It helps you appreciate your body
Watch yourself transform effortlessly from pose to pose after a few weeks, and you'll realise what your body is truly capable of when you give it a chance. Try doing a backwards crab or a handstand before starting yoga and you're looking at sprained limbs and one hell of a broken ego.
It's a full body workout
And really, what more could you ask from a workout?
It makes you strong inside and out
Certified Yoga and Floor-Barre Teacher, Natalie Mukusheva, says that yoga "also helps to boost immunity simply by increasing overall health." So not only are you making yourself more muscular, you're also making sure your immune system is just as strong! Clever old you.
If you're a long distance runner or boxer, you'll know that all that hard impact exercise is going to tense up those muscles and test your joints. With yoga, you get to slowly build upon your body's flexibility and overall strength at your own pace meaning much less chance of injury.
You can do it anywhere
At home, in the gym or outdoors, you can take your practise wherever suits YOU. And if there's one thing we enjoy, it's flexibility.
You become SUPER flexible
Unless you're also doing Barre work or Pilates, what other workout gets you moves like an amateur gymnast AS WELL as a rockin' body?
It helps stop cravings
When you start to exercise more you'll naturally want to make healthier choices in all areas of your life, but Natalie says there is something unique to yoga that helps you stop cravings in their tracks!
"A regular yoga practice helps to develop an awareness of physical and emotional sensations associated with eating and other cravings. The breathing exercises strengthen the mind-body connection and this kind of awareness can then help you to tune in to the emotions involved with these cravings and make better choices when they strike," she explains.
It can help your PMS stress
We hate to admit defeat, but we could all use a helping hand around that time of the month. Natalie says that "certain yoga poses can help ease the discomfort of menstruation by relaxing the nervous system, relieving lower back pain and reducing leg and abdominal aches." WHY did no-one tell us this before!
Its a great stress reliever
Unless you are reclining on a beach while reading this, our guess is you're pretty stressed. While it's true that almost all exercise will release 'happy' stress-relieving endorphins, most will require you getting all pumped up on the back of a bike or pounding the streets for miles on end. Yoga manages to combine relaxation with a challenging workout and because of that, is THE best way to de-stress, ever.
It gives you clarity
By forcing you to forget the world around you and concentrate purely on your body at that moment, your yoga practise enables you to totally clear your mind. There's nothing like that feeling of absolute calm and joy at the end of your practise.
It helps with body confidence
Body confidence doesn't come from what you see on the outside (even supermodels have insecurities) but from your attitude towards your body. Yoga helps you see yourself for more than what your body looks like. You'll feel stronger, more in-tune and become more toned than ever before and that positive energy will do wonders for your confidence.
It helps with aches and pains
We've established that yoga helps relieve tension but Natalie says that regular yoga practise does wonders for neck pain and reducing headaches.
"Sometimes the combination of mental stress and physical misalignment from hunching over a computer or cellphone with your shoulders up and head tilting forward causes over lifting of the trapezius muscles and tightening of the neck. Yoga poses such as bridge or wheel help to open up the front of the chest and stretch the front of the body to relieve these symptoms," she says.
It helps broaden your mind
If you're a person who cringes easily, going to a yoga class might do you some good. Letting go and getting involved in the chants and positive vibes is incredibly rewarding. Exercising your mind is almost as important as that body of yours.
It's never boring
What other exercise can you do on a paddle board, on horseback or in 40 degree heat? Don't know what we're on about, just check these insane yoga variations.
It helps with organ function
Natalie also says that the breathing exercises in yoga do more than just help combat stress. "As you start to regulate your breath, move better and circulate better all of the organs function better," she explains.
It has a sense of community
Go into any group situation and we can guarantee you'll find someone else who shares a love of yoga. Whether you're moving to a new city or starting a new job, mentioning your practise can open you up to a new, welcoming group of people.
It helps you eat healthier
Yoga is more of a way of life than an exercise class and diet is a huge part of that lifestyle. When you're treating your body like a temple, you don't want to be putting any old greasy junk into it. Being more in tune with what your body needs to fuel itself will automatically open you up to a healthier diet.
It helps you sleep better
As well as de-stressing you, yoga can also help combat insomnia! Natalie informs us that "sleep issues are similar to anxiety in that it is difficult for the mind to switch off. So breathing exercises known as pranayama and deep relaxation also known as 'yogic sleep' help to relieve tension in the front of the brain and help you to relax."
It can be pretty cheap
Once you've got the basics down you can EASILY practise yoga at home. Just get yourself a yoga mat, some hawt yoga pants and you're good to go. We're assuming you won't miss that £40 a month gym membership.
You can do it any time
The beauty about yoga is that you don't need to commit yourself to anything. If you have signed up to a regular class then fine, but most times gyms have the option to do yoga all day every day. If not - that front room of yours is looking pretty tempting. Either way you have the freedom to ditch it and see your friends whenever you want.
It can improve your sex life
If your new rocking body and super bendy legs doesn't do it, we don't know what will...
This article was written by Maria Bell. Follow her @Marrbell!
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