What Your Asana Practice Can Tell You About Your Life
Subscribe to Outside+ now to get unique access to all of our content, including sequences, instructor tips, video lessons, and much more. Whatever you do to prepare (or not prepare) for the first of the month, there is a spirit of rebirth in the air that you may channel into true empowerment and purpose. While you most certainly have a great lot of clarity around the personal spaces and areas of your life that need refining or growth, you may not be aware that your asana practice is filled with secret guidance and profound insight.
Moreover, in my professional experience as a clinical therapist, I’ve seen that they seem to be associated with specific personality types.
The Fast Yogi
The quick yogi can be spotted most commonly in a hot room, where he or she is engaged in a power practice. This yogi has difficulty holding poses, both active and passive, and will frequently add extraChaturangas, abdominal exercises, and arm balances to compensate. Savasana is not only thought to be low on the totem pole of yoga’s advantages, but it is also believed to be a complete waste of time by many of the fast yogis. These pupils may leave class before the end of the session, or they may lay in bed with their eyes wide awake, plotting their course for the rest of the day.
Does this sound like you?
When looking for the quick yogi, look for him or her in a warm room, engaged in a power practice. This yogi finds it difficult to maintain postures, both active and passive, and will frequently add extraChaturangas, abdominal exercises, and arm balances to his or her practice. Savasana is not only thought to be low on the totem pole of yoga’s benefits, but it is also believed to be a complete waste of time by many of the fast yogi community. They may leave class before the conclusion of the period or they may lay in bed with their eyes wide awake, plotting their course for the remainder of the school day.
The best intention for you
If you responded yes to any of the questions above, you might want to consider setting an aim or making a resolve to reduce your speed. Please keep in mind that it will not be simple. As you progress toward this transformation, be nice to yourself and create a peaceful space for yourself to settle into. Meditation and restorative yoga are wonderful goals for the fast yogi, and they will offer higher returns than increasing speed or performing handstands alone. Also readVinyasa 101: Is Your Yoga Class Moving Too Quickly?
The Slow Yogi
Yogis who move slowly show up to class and continue to walk slowly throughout the practice.
To be clear, the sluggish yogi is not recovering from an illness or ailment; rather, he or she is taking frequent, protracted, and unneeded pauses and disconnecting from the group flow for a variety of reasons. This student spends the most of his or her time in Child’s Pose orSavasana.
Does this sound like you?
If your practice is a little on the sluggish side, investigate whether you are having a difficult time getting things done in your life. Is it difficult for you to get out of bed in the morning? Do you have a problem with depression? Do you speak out for yourself when the situation calls for it?
The best intention for you
You could set some specific goals for yourself, such as pushing yourself to your limits in movement and experimenting with some more demanding forms. This will assist you in exploring and discovering your own personal strength. The objective is that this experience will lead to a more in-depth investigation of larger possibilities outside of the gym. Sometimes all that is required for powerful transformation is a little bit of fire in the belly. In addition, see How to Boost Your Yoga Practice to Burn Calories and Build Muscle.
The Sloppy Yogi
The sloppy yogi appears to be divorced from his or her own body from a visual standpoint. This pupil frequently mistakes the directions of right and left and may be completely perplexed by cues such as straighten your leg. Even while these seemingly little hurdles are not a reflection of the student’s intelligence, they do represent a significant possibility for further integration.
Does this sound like you?
If you find yourself feeling completely lost in yoga courses on a regular basis, you may find it difficult to listen to your body in general. Do you find it difficult to connect with your gut? Is intuition an idea that you find difficult to grasp?
The best intention for you
If this all seems familiar, your objectives can be as easy as increasing the frequency with which you exercise. Make a commitment to yourself in each session to pay close attention to how you are feeling. The fact that you are becoming more aware of something as basic as your quads activating might be reason for personal acclaim since you are becoming more aware of yourself. Your ability to move with greater clarity and accuracy in all aspects of your life will improve with time. The benefit of sloppy practice is that it leads to more completeness, and who doesn’t want more wholeness?
