Beyond being tragically hip and in vogue, yoga is an incredibly beneficial activity for all ages and abilities. The health benefits of yoga are exponential, and many are much happier as a result of their practice. With all the great press yoga has received as a panacea for optimal health and wellness, it is surprising that there are still so many people who have yet to try yoga for the first time, or do not practice on a regular basis.
If you have never stepped onto a yoga mat, or if it has been a while since you’ve taken a yoga class, the following reasons why you should get with the program may inspire you to make it a priority.
You will gain inner peace and contentment.
This might be a huge turn-off to type A overachievers, but peace and contentment are two fundamental qualities that are necessary in completing complex tasks. Without them you might feel scattered, spread way too thin, or irritated with the to do list you’ve created for yourself. All types of yoga, from restorative to vinyasa flow, will leave you feeling calm, cool, and collected so you can get the job done. Most importantly, when you are at peace with yourself you will not only experience more success, you will also experience more happiness.
Your body will feel better.
After practicing yoga for several weeks or months, you will eventually say good-bye to general aches and pains, lethargy, and early morning body stiffness. If it takes you a couple of hours to get moving in the morning because your body is incredibly tight, go to yoga a couple of times a week and you will see a huge improvement in the way you feel.
Your body will look better.
This is really an afterthought compared with the psychological benefits of yoga, but it is an attractive side effect. Sculpted arms, toned legs, and the coveted yoga butt can all be yours if you make your yoga practice a part of your daily routine.
You will have more compassion for yourself and others.
I always tell my students to thank themselves for taking care of their mind and body with yoga, because when you take care of yourself, you have more energy to give to others. Yoga has a way of inviting us to look at the big picture of life and not take ourselves too seriously. When we let go of our own silly hang-ups or issues, we can clearly see how others might be suffering. This breeds compassion and a genuine desire to offer nothing short of loving kindness to those around us.
You will have better body awareness.
Having a keen sense of your body has a plethora of benefits. For starters, you will be less likely to overeat, you’ll know exactly which foods serve your body best, and you’ll respect your body’s need to get more rest if you need it.
Find a reason that resonates with you and hop on board. Be a part of the 15 million happy, fit, and healthy Americans who frequent yoga studios across the country.
By Jill Lawson for Diets in Review, published by Care2 Healthy Living July, 2012