By now you have probably heard endless testimonials from people who have vouched that yoga has changed their life and solved most of their problems. While there is no one practice that can truly cure all of our physical, mental and emotional symptoms, yoga provides an opportunity to address issues from all three at once during your practice. Everyone turns to yoga for different reasons, and it is up to you to decide what you want to get out of and take away from each session. Here are a few reasons why now is a good time as ever to start practicing yoga.
1. Helps Bring You into the Present
One of the hardest concepts to master is living in the present. That might sound a bit strange because we are literally living in the present. However, our minds tend to do everything but live in the present. We spend so much time worrying about the future and attempt to guess at what it might hold for us; or we fester in the past, unable to forgive ourselves or others for previous mistakes. Our minds will always wonder, which is completely natural, but it is crucial for us to all accept that we cannot control what has already happened and what has yet to happen. All we can control is what we do right now and how we react to our current situations and surroundings.
Combined with meditation, yoga helps you remain in the present by focusing on your breath and noticing the sensations throughout your body. If your mind wanders during your practice, just gently guide it back to your breath and continue along with your poses. Be gentle with yourself and do not try to force poses or force your presence in the now. Allow everything to flow naturally.
2. Allows You to Slow Down
Our current society reinforces the idea that we must always be on the go, constantly moving forward, and that lack of progression means failure. While it is great to always be growing and attempting to move in a forward direction in life, sometimes we need to take a few moments to stop and let ourselves rest. Yoga will allow you space to just slow down and enjoy yourself during the session. Teachers will encourage you to leave outside influences at the door, and if they creep into your mind, accept them and then allow those thoughts to float away. While you are in your practice, you have nowhere else to be but on your mat. Enjoy the time you have while flow through your yoga session, and focus on whatever it is you need from your practice. The outside world can wait for an hour or so while you restore yourself and your energies.
3. Loosens Tension in the Body
Much of yoga is restorative stretching, which is great for those who carry a lot of tension in their muscles and joints. Maintaining poses for a few minutes at a time allows the body to gradually sink into the motion and for tension to ooze away without much force. Most of us don’t realize how much tension we truly carry in places like our lower backs, hips, jaw, forehead, and shoulders. If we never release this tension in our bodies, it will only continue to build and manifest into physical pains and symptoms.
4. Variety of Classes
Another great reason to start practicing yoga is that there are a variety of classes for all to enjoy. Maybe you find it difficult to settle in and let your mind rest; in that case, Vinyasa would be a great class to try for you will be constantly flowing through poses that your brain will be so focused on keeping up that it won’t have time to focus outside of your practice. Need some restorative stretching? Yin is wonderful for addressing the joints and ligaments to release tension and loosen these areas of the body. If you’re looking to sweat, hot yoga is a great class to release the toxins from your body and sweat the stress away. Again, it is all about discovering what you need from your practice, and then find a class that best fits what you are searching for.
5. Connect the Mind and the Body
Yoga is a tool to help us connect our minds to our bodies. Quite often our minds are far away, thinking of ideas, fears, dreams, and are disconnected from the sensations within our bodies. We do not always sleep when we feel tired or eat when we are hungry. Mind over body, body over mind, it seems as if one always rules over the other. However, when the mind and body work together in harmony, we begin to find it easier to stay in the present. It is important that we listen to what our bodies tell us so we can provide ourselves with the care that we need. If our minds are always focused outward, and we never take time to reflect inward, we will never notice signs that our bodies are asking us for help.