The Rigid Yogi
The yogi who is too inflexible to bend or bend will frequently give up on the practice entirely. When he or she does show up to a group session, this student has a difficult time keeping up with the others since their range of movement is significantly restricted by their disability.
Does this sound like you?
You’re having trouble touching your toes in a forward bend because your hamstrings are so tight. Is this you? Consider yourself unsuited to yoga due to a lack of flexibility that prevents you from achieving some of the more fundamental postures. Are you a devoted runner or a former athlete with a strong but limited range of motion in your joints? Then you’re a strict yogi, and you’re in for a tremendous opportunity to physically open up throughout your practice.
The best intention for you
Make frequent practice a goal; even a few minutes of mild stretching at home may make a significant effect in a short amount of time. Make regular practice a goal. While the process of releasing tension in your body can be extremely difficult and depressing at times, the benefits of doing so include enhanced health and mobility, as well as more flexibility in your daily activities.
The sheer realization that you have the ability to modify your body may also open your eyes to what is possible outside of the gym. See also 8 Myths About Yoga That Could Be Keeping You From Practicing It
The Consistent Yogi
Yogis that stick to their regimen are frequently found in Bikram or Ashtangarooms, where they know precisely what to anticipate each time they walk through the door. Yoga practitioners who practice consistently may become unduly reliant on specific teachers or class times.
Does this sound like you?
If you believe yourself to be a dedicated yogi, you may want to explore whether you are also someone who issues with spontaneity in other aspects of life. Do you visit the same sites on a regular basis? Do you always eat the same things at the same restaurants? Do you have a favorite restaurant? Is there a certain amount of routine in your life? And will stepping out of your comfort zone provide some much-needed color and spice to your life?
The best intention for you
If you responded yes to the majority of these questions, you might consider taking a step outside your comfort zone. It does not imply that you should abandon your current relationships, but rather that you should explore alternative yoga studios, classes, and teachers. It’s possible that you’ll come upon some hidden treasures that will help you improve and become new favorites. We don’t know what type of shift it may bring about. For further information, see 4 Secrets for Overcoming Fear and Getting Out of Your Comfort Zone.
Want to practice with YJ Influencer Lauren Taus? Direct message [email protected] secure your spot toBendinBliss February 15–[email protected]
The practice of asana is not about perfecting one’s posture. It’s all about understanding yourself via your posture. – B.K.S. Iyengar, B.K.S. Iyengar In the third branch of Raja Yoga, also known as the Royal Path to Union, are the traditional postures of Hatha Yoga, also known as Asana. The wordasaname literally translates to “seat” or “position.” Yoga asana is unquestionably the most popular and well-known aspect of yoga practice, despite the fact that it constitutes only one-eighth of the traditional branches of yoga as described by the sage Patanjali in the Yoga Sutras, and despite the fact that it plays a relatively minor role in overall yoga philosophy.
Asana is no exception to this rule.
Observing a yogi reaching, bending, or twisting has “stretching” written all over it, to be fair.
Despite this notion, asana comprises an entire world of features, subtleties, and characteristics that are often overlooked or underappreciated in the context of yoga.
Asana: Not So Static
Let’s start with a look at how yoga asana (postures) connect to static stretching to get things started. When it comes to stretching, static stretching is described as any stretch that is accomplished with no movement. At first look, this concept appears to be a great match for the practice of yoga asana. However, if you go more deeply into the greater concept of yoga, you’ll see that this parallel isn’t actually accurate.
This is due to the fact that yoga does not consider the body to be a fixed entity. The physical body is a dynamic sphere of energy, change, and intelligence that is always evolving.
- Countless billions of atoms are exchanged between you and the rest of the cosmos with every breath you take. A number of muscles contract (known as theagonist muscles) in response to each posture you assume, while a number of other muscles rest and lengthen (known as theantagonistic muscles). Increases or reductions in circulation occur as a result of each macro- and micro-adjustment to the position. Subtle energies are mobilized with each movement in focus and purpose
- With each shift in attention and intention, As your level of relaxation increases, tension, worry, and mental and emotional poisons are expelled from your body.
