According to a recent “Yoga in America” study (click here to read) conducted by Yoga Journal and Yoga Alliance, the number of people experiencing the benefits of yoga has increased by 57 percent to over 36 million If a yoga practice isn’t on your current calendar or to-do-list, you are missing out on one of the most wonderful and transformative practices available. Here are 5 important facts that you should know about practicing yoga and the benefits of yoga.
No Matter Your Issues, Yoga Can Help.
Yoga (the word itself means to “yolk” body and mind) connects us to ourselves and helps us to reset our internal systems for the better.
Yoga helps us lower stress hormones in the body, which in turn lowers the amount of wear and tear that comes with being constantly stressed out. As we become more calm and relaxed, our bodies can then focus energy on their natural healing abilities, helping the body to come to a more balanced state. When we are relaxed, we tend to sleep better, which slows down the aging processes in the body.
It is through that connection and internal calming that we begin to heal on a very fundamental cellular level and gain awareness of the actual moment-by-moment experience of our own physical, mental, and emotional selves.
Yoga Meets You Where You Are.
Yoga doesn’t care if you are tall, short, thin, heavy, old or young, flexible or not. My excuse was that I was too old and inflexible, but after a dark night of the soul I ended up in a yoga class. The fact that there is a level of practice for everyone is one of the greatest benefits of yoga.
I was transformed moment by moment as I dove deeper into my practice (and I don’t mean by doing pretzel poses and hand stands). I started where I was and moved forward from there, and I am still moving forward a little more each day and with each practice.
Fact # 3:
You Do Not Need To Be Able To Stop Your Thoughts To Experience The Benefits Of Yoga.
It is a fact that we all have busy minds. You are not alone! We all have voices in our head. I too have those voices, and they love to get loud and articulate just when I am specifically trying not to listen to them.
It is not true that you must be able to shut off your mind to practice yoga and mediation. It is true that over time with a sincere and consistent practice, you can begin to calm your mind and watch your thoughts without getting involved. Yoga helps us to go inward and connect. From that place we go outward and into the world, with a little more peace and compassion for ourselves and for others.
You Don’t Need To Change Your Religious Beliefs.
As a yoga teacher I get asked quite frequently if yoga is a religion, and if practicing yoga somehow conflicts with an individual’s particular beliefs. The practice of yoga is thousands of years old and has gone through many interpretations, but at its essence yoga is not concerned about your religious faith. At the very core of yoga are acceptance, non-judgment, and love for all.
Fact # 5:
A Committed Yoga Can Transform Your Life.
Yoga helps us break down the distance from ourselves and brings us into close contact with our feelings and sensations. As I began to dive deeper into my own edges, I began to unravel – sometimes a little and sometimes a lot. Just like a ball of yarn whose tether has come undone, there was no going back. Once that string was loose it just kept unraveling. And you know what? It felt good to finally be unclothed (metaphorically speaking,) untethered and free.
There is a saying in yoga that the issues are in the tissues, and I had many, tightly packed into every cell and every space in my body. It was as if I was being released from my own prison, with the door finally swinging wide open and the fresh wind swirling around my very being, taking with it the heaviness that had imprisoned me for so long.
Starting and developing a yoga practice could be one of the best things you could ever do for yourself and your wellbeing. You owe it to yourself to at least give it a try–and maybe more than once. Sometimes it takes awhile to find the right fit; but once there, the benefits of yoga can be transformative!