What comes to mind when you think about yoga? Maybe meditation, bending your body in all types of shapes, how about yoga pants? Whatever it is, this happens to be a very popular thing in today’s society; they’re classes popping up everywhere, videos all over the internet and there’s no influencer out there not talking about it. Behind all the hype, there are some deep fundamental principles to the practice that truly help your overall well-being. Let’s explore them, shall we?
What is Yoga?
Before we move forward, we should at least get a better understanding of what yoga really is. Based on a Medical News Today article there is no true origin for the practice. The earliest record found was written work – a 2000- year old yogic philosophy guidebook called the “Yoga Sutra” by the Indian sage Patanjali. It spoke on mental, emotional and spiritual growth. Mirrored off these early principals, yoga plays a role in enlightenment/ spiritual growth in recent time. Even so, more often than not, yoga has become a form of exercise for many, focusing on balance, form, breathing and stretch.
So, what can I gain from including yoga in my daily life?
The few I’ll touch on today is by no means the only things that yoga can do for you but here are the main ones:
Flexibility is one of the first benefits you reap from incorporating a few minutes of yoga in your week. A lot of the poses really push your body to almost take your limbs as far away from your torso as possible. I can attest that over a period of 3-4 weeks I did only 10 minutes of yoga at least 3-4 days out of the week and I was surprised at how much range of motion I had in certain regions of my body. It was also a great way to get my self warm and limber for my workouts following. Some of the best poses for deep stretches are Big Toe Pose (Padangusthasana) where you stretch all the way down to your toes; a great lower back, spine and hamstring stretch, Revolved Triangle Pose (Parivrtta Trikonasana) that target the chest and side torso and Garland Pose (Malasana) which gives a really deep stretch in those inner thighs and hip flexors.
Strength also happens to be a great benefit and here’s why. Since most movements are very body weight intensive, you happen to be in positions such as Downward-Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana) or a Plank Pose (Kumbhakasana) that works your arms and core to keep your body off the mat. This helps to create stability, better posture, balance and a solid centre that is very useful in many other aspects of life.
As spoken about before, one of the initial purposes of yoga was for mental clarity. Based on the 7 major branches of yoga, which consider one’s chakra, it puts emphasis on emotional and spiritual healing through one’s body; from a healthy metabolism to even food and survival. For instance, Manipura, which focuses on your yellow or naval chakra, helps with fear, anxiety and personal power through the digestive system. Another is Anahata or the heart chakra which focuses on complex emotions. Each carries a significant purpose in personal development and self awareness.
One of the not so talked about but definitely not taboo benefits of doing yoga on a regular basis is an improved sex life. This includes a combination of all three above topics which contribute to stamina and overall comfort/ enjoyment during sex. Some of the best poses you can do are Cat (Marjaryasana) and Cow Poses (Bitilasana) which works on flexing your spine and core then Happy Baby (Ananda Balasana) and One- Legged King Pigeon Pose (Eka Pada Rajakapotasana) targets the inner thigh, hip flexors, and torso.
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It’s very easy to start. In my own journey of doing yoga, I was a complete novice. I didn’t know the difference between a King Pigeon Pose and a Child’s Pose but as time goes along, the more often you do it, you’ll get the hang of it and even inadvertently remember a lot of the terms too. Don’t overthink it, racking your brain around the concept. Pull up a beginners video on YouTube and work your way up; the more comfortable you become with some poses you can integrate more advanced ones over time. Encourage yourself through the process and track your development. The change begins with you.