When seen in this perspective, the term “static stretching” is a bit of a misnomer when it comes to yoga asana since, at the end of the day, a yoga position isn’t a noun or a fixed object like a statue. An asana, on the other hand, is a verb; it is a process, a state of being that promotes a deeper union between the body and the mind. Through this communication, you may develop a feedback loop of self-regulation, which improves your capacity to return to a state of homeostatic equilibrium. When you pay close attention to the sensations in your body, your breathing, and the content of your awareness while performing a yoga asana, you will be able to make adjustments that will allow you to be more comfortable and embodied in the posture.
Allow me to explain some of the tremendous consequences that asana practice may have on your mind and body in more detail now.
Strengthens Primordial Movement Patterns
Most modern people spend the majority of their waking hours in one of four fundamental stances or movement patterns, with the exception of those engaged in an athletic pursuit: Unfortunately, these possibilities represent just a portion of the range of motions that your body is capable of. Your prehistoric predecessors, on the other hand, did not sit about doing nothing; they were quite active and utilized their bodies in a variety of ways. Innumerable primal and animalistic movement patterns were discovered by them as they raced, climbed, crawled, leaped, swung, twisted, bent, and reached their way across the world.
When you practice yoga, you become a physical embodiment of these fundamental motions, which helps you connect more profoundly to the foundations of your humanity.
Develops Functional Physical Attributes
All asanas can assist you in developing one (or more) of the following essential functional movement characteristics: All of them are, to a greater or lesser extent, aspects of the vast majority of yoga postures, regardless of their level of difficulty. Depending on the position, one or more of these features may be emphasized more than others; yet, a well-rounded asana sequence will be constructed in such a way that it gives a balanced combination of poses that foster these core characteristics.
Additionally, these characteristics, together with the enhanced coordination that comes with practice, aid in the development of proprioception, which is the knowledge and sense of one’s own body’s location and motions in space.
The motions of the body in and through the asanas help to increase circulation in the body. The flex and contraction of muscles occurs when your body bends or twists or folds. This results in a fresh supply of blood being flushed through the affected tissue. Strenuous postures can also raise the heart rate, which causes the heart to pump more blood to different regions of the body. Particularly inverted postures make advantage of gravity to assist deoxygenated blood flow back to the heart, hence enhancing circulation and overall health.
When it comes to immune function, your lymphatic system is critical.
The lymphatic system, in contrast to the heart, does not have a pump, and therefore relies on the actions of muscles and joints to keep it flowing.
Massages Organs and Strengthens Facia
Because of the nature of body posture around the spinal axis, your internal organs are frequently subjected to a slight compression during asana instruction. Twisting motions, in particular, have the effect of massaging many organs in your torso, allowing them to be re-supplied with blood as a result of the twisting movements. The practice of yoga regularly also helps to build and tone the fascia, a connective tissue that surrounds and supports your organs and serves a similar purpose to an internal web or scaffolding.
Yoga postures stimulate nerve endings in the facia to transmit and receive a continuous stream of information between the mind and the body, each of which tells a unique tale about your body’s orientation, balance, weight and stability as well as its general posture.
Enhances Respiratory Function
Pranayama, also known as Yogic Breathing, is the fourth branch of Raja Yoga and comprises of a variety of practices that help to improve neuro-respiratory integration. While moving through different positions in your asana practice, you have the chance to build your breathing practice as you go. As you move into new postures, your breathing is forced to adjust to the changes in posture, the muscles involved, the pressure on the chest or abdomen, or the mobility of the diaphragm. This is called forced adaptation breathing.
With each shift, you can become more aware of your sensations and aim to maintain deep, regulated breathing, which is frequently accomplished through the use of the Ujjayi Breath.
As an added benefit, practicing pranayama during asana calms your nervous system, allowing you to exert greater control over its autonomic function.
If you can maintain focus and calmness while holding a challenging pose, it will be that much easier to do so when faced with the stresses of everyday life.
