Updated: Jul 14, 2019
With the Summer holidays just around the corner and plenty of long warm evenings inviting you to socialise and indulge, there are plenty of distractions to take you away from a regular yoga practice. Here are some of the benefits you get from a regular yoga practice and 10 very good reasons to try to keep your practice up even when you don't really feel like it.
When you feel your motivation is wavering , just think of 2 or 3 of these reasons, the ones that you know will resonate with you and roll your mat out ! And if these are not enough think about this : I have yet to meet someone who left a yoga session feeling worse than when they arrived. Enjoy ...
1)Flexibility : this is an obvious one and many people are drawn to Yoga for this reason. I have experienced enormous changes in my flexibility ( both physical and mental) however changes are more evident after at least one year of regular weekly practice so keep going! A week or two off will not compromise your progress but don't let those couple of weeks turn into months. Bring your a*s to class!
2)General fitness : a regular yoga practice that includes some body-weight poses such as plank and the standing series will without doubt begin to improve your general fitness. The most popular and accessible poses work on all the major muscle groups in a balanced way and with time you will definitely notice a change in muscle tone and fatigue after exertion. The relaxation and focus on breathing practices assists in cultivating your fitness by lowering stress hormones and promoting relaxation.
3)Sleep : you may find your sleep is better after a yoga session in the evening. The physical practice allows you to release the tension accumulated in the body during the day and the focus on the breath will help you tap into your rest and digest response.The more regularly you practice yoga the more you will feel the benefits when it comes to sleeping well!
Many students regularly use some of the techniques practised in class when they are struggling to go to sleep!
4)Coordination : you often don't realise how uncoordinated you really are until the yoga teacher asks you to do something different with the right arm and the left leg. A regular yoga practice establishes and strengthens neuropathways to support you in your daily activities. Often these mini brain puzzles seem to be simple and yet when it comes to the practice we all struggle a little.
5)Balance : very much connected to number 4 , a regular yoga practice allows you to develop better spatial awareness as well core stability . A well balanced practice will take the body through all planes of movement and will often require you to balance on one foot or maybe even on your hands. A regular practice will definitely enhance your balance helping you prevent falls and injuries so keep it up!
6)Body and breath awareness : how many times in a day do you check your breathing? Breathing is the barometer of your stress levels and Yoga teaches you how to become more aware of when your breath changes and how to calm it down. A regular practice can help unlock patterns and lets you explore possibilities for a deeper more mindful breath.
7)Resilience to stress : in weekly yoga classes you will come across meditations and breathing practices as well as physical poses. With time some of the more subtle/mindful practices will teach you how to bounce back quickly from a stressful situation and how to remain in control.
8)High blood pressure : supported by medical studies, I have heard many anecdotes from my students on what an impact a regular practice has had in their management of chronic conditions , hypertension been just one of them. A combination of low impact physical exertion and relaxation techniques will encourage the body to relax by lowering levels of cortisol, this in turn has a positive effect on the regulation of blood pressure.
9)Confidence : after a regular practice of at least 3 months you will start noticing changes in your physical abilities, you may feel stronger in certain areas of the body or perhaps more open and flexible. As you begin to become familiar with some of the poses you may feel you can take them a little deeper or perhaps add some more complex variations like a bind. Every time you revisit a pose that may have seemed complex or difficult you will notice progress and feel more and more confident. It is not a question of comparing oneself to others, rather it's a journey of self-discovery that will last a life-time.
10)Spirituality : in a fast world where materialistic things have come to replace so many of our traditional values , Yoga creates a safe space to tear down the wall of appearances and reveal our true vulnerable nature. The quiet moments offered during practice can be scary and daunting to start with but with regular practice you come to expect and long for those moments where you can go beyond the physicality of our existence into the realm of spirit and subtle energy, which is one of those unique abilities that make us human and ultimately what brings us together.
Cherry Yoga classes will continue throughout Summer except for a couple of weeks a the end of August, check the on-line timetable for details !