Self-care has become an ever-growing trend in recent years, with many people looking to improve their lifestyle by taking their health and well-being a little more seriously. One such way has been with yoga; a form of breath-control and simple meditation that incorporates body movements and postures. Below, we talk about some of the benefits that yoga can bring about and why you should consider finding time for the practice of it.
Because yoga isn’t confined to one particular type or movement, many people of all ages and from all walks of life, including beginners and experts, can enjoy it. Often practiced as a form of relaxation or meditation, yoga is a great stress reliever. Using breathing techniques to unite the breath with the body, the practice can help calm the mind, relieve stress and anxiety, stimulate brain function, and even lead to better sleep, both in length and in quality.
Continued yoga practice has also been found to help alleviate sadness and depression, leading to a significant increase in serotonin levels and decrease in cortisol and monoamine oxidase; an enzyme that negatively affects your neurotransmitters. These responses, in turn, have been seen to increase activity in the left prefrontal cortex of the brain, which has been correlated with greater levels of happiness and better immune function. In short – yoga can make you feel happier!
Much like the practice of mindfulness, people who regularly practice yoga are able to create mental clarity and calmness, which can improve a person’s concentration, all whilst creating a connection with the body, essentially increasing bodily awareness. This can be important and beneficial because it can help a person detect any potential physical problems earlier, allowing for early preventive action.
Ideal as a calming activity among your potentially hectic life, yoga can help tech you the principles of patience, tolerance, and persistence. By sitting back and taking a moment for yourself, you can reflect and improve on all aspects of your life and teach yourself how you can treat everyday struggles with calm and patience.
While there may be a particularly feminine stereotype surrounding yoga, there are plenty of reasons men can enjoy it as well. For one, certain poses and movements can require a high level of strength and flexibility, which can both be improved upon with continued practice. You will also be able to build better core strength, tone your muscles, and improve your posture. The English National Rugby Team, among others, is known to employ yoga as part of their training.
Yoga has also been shown to help blood circulation, particularly in your extremities, as well as helping push more oxygen to your cells, helping them function more efficiently.
With yoga such a mainstream activity nowadays, it’s incredibly easy to find a group or teacher not too far from your location. Even if you aren’t able to find the time to visit a yoga class, or a little apprehensive to jump right in with some strangers, there are plenty of home-style videos online with walkthroughs for beginners or more advanced videos for those who are a little more studied. Either way, with the countless benefits to the practice, setting aside a little time a week for yoga could be a life changer.
*Guest contribution by Ella Hendrix written in Collaboration with Lab Spa: www.labspa.co.uk