Channels Subtle and Archetypal Energies
Despite the fact that they are not as obvious as the physiological advantages already described, no talk of asana would be complete without mentioning the subtle benefits that may be found within yoga postures. Yoga asanas enlivenpranaor the primal life force, and in doing so, they aid in the mobilization and circulation of energy via the subtle bodies of mind, intellect, and ego, as well as the subtle body of the body. Different positions have an effect on prana, helping it to flow more readily via the 70,000 nadis, or subtle energy channels, that are located throughout the body and impact its flow.
Finally, asana practice has the ability to call forth and awaken subtle archetypal forces that have been latent inside the practitioner.
A warrior perceives courage, a mountain perceives stability, a tree perceives flexibility, and a sage perceives wisdom.
As anyone who practices asana on a daily basis will tell you, each position has its own personality, its own character, and its own energy, which is unique to the practitioner.
30 benefits of a daily yoga practice
Try one of our suggested yoga courses to reap the benefits of this ancient practice. A subscription to EkhartYoga is required in order to participate. However, becoming a member is simple!
30 days, 30 benefits of yoga!
Choose a class that is appropriate for your level and go into it with an open mind – you will feel different, more open, present, and happier as a result. If you don’t trust us, just try it for yourself!
- Try our 3-in-1 session with three outstanding professors, Anat Geiger, José de Groot, and Esther Ekhart, on the topic of happiness: It’s a class that makes you feel fantastic
2. Yoga increases your flexibility
In order to not be aware of yoga’s capacity to improve flexibility, you may have been living under a rock for the previous twenty years. It is important to practice yoga regularly and consistently in order to develop muscle memory, which will help you become more flexible; nevertheless, take your time and be patient!
3. Yoga improves your strength
When it comes to yoga, it’s not only about bending and stretching; it also demands an unexpected level of physical power. Physical strength is vital for a variety of reasons, including injury prevention, immune system and metabolic stimulation, and making routine chores simpler.
- In our smartly developed curriculum, Building Essential Strength, you will learn how to access your inner and outward strength.
4. Yoga boosts your immune system
Any type of physical activity is beneficial for maintaining a healthy immune system. As a result of the twisting, inverting, back bending, and soothing movements of yoga, the body is able to spend more time in theparasympatheticnervous system (rest and digest) and less time in the sympatheticnervous system (fight or flight) (the fight or flight system, which causes stress and inflammation and dramatically lowers the immune system).
- Try this sequence to bring your entire endocrine system back into balance and boost your body’s defense mechanism
5. Yoga helps you to focus
Because your mind will be quieter and less cluttered as a result of this, it will be simpler to direct the energy in the direction you choose. Yoga practitioners believe that practice leads to the development of one-pointedness focus. You can train your mind to be more conscious and present. According to research, after taking a yoga session, you are typically better able to concentrate your mental resources, process information more precisely, and also acquire, retain, and update pieces of knowledge more efficiently than you were before.
6. Yoga changes your energy
The fact that your mind will be calmer and more free of distractions makes it easier to concentrate your energies in the direction you choose. Yoga practitioners believe that with practice, they may achieve one-pointed focus. Mind training helps you to become more aware and present in the moment. According to research, after taking a yoga session, you are typically better able to concentrate your mental resources, process information more precisely, and also acquire, retain, and update pieces of knowledge more efficiently than before the class.
- In this lesson with Katy Appleton, you will learn how to increase your energy.
7. Yoga boosts your metabolism
A morning yoga practice will assist to get the blood, the breath, and the muscles flowing before breakfast, allowing the nutrients from your diet to be more effectively assimilated into the body. A consistent practice can aid in the development of muscle and the rapid acceleration of metabolism. Breathing freely and deeply promotes circulation, which in turn aids in the maintenance of a healthy metabolism.
