Getting into the habit of practicing Yoga is not always easy. Growing up in a middle class household, I saw my father practicing Yoga every day. However, whenever he invited me to join, my answer was always a resounding “No.” It just never caught my fancy.
My Yoga journey finally began as a fully-formed adult at a gym in Manhattan. What started casually as a way to mix up daily workout with a bit of stretching became somewhat of an addiction. The transformation that daily Yoga practice brought upon me was slow and steady, the kind that lasts even when life gets in the way of a daily practice.
I’m sure you’ve got a unique story of how you got into Yoga as well. Here are some of the most common reasons why people get into Yoga practice.
1. Fitness and Weight Loss
Today’s fast-paced lifestyle is one where we hardly get any time to exercise and keep ourselves fit. Most of the day’s tasks are done sitting, and this makes it difficult for us to utilize all our muscles. The volume of junk food around us only aggravates this condition.
Yoga gives you a chance to trim your fat and tone your muscles. In addition, you can become more flexible by doing Yoga. In fact, nearly 90% of people join it for flexibility, stress relief, and fitness.
At the same time, Yoga also takes you on a spiritual journey to discover yourself. Almost 85% of people have a change of heart in the process and end up practicing it for self-actualization and spirituality. The motivation to get physically fit through Yoga makes for a great entry point for many good things in life!
2. Stress Relief
Yoga is known to relieve stress and is one of the best ways of doing so. It’s one of the few activities that help with your fitness and act as a stressbuster too. It helps in lowering the levels of stress hormones like cortisol and even reduces your blood pressure and heart rate.
At a time when stress levels are shooting up, Yoga provides a peaceful oasis where people can rediscover themselves and find solace.
Those under stress choose to do Yoga to improve the quality of their life. Yoga also helps you fight off anxiety. Even a simple Shavasana enables you to clear your mind and puts you in a state of rest and tranquility. Every Yoga session will leave you with a sense of mindfulness.
3. Sleep Better
Many people find it challenging to get sound sleep. In extreme cases, people may be fighting insomnia. Yoga provides a potential solution to this problem by reducing your stress. When the stress levels go down, you’ll automatically sleep better.
Many studies have shown the positive effects of Yoga on insomnia patients, cancer survivors, and postmenopausal women. In all these cases, the sleep quality and quantity both improved by practicing Yoga.
4. Chronic Pain Relief
Yoga is known to provide relief from chronic pain related to conditions like cancer, autoimmune diseases, hypertension, and many others. It’s common to see arthritis patients getting relief from doing Yoga. Many people suffering from these conditions start practicing Yoga and get respite from the chronic pain that haunts their daily lives.
A typical Yoga class involves a lot of physical movement. This helps in improving the mobility and motility of your muscles and organs. When this happens, they can detoxify themselves naturally without much effort.
In addition, Yoga also involves a lot of breathing exercises. These help in improved breathing and ensure that sufficient oxygen reaches all your organs. It also enhances the functioning of your lungs.
Lastly, practicing some styles of Yoga can make you sweat. This helps in strengthening the natural cleaning mechanism of your body.
These benefits of Yoga are too good to miss out, and that’s why many people start doing it.
6. Protects Grey Matter
The grey matter in our brain is of paramount importance. It helps in the normal functioning of our nervous system. However, as we age, the grey matter volume starts reducing. Those who’re looking to save their grey matter often turn to Yoga.
Many brain imaging studies have proven that Yoga has “neuroprotective” properties. A study found that many 50-year old people who meditate had a grey matter volume of 25-year-olds.
Yet another study found that doing Yoga for just eight weeks resulted in brain changes. The parts that were responsible for memory, emotional regulation, and cognition grew. On the other hand, those responsible for fear, stress, and anxiety shrank.
7. Improves Concentration
Many people find it difficult to concentrate with ease and get distracted easily. A lot of us take pride in our ability to multitask, but more often than not, all multitasking does is to negatively affect our concentration on the task at hand.
Yoga helps you observe your breath, body, and emotions, and through its practice, you can concentrate all your attention on one thing at a time. When you observe your breath, it slows down, and when it does, the mind starts to slow down.
Over time, you’ll end up transitioning into a restful yet aware state of mind. This helps you focus better and even recharges your mind.
I’m pretty sure you’ve had your own journey to get into Yoga practice. Let me know about it in the comments section. And if you haven’t started Yoga yet, it’s never too late. Just download Bigtoe app and book a class now!