How do I love yoga? Let me count the ways! I know that’s such a cheesy opening. . . but it’s honestly SO true! Yoga has tremendous benefits ~ ones you feel instantly and from the inside out. Yes – even after your very first class.
You do not have to be at any certain fitness level to practice yoga. The beauty of yoga is that it is FOR YOU – where you are right now. Your practice changes, grows, and improves as your body and fitness level change. Some true, long-time yoga practitioners are definitely advanced in their physical fitness ability, flexibility, and ability to get into and maintain challenging postures. But their capabilities were not automatically present at their first class. It’s called “practice” for a reason! In any physical fitness activity, there’s always room for growth and skill development. Yoga is no different.
- Your yoga is just that – all yours! Every time I get on my mat, whether I’m teaching a class or taking one, that time is all mine: learning more about what my body needs, what I’m capable of, and mostly recovering from daily and/or weekly stresses (emotional, mental, and physical). Today’s yoga session may be completely different than tomorrow’s, depending on which muscle groups are sore or tight and how stressful the week has been.
- Yoga is “time friendly.” Thankfully, there is no minimum or maximum amount of time required! A good yoga session can last from 10 minutes up to 90 minutes. The decision is completely up to you.
- Had a few hard workouts that left your muscles feeling sore and tight? Yoga sessions can target those areas! Let your yoga instructor know if your lower back or hip flexors feel tight or if your shoulders and upper back have been bothering you. A good yoga session can definitely help relieve that tightness and aid in recovery. Actually, weekly yoga sessions can greatly improve your recovery and help maximize your workouts.
- Yoga is one of the best ways to relieve stress! Settling onto a yoga mat, concentrating on your breathing, and stretching tense muscles will calm your heart rate and release a great deal of tension and stress.
- Recovery yoga before bed will greatly improve the quality of your sleep. Tense muscles are stretched, stress is relieved, circulation is improved, and your body is relaxed.
- With each yoga session, balance, flexibility, and mobility improve. Especially as we age, these help us maintain our independence so we can continue to lead an active, healthy lifestyle. Each time you perform a difficult pose, your body improves! Those tight muscles and tissues DO remember and respond. Even repeating a pose later in the same session will be improved.
- In addition to the obvious muscle stretching, yoga also incorporates resistance training as we use our own body weight to hold stretches and in moving in and out of poses. Not only are you improving your balance and flexibility, but you’re also gaining strength and endurance!
- No two yoga sessions have to be the same! Remember, it is for you! Each instructor has their own style, and each app or video is different. If you’re plugging yoga in at home, you can play music or nature sounds. Your room can be brightly lit or have low light. You can incorporate aromatherapy with candles or oils. I love that one day my class utilizes low light and the sounds of ocean waves, while another class is more about fellowship and communicating while we stretch. A yoga practice can be more flowing in and out of poses, or lingering in stretches for longer periods of time. Each yoga session can meet your needs at that time!
If you haven’t tried yoga before, please do yourself a favor and give it a try. I promise you won’t be disappointed! Many gyms offer yoga classes if you don’t have a yoga studio near you. The Down Dog app is one of my favorite go to’s for my own practice at home when I don’t want to plan my own practice. If you’re local to me, please check the Yoga tab on this web site for class opportunities!
As always, please feel free to contact me if I can help you with your healthy and wellness goals!