaches adults and children classes, workshops and retreats from her community yoga centre in Cambridge, UK.