(Pictured: Yoga Handstand | Wearing: Blundstone boots, Danier leather jacket)
I first started practicing yoga when I was 15. I was recovering from a rough time — both physically and emotionally — , and I still remember my first class like it was yesterday.
I felt so out of my element and in my own head at the same time. I remember being asked nicely to take off my socks and shoes (I entered the studio wearing them!) and then was encouraged to enter the room and lie on my yoga mat, just breathing. I remember thinking, thinking, thinking, waiting anxiously for the real yoga class to start.
“Let’s go!” I thought.
I had practiced yoga prior to that class using Baron Baptiste’s VHS tapes in my parent’s basement (laugh away), and each time, I fast-forwarded to the middle of the session and started from there and hit ‘stop’ once they lied in their final shavasana.
All of those times– in my basement and in those first few yoga classes I attended–, I was robbing myself of the true benefits of yoga.
My practice is something I hold dear and something that continues to benefit my mental, emotional and physical health, spilling over into all aspects of my life. I won’t go on about my practice, but I hope this post might encourage anyone reading to give yoga a serious shot. Why?
1) Yoga helps people with PTSD, Bi-Polar Disorder & more
2) Yoga reduces anxiety and helps you focus
3) Yoga boosts self-confidence
4) Yoga teaches self-discipline
5) Yoga helps you see the big picture & offers perspective
6) Yoga increases your physical strength, flexibility and endurance
7) Yoga increases the health of your organs, lungs & cardiovascular system
8) Yoga boosts your immunity and helps you sleep better
9) Yoga increases the health of your Neurological system
10) Yoga can improve your relationships and your emotional quotient
As a word of wisdom, like any other physical activity or sport, you have to go slow. Never jump into poses beyond your bodies capability at that given time. Yoga can harm you, if you don’t practice properly. Like everything in life, enjoy it moderately–flirt with your limit, but never surpass what you’re ready to accomplish.
What are your favourite poses? What has been your experience with yoga? Has it helped you in any way you didn’t anticipate? I know it did for me!
Sources: Harvard Medicine Study | Huffington Post | H Industan Times | Women’s Health Magazine | 2013 Research Study | Art of Living Organization