YOGA - IT’S NOT ALL ABOUT BEING BENDY...

When people think of yoga, one of the first things that often comes to mind is someone twisted into a pretzel shape while breathing deeply.

But while flexibility certainly is a great benefit of the practice, the reality is that there’s so much more to yoga than just being, or becoming, bendy.

It’s a practice that’s been around for thousands of years, and for good reason – yoga is great for the mind and body.

So we wanted to share some of the other things that yoga is good for besides getting bendy.

Breathing

Deep, purposeful breathing is absolutely core to any yoga practice, and this is good for us for many reasons. Firstly, deep breathing is good for stress relief, as it helps to ease tension in the mind and the body. But it’s also been shown that most of us don’t get enough oxygen into our bodies, due to posture, and shallow breathing. Yoga helps address both of these issues at the same time as it encourages us to adopt good posture, and inhale deeply so our bodies finally get the oxygen we need. This, in turn, contributes to improved brain function, energy levels, and overall wellbeing. The best thing is, the more you practice yoga, the better your posture and breathing will become, so even when you’re not in the class, odds are you’ll find yourself breathing more effectively by default.

Relaxation

Yoga is commonly promoted as a great stress-buster and it’s easy to see why. Not only is the physical action of stretching very relaxing, but the whole environment tends to be calming. The use of soothing music and a warm, comfortable room help contribute to an overall sense of relaxation. It also provides some much needed ‘me’ time, and sometimes just giving yourself permission to take an hour out for yourself is the most relaxing and rejuvenating thing you can do.

Body Awareness

Even though we inhabit our bodies, most of us aren’t really aware of what’s happening within them day-to-day. A sudden pain or bout of illness is often the first sign we get that something’s not right. Practicing yoga encourages us to really listen to our bodies and become aware of what’s going on. Hopefully, over time, you may notice that your body feels more comfortable day-to-day as a result of your yoga practice and get to know your body even better. The ability and willingness to listen to our bodies is one of the most valuable aspects of yoga, and definitely something that will be of benefit long-term.

Movement

Due to the many conveniences we enjoy in our lives, a lot of us simply don’t move our bodies as much as we’d like. Yoga is a great option whether you’re just getting back into fitness and want something low impact to start with, or you’re looking for a whole body workout to add to your routine. It can offer incredible health benefits, as well as being good for the mind, without putting too much strain on the body. It’s also an excellent remedy for many of the ailments we all experience due to our largely sedentary lives; the stretches that make up yoga practice can help ease aches and pains, and prevent injury, which is definitely a huge bonus in our books.

Flexibility

Although yoga certainly isn’t just about being bendy, it can’t be denied that improved flexibility is one of the positive outcomes that many people enjoy. This is important, as taking steps to boost our flexibility helps prevent injury and mobility issues later in life. Just like many exercises, yoga isn’t just about the here and now. It certainly has benefits in the short-term, but the biggest improvements are typically seen over time, and being able to keep your joints supple and your body moving as you age is hugely important for wellbeing.

As with all wellbeing practices, there are many different sides to yoga.

For some people it is all about getting or staying bendy, for others it’s a valuable time to focus on themselves, and many even find it benefits their mood.

If you’ve been thinking about giving it a go, why not try a session and see how you like it, you might be surprised at what you discover.

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