- A little pranayama, a little upper body strength, and, of course, some opening practice are all part of the workout. With this lesson, you may start the day with a clean slate — your morning cup of coffee
8. Yoga reduces anxiety
Anxiety manifests itself in a variety of ways, including shallow breathing, poor posture, and tight muscles. The likelihood is high that if you’ve been trapped in an anxiety cycle for a long length of time, your body has nearly learnt to defend itself by remaining rigid and physically locked off, as well as by taking extremely short, sharp breaths. Due to the tight relationship between the mind and the body, physically deepening the breath, enhancing posture, and relaxing the muscles in a secure setting can all assist to alleviate anxiety.
- With this yin yoga session, you’ll go from feeling anxious to feeling relaxed.
9. Yoga helps you to be more mindful
Mindfulness is a popular topic right now, and it has grown into a multibillion-dollar industry because to all of the applications, downloads, workshops, and CDs available. Mindfulness, on the other hand, does not have to include meditating for extended amounts of time or involving something deep that is difficult to maintain. The practice of mindfulness is as simple as paying a little more attention to each activity you perform, helping you to be more present, aware, and alive in each moment.
- Try our 20 Mindful Minutes meditation program with Esther Ekhart, which you can find here.
10. Yoga soothes your skin
A person’s skin is one of the first organs in the body to show indications of stress and nutritional insufficiency. By combining some of the more calming aspects of yoga, such as Pranayama and meditation, with an active yoga practice, the body and all of its systems benefit from improved circulation, and the reduced stress levels can even help reduce conditions such as acne and eczema, according to the Yoga Alliance website.
- Using Afke’s class, you may clear and cleanse your body, as well as breathe and release your mind.
11. Yoga gives you some ‘Me-Time’
Taking some time for yourself is highly vital – especially for those who devote their life to the care of others, as is the case for nurses and other caregivers. Giving to others is an important part of life because it makes us feel more connected to the people and things around us. However, in order to offer, we must first be satisfied with our own lives. If you want to make a difference in the world, start by changing yourself, as Gandhi (and Jimi Hendrix) said:
- Do you require some alone time to reconnect with yourself? Try this: José de Groot leads you through moments of self-care practice.
12. Hydrate Your Spine
The movement of the spine in a safe and healthy manner increases the flow of synovial fluid into the spinal column. The spine holds a bit more of this fluid in the morning, but the spine is more compressed and ‘dehydrated’ in the evening (this explains why we’re a little’shorter’ in the evenings!). Inversions and spine-lengthening poses such as Downward Facing Dog, as well as other inversions, can aid to restore moisture and vitality to our spine, which is extremely significant.
- In this exercise, you will move your spine in six distinct ways. Jennilee Toner helps you wake up and get ready in the morning.
13. Yoga boosts brain power
A movement pattern that is distinct from our usual routine makes the brain work harder and can assist keep the brain in good condition. Twisting asanas, as well as anything that requires crossing limbs over the body (such as the cross-crawl exercise, in which you alternately extend opposing arm and leg from a tabletop posture) are excellent for re-establishing balance between the hemispheres of the brain. Practice Nadi Shodhana, the ‘channel cleaning’ breath, on a regular basis to help put everything back into balance.
- This workshop, Quick repair brain balance, can help you to clear the mental ‘fog.’
14. No space? No worries!
Yoga asana practice, in contrast to many other physical pursuits, needs merely the presence of your own body. Yoga can be performed almost everywhere, including airplanes, dorm rooms, offices, and even jail cells, according to the Yoga Journal. Are you feeling inspired yet? Keep up with our schedule.
15. Yoga helps you to breathe better
Yoga places a strong focus on breathing, which can be difficult for novices to grasp at first, but with practice, moving with the breath becomes natural. Even the capacity to breathe more completely and deeply may have a significant influence on one’s general health, and it is well worth practicing on a regular basis. You may not have the postures with you for the rest of your life, but you will always have your breath with you at all times.
- With our Ten Days of Pranayamaprogram, you may establish a regular Pranayama practice.
