A few weeks ago now I started yoga at the Yoga Republic in Randpark Ridge. While I have by no means achieved yogi status, my handful of lessons have allowed me to experience so many benefits, all while participating in a form of exercise that I enjoy.
The course I study at varsity sees me hunching over books or laptops most of the day, and can often become very overwhelming due to how much stress I place on myself academically. Knowing that I have never been an athlete by any stretch of the imagination, my mom suggested I join her yoga classes, hoping it would allow me to exercise and relax simultaneously.
In only a couple of weeks, I really have seen and felt the benefits and can firmly attest to the statement “Mom always knows best”. Here are some of the more noticeable changes I have enjoyed through yoga.
Yoga is bloody hard. Whoever portrayed it as lying on the ground and Namaste-ing was very very wrong. Every single class feels like a workout and I seldom wake up the next day without some muscle aching.
My physical strength has improved a lot and the best part is that it didn’t require running for miles, hoisting weights or excessive sweating. By keeping a routine of a few classes a week, I have grown stronger with relative ease and comfort.
Improves your mood
Of course, like with any form of physical activity, the flood of endorphins your body receives gives you a mood boost that sees the rest of your day pass a little bit more smoothly. I underestimated how much difference this mood improvement would have on my life to be honest. Tasks seem more manageable, arguments or upsets seem to have much less of a hold on my mood and I find myself enjoying my day a lot more by simply starting it with a yoga class.
Quietens your mind
As I said, I put a lot of pressure on myself, and that goes for my academic demands, my relationships and my blog. Having an hour or so out of every day that I commit to going to yoga gives me freedom during that time to not worry about anything else.
I’ve allowed it to be a guilt-free part of my routine where I don’t feel like I need to be feverishly reading/writing/studying. I allow myself to be present and focus on enjoying the class.
Flexibility and strength are not one in the same, and they require different movements and exercises to achieve. Improving your flexibility has so many benefits. It helps prevent injuries, it can improve your posture and it soothes and relieves the muscles we often neglect (or overwork).
Also, it’s super impressive to be able to touch your toes without bending your knees or groaning in pain.
Improves physical and mental self-awareness
The biggest benefit I have experienced through yoga is the improvement in my self-awareness. The yoga classes I attend are very informative in the sense that the person who leads the session is constantly informing us what it may mean if the position aches or hurts. They mention why some movements may be difficult and warn people who have certain muscular problems not to try specific positions. This has seen me become so aware of what my body is trying to tell me.
I have also experienced a certain level of reflection during the yoga lessons. There is something about this practice that encourages one to look inward and consider things that we may otherwise put off or ignore altogether.
What methods of exercise do you enjoy? Do you find that you’re committing enough of your day to physical and emotional self-care? I cannot recommend yoga enough, and I really encourage everybody, regardless of age and physical ability, to give yoga a try.