Yoga for the yoga-phobe
If you’ve avoided yoga because you’re worried you won’t be able to nail the poses, the concept intimidates you or you’d rather be spending your time running, lifting or cycling, we’ve got some reasons why you might need to give a few asanas a try. You don’t need to have perfected a head stand and you don’t need to start sipping green juices to take advantage of the many benefits of yoga. We spoke to our resident yogi, Charlotte Dodson, about why yoga could be a good idea even if you’ve always told yourself yoga isn’t for you.
Yoga isn’t just for the super flexy
A yoga room can be full of young teens, athletes, mums, older males and twenty-somethings. Everyone can feel accepted and included and, unlike other sports or classes that focus on niche clients, yoga has open arms. Whether you like to say “Om” or you can’t stand the word “yogi”, whatever your age, level or background, yoga can help you.
Yoga isn’t just a physical workout
It’s a workout for your mind too. Various studies have linked regular yoga practice to higher self-esteem, lowered anxiety and greater coping skills. When you take a positive approach and practice yoga, the goal is to feel more centred, an improved sense of self and an internal feeling of strength. When you practice regularly with an intention of self-examination and betterment (not just as an aerobics class) you can access a different side of yourself. You’ll experience feelings of gratitude, empathy, and forgiveness, as well as a sense that you’re part of something bigger.
Yoga also has the ability to calm the nervous system and the mind. Spending just 30-90 minutes a day doing some yoga can change your entire outlook.
We all need a bit of stillness
The practice of yoga allows students to be still in a world that never stops moving. And let’s face it, a bit of peace and tranquility achieved through focused training appeals to everyone. Think to yourself, when was the last time you just stopped, cleared your mind and enjoyed a bit of stillness? Sitting in front of Netflix doesn’t count! Yoga’s deep breathing and meditation practices help foster an inner shift from to-do lists, kids and spouse’s needs, financial concerns and relationship struggles to something a little bit bigger than the issues you face.
Yoga has many faces
One of the benefits of yoga is that you can choose a style that is tailored to your lifestyle. There’s hot yoga, power yoga, relaxation yoga, prenatal yoga, you can practice yoga at home, outdoors or during your lunch break. No matter your fitness level, goals, or health history, yoga has a place for you and unlike other fitness practices, you don’t need to pump yourself up for a yoga session. Yoga understands a long day at work.
Contrary to the belief that yoga is all stretching and meditation, yoga actually has an incredible ability to strengthen the entire body. It’s especially beneficial to those who lift a lot of weights due to the fact that yoga promotes full scapula retraction and stabilises core muscles. Each of the poses is built to reinforce the muscles around the spine, the very center of your body, which is the core from which everything else operates. When the core is working properly, posture is improved and back, shoulder and neck pain is relieved.
We’re big fans of running but all that repetitive motion can wreak havoc on your joints, hips and leg muscles. While you may not tout yourself as the most flexible person on earth, yoga is the perfect side dish to your running practice, for the simple reason that it strengthens joints. In fact, a lack of flexibility shouldn’t be a roadblock to starting yoga at all. By practicing your muscles will lengthen, your overworked ligaments and tendons will have a chance to move through a full range and you’ll find that your tight back, hips and quads will find some relief.