16. Yoga helps you to stand up taller
It’s probable that you spend a significant portion of your day slumped over a desk, screen phone, or steering wheel, much like the majority of the population. This slouched position draws attention to the kyphotic curvature of the thoracic spine, which crushes the chest and puts strain on the lungs, heart, and lower back. It is also a certain method to put oneself in a foul mood since it is contagious. Simply raising one’s head a bit higher and expanding one’s chest may have an immediate good impact on one’s mood and overall well-being.
- Examine your posture once you’ve learned how to balance your curves for both stable and dynamic movement: Finding your spinal curves is important for spinal integrity.
17. Yoga helps you beat the blues
The ability to move is one of the most efficient methods to improve one’s disposition, and yoga is a particularly powerful medicine when it comes to combating the blues. Yoga stimulates the neurological system, resulting in the production of hormones that assist to boost one’s mood.
In addition, concentrating on something good each time we practice yoga is an efficient technique to imprint that positivity into the mind; so, the more you practice, the more probable it is that you will catch yourself smiling.
- Yoga for a good mood – Yin technique is something to try. along with Esther – When you’re feeling a little stuck, a good yoga class may help you get your energies flowing again
18. Yoga improves your balance (in body and mind)
As you practice daily yoga, the brain is encouraged to activate neurons that aid in muscle memory and spatial awareness. Using the feet consistently in your practice can also assist to develop the muscles in your feet, which number over 100!
19. Yoga helps to clear the toxins
While it is debatable whether or not twisting yoga asanas really “clean” the body, it is generally agreed that a regular yoga practice aids in the removal of toxins from the body. Getting things moving both inside and outside the body aids in shifting any toxins that may be there and ridding the body of them more quickly. The ability to be conscious and observant of your thoughts may also assist in ‘detoxifying’ the mind of any ‘toxic’ notions.
20. Yoga frees your feet!
The question of whether twisting yoga poses truly “detox” the body is debatable; nonetheless, it is generally agreed that a regular yoga practice aids in the removal of toxins from one’s system. Getting things moving both inside and outside the body aids in shifting any toxins that may be hiding and helps the body rid itself of them more quickly and effectively. The ability to be conscious and observant of your thoughts can also assist in ‘detoxifying’ the mind of any potentially harmful thoughts.
- If you want to reawaken your feet, try this brief lesson with Helen Noakes.
21. Yoga has anti-inflammatory ‘properties’
Reduced stress levels, improved blood and oxygen circulation, and an increase in neurotransmitters associated with the “happy hormone” all contribute to a reduction in inflammation. Increased duration of the out-breath in calming Pranayama activities, such as those that promote relaxation, can also be an effective strategy to decrease inflammation.
- This will help you to increase your breathing capacity over time. David Lurey will lead a session on increased exhalation, pranayama, and mantra.
22. Yoga helps give meaning to your day
We’ve all heard the songIt Ain’t What You Do, It’s The Way That You Do It, and while the song is appealing, the deeper message behind it is really powerful. The practice of setting an intention, focus, or Sankalpafor the day early in the morning enables us to recall that intention if we are faced with a difficult decision later on in the day. Setting an intention may also enable us to be more conscious of our activities, and it can help to give the day a greater sense of purpose.
- Establishing intents – what is underneath – with James Reeves can help you find an intention that connects with your heart’s desire.
23. Yoga helps you to express gratitude
Sun Salutations (Surya Namaskar) were traditionally performed by yogis in the morning as a way to greet the new day and to pay reverence to the sun, who is the source of warmth, light, and life.
- Learn the mantras for each of the 12 movements in a Sun Salutation with Jennilee Toner in this short and sweet practice. –Gratitude for the sun
- Gratitude for the moon
- Gratitude for the stars
- Gratitude for the sun
- Gratitude for the
24. Yoga teaches you to know yourself
Yoga, in contrast to communal sporting activities, is an extremely inward and personal discipline. The focus is remains on what is occurring inside you, even if you have practiced in a group setting with many other people before. One of the Yoga’s Eight Limbs, ‘Pratyahara’ refers to the practice of inwardly directing one’s senses and consciousness inward in order to learn more about one’s own body and mind. We will have to live with this body and mind for the rest of our lives, therefore it is worthwhile to spend some time getting to know them and perhaps become friends with them.
