There are so many options out there, so why did I choose yoga and stick with it from all the options I could have tried? I love dancing, so why not dancing for a workout, there are plenty of YouTube dancing for weight loss instructions so, why not do that and have some fun instead?!
Well, my first biggest decision-making factor was the easy-breezy feel yoga has to it. There are more intense modes that make you sweat and breathless, however, you can easily insert a session of easy yoga any time of the day without needing a shower right after it. So if you got 20 minutes to spare, that could be all dedicated to yoga practice, no need to see if you have time to shower after it or not, which makes the practice automatically less time consuming and more ideal to fit in into a hectic day schedule.
The second factor I really enjoyed, it the step down from the daily rush. It feels like a break from all the energy of rushing and hurrying that we need to face in our day-to-day routine! It’s a step back, a break, and a moment for myself where I can relax while doing some good for my body. Some people like to go for a run, again dancing might work as a break and some good energy, however, yoga gives me time to stand still and heal any mental issues that might be stirring in my mind. It’s a moment of peace and tranquility to get in yourself and just note. For me, yoga is like meditation but with an added layer of physical health benefits.
So besides the fact that it’s easy to incorporate in a tight routine, what I really love in yoga is that it is an all-rounder. It helps physically, mentally, and even spiritually! (yes, yoga can be taken as a religion. I haven’t really tapped into that but it still helped my own spiritual side. It gives you a place to rekindle your beliefs, at least it worked that way for me.)
So what are the best take-outs from Yoga?
If taught right, yoga can teach you many new ways of intentional breathing and every technique can help with different issues we might be facing in our lives. The last breath I learned (fire breath – slow inhale, very fast exhale with an intentional squeeze in your abdomen) can help burn any toxic energy that might be building inside (including sicknesses that might be building up). It is a whole workout with just sitting down and breathing! Yoga can be so amazing! For more about breathing follow the link here to our other article.
However, to sum it up, breathing helps ease the movements and recharges the body, however, my biggest take is the calming effect of the ocean breath. Deep breaths with a hissing exhale that mimics the sound of the ocean, it is calming and relaxing and can ease you into meditation even while curling into twisted positions that can help massage your internal organs or stretches that can strengthen your flexors. And, of course, it can be taken off the mat and practiced anywhere you need a calming moment for yourself.
Yoga involves plenty of yummy stretches that help, of course, your movement. It increased my flexibility and removes the stiffness pains that start to accumulate since I love to stay stationary a LOT (I must have been a cushion cat in some previous life or something, or a sloth)! And of curse with a more limber body, your posture will automatically improve. And just like a domino effect, with a better posture, you will get less and less pains that are triggered from bad posture habits like neck pains in my case! Again you can read more about Stretching and Posture in our previous articles.
Stretching helps strength as well, however, there are exercises that are more focused on strengthening our muscles. Yoga involves planks and trains you for push-ups (I still cannot fully do them but I am getting closer) and even sit-ups. But don’t be afraid! Yoga doesn’t involve rounds of sit-ups and push-ups! It’s always on a more relaxed level unless you want to step it up, that is one of the beauties I find, YOU decide the intensity of the workout, and you can always take a step back, skip a pose or few rounds, and just stay in the previous position (or by time switch into something that feels right to you). And of course, chose your practice to fit your needs and ambitions!
However, my biggest take out of all of this is the mindset that I am gaining out of it. Yoga gives you the time to get in yourself, slow your mind down and understand yourself better. It teaches you to push forward, however, it teaches you to take a step back at the same time. I’ve learned that at times, taking a step back is the way to succeeding, just like when you are stuck behind a rock in a video game!
The most important part and probably the hardest moment of your training, is showing up! That commitment to carve the time for yourself and get to the practice. Once you are in your practice, you realize that you can benefit from stillness, an easy practice, or a more intense one if you are up to it. All will be beneficial to your health and general well-being.
Reaching far and pushing forward is good, however, taking a step back is equally important not to hurt yourself. If one of the positions is too hard for you, simply skip it, and stay in the previous moment, or take a rest if the session you chose is too hard for you! You will still benefit from the practice and you will be stronger next time, and then one day, you will be acing that hard pose you couldn’t do!!
It is also a very clear mirror that life isn’t a steady slope up but a constant of ups and downs! There will be days when you are flying from one pose to another with incredible ease, and other days when you just can’t do anything! Where you keep falling off the poses and everything seems so hard, and it’s all fine! You are allowed to be where you are at in the moment, you know that tomorrow will be better and that it’s okay! And that is a very important life lesson!!
So why Yoga?
Because it’s relaxing, healing, and empowering at the same time! It’s the one all-rounder practice that tackled all my issues in life. It’s a moment for you to find what feels good for you and can be customed for the moment you are in and your particular needs for the day! It is all about you! It’s a life practice, a way of life, that improves health, mental and physical alike, it also improves your attitude towards life, and it tones your body and helps for weight loss!! I mean, what more can you want in an exercise?