Why Do Yoga?
By: Nakita Chandrasena
We are constantly pushing our body to work hard, but now it’s time that we encourage recovery. Recovery time is the perfect time to incorporate flexibility training. Why is improving your flexibility so important? Flexibility is one of the first things to go as our bodies enter adulthood and we continue to age. In order to maintain our flexibility, we must make time for stretching via yoga or other similar body opening efforts. Why choose to practice yoga? Yoga not only does miracles for the body, but for the mind as well. How does a yoga class work? Most yoga classes are designed for both beginners and experts to enjoy? Yoga combines stretching and relaxation to strengthen your mind and body and relieve them from stress.
Flexibility is needed for muscle health. As you age, your muscles naturally lose strength and size and can become less supple. This can greatly affect the range of movement around your joints, which may lead to stiffness in the muscles and joints. Once you allow your muscles and joints to stiffen, easy range movements will start to become a challenge for you. Yoga lengthens and stretches muscles so you can prevent injuries such as back pain and balance problems. If the situation is not remedied in time, loss of flexibility could lead to permanent changes in posture and normal muscle function. It is therefore imperative to maintain muscle flexibility as an important component of overall fitness.
The word yoga itself means “to yoke”; it is the process of connecting the body, mind, and breath that is the essence of yoga, rather than the physical practice itself. Yoga is typically seen as being purely physical, it can be easy to overlook the immense power that the practice of yoga has to unite the body, mind, and breath. This is what makes yoga so different from traditional exercise; yoga has the unique capacity to bring your attention to the mind, body, and breath simultaneously, bringing all aspects of yourself into one line of focus. In other words, yoga has the power to harmonize your entire being, leading to a healthy, limber, body, and calm, focused mind.
Whether you are old, young out of shape, a regular, or an athlete, you can practice yoga! Yoga is in no way exclusive. It’s possible that you have a certain condition or a recent injury that makes it challenging or dangerous to do certain types of yoga, specific poses or breathing techniques, but there will likely be safe alternatives that an experienced yoga instructor that can help you with. The best way to know if yoga is to give it a try. Most yoga studios have a “first time client” class pass, which may be discounted. Every studio offers several different types of classes; visit a few different studios, look at online reviews, or even try it out a new place with a friend! If you have never done yoga before, the best place to begin for most people is with a beginner hatha yoga class. Hatha yoga spends more time on physical postures, as opposed to mantra, pranayama and meditation, and moves at a slow enough pace for anyone who will likely dig deeper into the layers that make up who you are as a person. Yoga helps you let go old patterns, feel more open and happy and connect with friends, family, and your wold in a more meaningful way.