I have dabbled in yoga for a few years but this past winter/spring I took a yoga class with my good friend, Sam, and absolutely got hooked. The class was twice a week for an hour and it literally forced me to slow down, rid myself of all distractions, and just breathe. I was also planning my wedding at the time so it was kinda perfect and prevented emotional breakdowns which is always a good thing. There are so many benefits of yoga for your body and while taking these classes, I totally experienced them and can attest that it actually works. In our busy lives, it is so hard to carve out time where we have no cell phone, no to-do list, no errands, and no distractions. Putting this craziness on hold for an hour or even thirty minutes is soooo good for your body, mind, and soul. Here are seven benefits of yoga (just to name a few) that I love.
1. Relaxation: yoga encourages you to slow your breath, focus on what you're doing, and relax. Focusing on your breathing is calming, restorative, and lowers your heart rate.
2. Balance: when you practice yoga on a regular basis, you become very in tune with your body. Your body awareness and control increases which allows you to do things that you wouldn't normally be able to do- like balance on one leg, or your head. It's fun!
3. Posture: I have terrible posture! I always slouch, especially at work. It's bad. Yoga increases back flexibility and strength, allowing you to stand up straight and balance your head directly over your spine. This takes the pressure off of your neck and allows your back muscles to help support.
4. Stress Reduction: many yoga styles use meditation techniques to help you quiet the mind. It slows down the mental loops of anger, anxiety, fear, etc.
5. Focus: a big component of yoga is focusing on the present. As an expert multi-tasker, it's very difficult to only think about one thing without your mind drifting to the next idea. When you train your mind to stay fixed on the present, your ability to focus increases over the long run.
6. Flexibility: who doesn't want to be able to twist up like a pretzel?! Yoga is amazing for flexibility which helps prevent injury and soreness.
7. New Clothes: practicing yoga gives you a great excuse to buy new clothes!!!! Gotta do it in style :)