It's no surprise around my house I'm a yoga addict. I have an old mat set up in the kitchen to do some quick sun salutations or headstands when I feel like it. I love browsing through inspiring yogis on Instagram doing poses that seem nearly impossible like balancing upside down on one hand. I've been practicing on and off for a few years now, and I am never bored with it! Plus, the benefits I get from calming my mind are worth millions. Here are 5 Reasons to Try Yoga!
1. It Helps you Love & Appreciate your Body
Yoga can be challenging, but I love the challenge. Yoga helps you look at your body in a whole new light. You never see yoga classes advertising "You can lose 1000 calories in 1 class!" because that's not the point. The point is challenging your body and mind. You can practice the same pose for years and get something new out of it every single time. You'll amaze yourself with how your body can hold up your weight or balance. When I first saw pincha mayurasana (forearm stand), I never thought I would be able to do it. Now after months of practicing, I can hold it against the wall or with split legs for more than a few seconds. I'm amazed at how strong and balanced my body can be. There's so many styles and types of yoga, so don't give up after your first class!
Yes, your mind may tell you "You can't do that pose" or "You're going to fall," but when you focus on your breath or the pose you're in, that's when the magic happens. You'll begin to find new limits and realize that your body is worth all the love and appreciation you can give it instead of body hate. It's all about your practice, not comparing yourself to the other bodies in the room.
2. It's Strength, Flexibility, Balance, and More
Yoga is not about being flexible! You could be super flexible, but it's not going to allow you to balance on your hands. Yoga works your whole body (and mind of course), and I've woken up sore after many yoga classes. Instead of doing the same movement 10 times in a row, you flow through a sequence that strengthens and opens nearly every inch of your body. Seriously, hang out in plank for a while, and tell me yoga is just about flexibility. Not that I care about burning calories, but power yoga is a serious way to sweat and get your heart rate up fast. I can tell you I'd rather do yoga than endless amounts of burpees. Plus, the benefits you get from yoga will help you out in other forms of movement. When I was training for a marathon, I'm convinced weekly yoga helped keep me injury-free and healthy.
3. You get to Wear Yoga Pants
This is a real reason in my book. My spend 90% of my time in yoga pants - seriously. I'm really impressed how well my favorite pairs have held up for years after doing countless yoga classes, lounging, grocery shopping, etc. If you're a yogi, invest in some good, comfy yoga pants that work for lounging and yoga. Then again, I'm all about comfort than fashion and would much rather spend money on workout clothes.
4. It Feels So Good
If you could bottle up the feeling you get after a yoga class, people would be a lot happier. Your body feels expansive, open, and energized rather than worn down, even if you're feeling sore. Although some stretches or poses may feel pretty intense, it's never supposed to feel painful. You're supposed to feel a sense of openness and space within your body. In intense poses, you may find emotions bubble up, and it can feel really good to release blocked emotions and find a sense of lightness.
5. You Can Practice Anywhere
You don't need a gym membership, bike, sneakers, or anything to do yoga. You don't even need a mat. The physical practice of yoga can be done anywhere - in the morning when you wake up, outside on the grass in the summer, on the beach, or in a yoga class. If you're getting started, a yoga class is wonderful because the teacher can help you find the correct alignment in different poses, so you don't get injured. Yoga classes at studios also provide a soothing environment and community, but you can find plenty of places to do free or cheap yoga online at home. There's usually studios that offer donation-based classes or occasional free classes.
Besides the physical practice, the mental practice is something you can practice all day long. Take a moment to breathe. Stop and meditate for even a few minutes. Find beauty in the world. Yoga is all about finding unity within yourself and connecting your body and mind. This is the real challenge - to find out who you really are, find peace within yourself, and love yourself fully. This is the real reason I practice yoga. I could get a great, physical workout doing crossfit or lifting weights, but I never feel the sense of peace within myself that I do during and after a yoga class.