I have a few posts about yoga on here (I Bend So I Don’t Break), and how it has benefited me personally. I love yoga – I love everything that it does and has done for me. It has eliminated back pain, muscle pain, eased stress and make me sleep better!
My friend, Dr. Maritza Baez (Read her blog here!), has a fantastic article over on her page that she wrote. It is called TOP 5 REASONS FOR RECOMMENDING YOGA. I was inspired with her post to share with you what my top five reasons are and why you need to do yoga starting today! No matter what your resolution is – this is so beneficial in all aspects of your life! First things first before we get started, here are some essential items you need to get your yoga on!
Yoga Mat – this is a given! You need a non-slippery surface for all of your balances and poses. You can find cheap ones all over at Target and even Amazon! There are so many pretty ones too! Check these out!
Yoga block – this is a beneficial tool for people (like myself!) who are not that flexible (YET!). This helps us non-flexible people to stretch more and gives us additional support in several other yoga poses.
Yoga band – again, for us not flexible people this is a great tool to stretch with! You can take your legs to new lengths with these yoga bands!
Yoga mat towel – essential for those who sweat a lot (especially if you want to participate in hot yoga!) The yoga mat might be non-slippery but when you start dripping sweat, it gets pretty slippery!
Yoga socks – if you want some extra support to not slip, I suggest getting some socks with grips on them!
So now that we have our essentials – let me give you the reasons why you need to start yoga!
- Health benefits – there is NO shortage of health benefits in the practice of yoga. From immediately following a yoga class, to many, many years post-practice you can have any benefit from improved brain function to a lower risk of heart disease. Yoga can also act as a detox for your body (it’s actually great for hangovers!) and increased immunity. Weight management, lowers your blood pressure, and improves circulation and digestion – all within as little as 30 minutes a day!
- Self-love and self-acceptance – any yoga class I have ever taken has given me such a warm and happy feeling. I may need to force myself to do a class or practice for 30 minutes, but I always come out of it LOVING everything about it. I love how it makes me feel, time and time again. Unlike many forms for fitness, yoga is the only one to benefit your body and your mind equally. With regular practice, this state of mind becomes natural and you will become a much happier person all around!
- Muscle strength & Muscle Tone – Yoga helps define your muscles and strengthens within your body. With yoga, there isn’t a dominant side and all muscle groups are worked equally. Yoga targets your ENTIRE body and your muscles will grow all at once. This will help prevent injury and make lifting or day to day tasks much easier.
- Better breathing – it is all about your breathing in yoga. You want to focus on calmness and relaxation and training your breath. With focusing on your breathing, it soothes respiratory disorders and you have more control over your breathing.
- Reduces muscle pain – I can’t get excited for this enough or preach this benefit more than I already do. I had a piriformis muscle that was very tight because of running. I did hot yoga consecutively for a few weeks and before I knew it, it was completely gone. I mean this muscle injury was difficult to even sit still in a chair during work. Stretching through the muscle made me feel so much better. This year I have had a lower back issue where I have pulled my back a couple of times and I know when I pull it, I can turn to yoga specifically with poses to focus on strengthening and stretching out my back.
There is yoga for EVERYTHING – yoga for neck pain, yoga for hangovers, yoga for sickness, yoga for prenatal and so on. You are improving your mind and your body in so many ways.
I will be going on my first yoga retreat with a group of like-minded women in March to Guatemala! I am so excited to share every aspect of that trip on this blog!
I hope that I have convinced you to do more yoga (or start yoga) in your life – there is no end to the benefits that yoga provides!
Until next time,
Have you heard of “mindfulness”? Do you know what it means? I didn’t quite know what this fully meant until this year. Mindfulness is being present in the moment, and being conscious and accepting one’s feelings and thoughts.
I am a beginner yogi – yogi in training if you will. I have been since 2014 where I will randomly take classes with my friends at local studios. Over the past year, I have been more consistent in my yoga practice, where I have had spurts of consistently attending classes and then even practicing at home. I am not flexible by any means where my entire life I probably haven’t stretched. I never was into gymnastics, still can’t do a cartwheel, and only recently can I touch my fingers to my toe (standing up only!). I played softball and basketball my whole life and in these sports, it did not require flexibility.
I tried yoga for my first time by doing a hot yoga class with one of my friends. She was going pretty regularly and her friend was running the class. I caught on pretty quickly with the poses and the flow of it all. I ended up really liking it! For me, it started out to be more of just another way to workout. It was during a time where I was trying out a bunch of different workout classes. I did classes sporadically until about a year and a half ago, where I really wanted to start incorporating yoga into my work out practice. From reading all of the health benefits, physically and mentally, I wanted to try this out even more. I was very unhappy with my weight that I had put on, and because I run a lot, I thought this would also help me stretch out my body too.
I ended up developing a piriformis muscle issue, and it was hard to bend and hard to sit in an office for eight hours a day. In case you don’t know what it is, here it is blow. It is deep, deep within your glute. Very hard to massage and most times, stretching is how to get rid of it. I had lots of lower back pain and tight muscles in my leg.
By taking yoga consistently for 5 weeks in a row, this issue has completely disappeared. The stretching and the development of these muscles made a world of difference.
This year, I set out to become more mindful. There are various ways that one can practice mindfulness. Most importantly, I wanted to take care of my body and myself because I have spent the last few years with struggling to lose weight and that has created some pretty negative feelings inside of me. I needed to take a step back and realize what my body has gotten me through, and becoming more mindful of myself and self-love will help me conquer my negative thoughts.
Yoga, to me is something that I always go back to. I am not consistent, but I want to be. Every time I take part in a yoga session, whether it is with my friends in a class or at home by myself, I immediately have my mood turn around. If you are stressed, sad, upset, mad, or have any sort of negative feelings, yoga is a game changer. There are amazing health benefits, both physically and mentally.
Last week, I started a yoga challenge for myself and for several others to do 31 days of yoga in a row. This is also meant to practice mindfulness and finally just to love yourself even more than you already do. Yoga and being more “mindful” go together. Both are about being present in the moment. The practice of yoga is being self aware and aware of how your body feels. I want to continue this practice and be more consistent within myself with not only yoga, but with being more mindful as well.
I challenge you to become more mindful within yourself. With everything you do during the day, be present in that moment. Do you drink coffee in the morning? Take that first sip and focus on the smell, the taste and how it makes you feel. When you go outside, notice nature. Notice the smell of the air, the wind or the warmth of the sun. We are so busy these days, that we are always thinking of the next task on our list. Most of us are hardly present mentally in our lives where we are always trying to get our task lists done quickly. We need to make time for our mental health, and focus on being present. Keeping a journal of one positive thing each day will also help as well.
If yoga is something that you don’t believe to be your thing, I would love for you to practice mindfulness. Not only has yoga helped me overcome stress and sadness, but it has helped with so many ailments with my muscles so if you haven’t tried it yet, I also encourage you to do so. If you want to join my ongoing yoga and mindful challenge, I would love to have you a part of it too! You can join the group here.
Until next time – thank you for reading!