By Maria Hrisoheraki, Certified Iyengar Yoga Instructor
Photo credit: George Zahariou & Stamatis Xanthoulis
I am often asked about why I do yoga, why other people should do it, and what it can do for them. I started practicing yoga because it seemed challenging. In the process, I realized that not only did it challenge me in a way that I didn’t expect but also it helped me with old injuries from all my previous athletic activities.
This is why I do yoga. But why other people should do it, and what it can do for them? Well, yoga is different for everyone. So, here are the six top reasons to practice yoga.
- It’s a great workout
Yoga is a fantastic workout for your body. Yoga stretches and exercises are designed around the idea of moving your body to increase its strength and durability. You can adapt the practices to your own speed and level of comfort. Yoga has fantastic movements, perfect for every kind of day and for every kind of person.
- It will improve your posture
Yoga is pretty effective at helping you develop some premium, proper posture. You’ll start off slouching and slumped, reflecting the figure of someone who spends most of the day at their desk–believe me, I’ve been there–and yoga will help sculpt your back into the kind of poised posture that’ll make you walk taller and feel immensely better.
- Yoga relieves stress
Breathing exercises – or pranayama – are common in yoga and they are incorporated into positions or done on their own. The exercises encourage a more focused and centered way of breathing, and while they might not be something you’ll do consciously every day, they’re absolutely sure to provide methods of effective stress-management and generally make you feel much better.
- Yoga relieves pain
Yoga can be used as an alternative form of pain management when practiced under the guidance of a qualified and experienced teacher.
Numerous studies have proven the effects of yoga on patients with back pain, arthritis, difficult pregnancies, headaches, heart disease, depression and so much more. Even athletes who practice Restorative yoga will find that their injuries and post-workout soreness will greatly diminish.
- It can improve your sleep
Sleep is crucial to our well-being, contributes to psychological health and its quality determines our lives.
Studies have shown that over 55% of people who did yoga found that it helped them get better sleep. This might be due to the fact that most yoga sessions have a cool-down sequence at the end, which can definitely induce some easy slumber. It also might be due to the fact that if you have problems getting to sleep, working on problem-areas through yoga can help alleviate pain symptoms and increase the likelihood of better sleep. Last but not least the combination of breath and movement activates our parasympathetic nervous system, which helps counteract stress.
- Yoga: 60 minutes of time for just you
How much time do you ever give yourself to disconnect and just be? Most of the time men and women get bogged down in work and home obligations (not to mention guilt!) that they let things that are important to them slide in order to take care of the people around them.
For 60 minutes, you can step on a mat to breathe deeply into your body to either sort everything out or to let it all go. It’s 60 minutes that will help make you a better person, mentally and physically.
You are SO worth it!