1. Flexibility: Remember your toes? Regain the ability touch them again! Not only is this satisfying it just makes practical sense. Going through life with painful stiffness in the muscles causes a host of problems. It is never too late to regain youthful vitality by stretching and opening your body with yoga!
2. Strength: Yoga finds were you are the weakest and strengthens it in a ‘whole body’ kind of way. Not only will it strengthen the big muscles, it will also strengthen the stabilizing muscles surrounding the major muscles of the body to promote balance and symmetry in the body. An imbalance in muscle strength is sometimes an overlooked cause of painful conditions such as Sciatica and lower back problems. The muscles need to pull on the skeletal system evenly for the body to move correctly and maintain proper function.
3. Pain Prevention: As The Yoga Sutras so boldly state “Pain that has not yet happened is avoidable”. How you ask? Yoga! On so many levels this is true, but to approach it just from a physical standpoint yoga stabilizes and stretches all of the muscles of the body while supporting hormonal balance, glandular function and the work of the organs. What’s not to love?
4. Better Breathing: What could be more important than the thing we cannot live without for more than a few short minutes? When we deepen our breathe and improve our ability to breathe everything else is enhanced! Need I say more? It’s free, it feels good and it will improve the quality of your life tremendously! Practice yoga and learn to breath better! In the words of Nike “Just Do It!”
5. Mental Benefits: Perhaps the most prevalent and insidious ailment of the modern world is the plague of being overworked, overstimulated and overindulged. We lack clarity. We don’t know who we are, what we want or even how to simply ‘spread our toes’. Often times the simplest things are confusing and stressful because of the sheer plethora of decisions we must make on a daily basis. Under the weight of these daily pressures we begin to crumble losing our peace of mind, sense of self, and connection to our bodies. Yoga brings us home, it brings us back to that state of clarity. We start to feel things again. We stop trying to numb our pain. Eventually we realize its okay to feel something, we stop wanting to disconnect and slowly but surely we remember who we really are.
6. Mental Calmness: You are not your thoughts. I know it is hard to believe. The fact is the constant chatter of the mind will have you running in circles. In The Yoga Sutras the mind is likened to a chariot with the five senses as the horses wildly pulling at the reins. Yoga gives you the tools to sit in the driver’s seat of your chariot with ease and comfort where in the past you might be have been tempted to let your emotions pull you in every direction.
7. Stress Reduction: Yoga not only physically reduces the stress load put on your body but will also help to induce the bodies own ‘Relaxation Response’. This is also known as inducing the parasympathetic nervous system. For a lot of people being in a constant state of ‘Fight or Flight’ is a daily reality. Unfortunately, this leads to premature aging, a breakdown of the systems of the body, and ultimately disease. When our bodies are in a state of panic the blood is directed away from the organs and vital bodily functions. When you can access the parasympathetic nervous system through yoga all the functions of the body are revitalized bringing renewal to the body on a cellular level.
8. Increased Body Awareness and Appreciation: It is fascinating this body that we live in, unfortunately, many of us do not cultivate a mind/body connection. It is ludicrous to believe that we could maintain good health and stay disconnected from our bodies. This is even more obvious when someone has been injured. A lot of times you will see a strong disconnection mentally/emotionally from the area of injury. Nothing could be more vital in terms of rehabilitation than connecting to the area of your body that needs your love and attention. Yoga helps to create a deep connection and sense of your body. You will not regret this practice!