By Contributor Jen Shragge
Have you been wondering why is yoga so trendy lately? Do the images of perfectly toned, Lululemon-clad pixies make you want to try yoga, but then images of hippies sitting in the forest holding hands and chanting Ommmm make you think twice? Here’s everything you need to know about the amazing health benefits of yoga- no Birkenstocks required.
Let me break it down for you:
- Yoga IS for everybody. Literally and figuratively. There are dozens of mainstream styles of yoga that are widely practiced all over North America that are accessible to every level of fitness (or lack thereof) and flexibility (or lack thereof). One quick scan at your local yoga studio should reveal something that works for you.
- The more you practice yoga, the more you will love it. Just like any other form of physical activity, yoga releases endorphins, which are feel good chemicals for the brain. Plus yoga has the added benefit of meditative elements, which have recently been proven to aid memory, concentration as well as mood. If you’re curious about how this works, check out this study: http://online.liebertpub.com/doi/pdfplus/10.1089/acm.2010.0007
- Yoga addresses all the muscles in your body in one fell swoop. Who doesn’t want longer, leaner arms and legs and more defined abs. Anybody? Anybody? Yoga focuses on strength and flexibility while allowing for comfort and ease. Even the most relaxing and healing forms of yoga (Yin and Restorative) will provide your muscles with a deep release.
- Yoga teachers love twists. Why twisting? Twisting the torso creates a gentle rinsing and soaking of the internal organs. This aids in digestion and in turn elimination. We all like to be regular, right?
- Yoga classes all end with Savasana or Corpse Pose. This is the best part of class for most people. The turning off the world and just relaxing. The last five or seven minutes where you just get to fall into deep, motionless peace and quiet. Many find this pose so relaxing they simply fall asleep.
- Time for yourself! Committing to a regular yoga practice also means committing to making time for yourself. That means an hour or two free of cooking, laundry, squabbling siblings or having to worry about signing field trip forms. Making time for yourself is critical for most women and one of the biggest challenges they seem to face.
What to keep in mind:
- There is no such thing as perfect in yoga. Each pose in yoga has a general form but, the only perfect is when your own body finds strength and stability in that pose.
- Look for teachers that have completed a 200 hour Yoga Alliance (http://www.yogaalliance.org/) approved teacher training program. There is no governing body for yoga teachers (yet). The closest thing you can get is a teacher that has completed the 200 hour program. These teachers have studied yoga history, correct alignment and modifications and counter indications for each pose. This is critical to ensure a safe and injury free yoga practice.
Jen Shragge lives just south of Vancouver, BC with her Kid, Hubby and Doggie. When she’s not trying to make the world more green she is trying to get her family to eat more green. She writes about her challenges and includes the recipes at Cookingforthecarnivore.
37 Comments on “The Benefits of Yoga”
I have been wanting to try Yoga, maybe I will get into it this year. I should sign up for a trial class at the community center. Thanks for the post.
I had no idea that there was no governing body for yoga teachers! Good to know what I should be looking for if I sign up for a class!
Love this post! Namaste!
❤️ Yoga is awesome!
wow thank yo for this!!! My aunt has been doing yoga for over 50 years but lives so far away so she never got to teach me. I would love to take up yoga as there are just too many benefits in it to ignore.
My sister is starting to do yoga.
Last year, my dad went to a Yoga retreat in the south of India (Kerala), he absolutely loved it! Great for the mind & soul and of course, health! great post, thanks!
I have have hesitant to try yoga as there is a spiritual aspect to it as well.
Did not know how good yoga is for you. great article thanks for posting!
I love yoga – you feel so great after
I really must get back into this. I used to do yoga 3 or 4 times a week, but somehow have gotten away from it. And thanks for the tip about looking for certified teachers from the Yoga Alliance!!!!
I used to do yoga, but honestly, I just find it not as fast paced and kind of boring. I now how good it is, and once in a while I will throw in my yoga DVD, but I prefer my Zumba. Great read!!
i love yoga, and it’s great to be reminded of its benefits. thanks!
I have been wanting to learn yoga so that I can learn how to breathe correctly. I love that yoga has so many, wonderful health benefits.
Yoga is for everybody–This is so True. I have practised Yoga off and On for years and anyone (yes, almost anyone) can do it. I hope to get baxk to it soon but I am working on getting back to walking first.
I’ve been doing yoga for over 10 years and I love it; I get a lot of stress relief and mental benefit for it. Thank you for the overview.
I’ve never tried Yoga before…maybe I should start!!!
I have practised Yoga off and on for years. I really love it and it does wonders for one’s flexibility. I have recently began (again) a fitness program and I am hoping to work the practise of Yoga in it.
Yoga is great for getting in tune with your body and toning up your body while practising!
My daughter and grandchildren all do yoga, the kids don’t do the complex stretches, they all have fun
I loved doing yoga before I had kids and now I do yoga with the kids. I think it’s a great way to relax and to increase flexibility. It has also really done wonders for my kids when they are cranky…yoga calms them down.
Yoga is an optimum form of exercise, stretches your muscles and helps cleanse the mind
Love yoga & love this post!
Wow, superb blog format! How long have you ever been running a blog for?
you make running a blog look easy. The whole glance of your website is excellent, let alone the content!
I just got a yoga dvd and mat so I am pretty excited about trying this out.Thanks for the great review.It was very inspiring.
I think everything said was very logical. But, think on this,
suppose you wrote a catchier post title? I ain’t suggesting your information isn’t solid, but what if you added
a title to maybe grab a person’s attention?
I mean The Benefits of Yoga is a little boring.
You should peek at Yahoo’s home page and note how they create news titles to grab people interested.
You might try adding a video or a picture or two to get people excited about what you’ve written. In my opinion, it would bring your website a little bit more interesting.
I think yoga is very beneficial on so many levels. Not just physical, but also mentally. When you’re focusing on your stance or balance, it gives your mind a break from everyday stress too.
I love doing yoga, there was an awesome 1 hour yoga video on youtube that I used to do. You would feel so energized and relaxed at the same time after it. It really does make you feel great.
I have been wanting to try,maybe in the new year
I have not practised Yoga for a while now. I am reminded that I really need to take it up again. I know it is wonderful to make one’s body flexible and to strengthen you. It is also very good for your balance and posture. Reading the first two parts of your post has reminded me of some of its benefits. Thank you.
I have been wanting to try Yoga,no classes in my area
My sister-in-law is just starting to do yoga
I wish I had better balance
I heard an elderly lady tell another lady…do yoga and your body will thank you
I have been wanting to try Yoga,but so limited with my MS
I have been wanting to try Yoga
I keep thinking that yoga is something I really should try. Especially to improve my posture. I bet I would like those last several minutes the best!