- In this yin class with Anat Geiger, you will find yourself again.
25. Yoga regulates your body clock
Natural for humans would be for them to rise with the sun and sleep when it is nighttime. Since the introduction of electricity and the light bulb, however, we’ve been able to manipulate the passage of time, which means that waking up when the sun rises isn’t necessarily the most pleasant way to begin the day. However, if you practice getting up a bit earlier in the morning, you’ll likely notice that your body clock returns to normal, as well as an improvement in your sleeping patterns. As taught by Ayurveda, which is considered the ancient “sister science” of yoga, the hours between 10pm and 2am are the body’s natural period of renewal, and that the ideal approach to start the day is to get up as near to sunrise as possible, followed by a walk in the fresh air.
Yoga and walking are recommended throughout the hours of 6 a.m. to 8 a.m. for’spiritual practice and exercise, such as asana and walking’.
- Vata imbalances can make you feel restless, agitated, and afraid, and they can make it difficult to sleep. Try the following sequence to restore equilibrium:
26. Increase compassion
Compassion and kindness are supposed to be increased in our interactions with others and ourselves via the practice of Metta Bhavana (Loving Kindness) meditation. While it is true that humans are born with the capacity for compassion and emotional expression, the modern environment frequently leaves us feeling more detached than ever. The world around us is affected by all of our actions and even thoughts, and if the adage “Love Makes the World Go Round” is accurate, then practicing loving kindness and compassion for others will make a greater effect than you may anticipate.
- Try this energetic sequence with Anat Geiger, which is meant to help you build strength and compassion in your practice – We are the warriors of compassion
- We are the warriors of compassion.
27. Yoga helps you to become more body aware
Listen to your body” is something you’ve probably heard most yoga instructors say, but what exactly does it mean? The best yoga practices foster feeling rather than force, steady growth rather than immediate gain, and a method of movement that is beneficial rather than detrimental. Researchers at the University of California, Berkley’s Department of Psychology discovered that yoga practitioners had more body awareness, increased response to physical stimuli, and even greater body satisfaction than individuals who do not practice yoga.
- The emphasis of this lesson is on how to listen to your own body so that you may learn to manage your effort – in other words, how to regulate your effort. Sandra Carson is a person who listens and regulates.
28. Yoga helps you to accept whatever life brings to your table
Yoga teaches us that everything is in constant flux. Both the good and the bad things in life come and go, as do the painful things. When you are aware of this, and grasp it on a deeper level, it is simpler to accept and remain present and cheerful, even in the face of difficult circumstances.
- Try this energizing and grounding meditation, and you’ll gain some strategies for accepting, flowing with, and surrendering to the flow of change: Irina Verwer will help you transform and grow.
29. Yoga gives you a natural wind-down
Instead of watching a movie or checking Facebook for the hundredth time, consider doing some restorative yoga to help you relax. When done correctly, this form of exercise is a highly effective approach to quiet the nervous system, thereby enhancing sleep quality, assisting the digestive system to do its work overnight, and providing the energy you require to wake up early the next morning to salute the sun!
- Prepare your body and mind for a restful night’s sleep with our Yoga for Better Sleep program
- It’s free!
30. Yoga is a life-long lesson
The wonderful thing about yoga is that it can be tailored to fit the needs of every individual. Yoga is suitable for everyone, whether you are a newborn or a baby-boomer, a surly teenager or a great-grandmother. Finding the style of practice that works for you and paying attention to your body are sometimes the most difficult tasks. A 500-hour qualified yoga instructor, writer, and holistic therapist, NewlynEmma works out of her home in Sussex, UK. Passionate in yoga philosophy and Ayurveda, she is dedicated to bringing these old approaches to the modern world in an approachable and easy-to-implement manner through her writing and courses on the subject.
Benefits of Yoga
Learn about the many styles of yoga and how they may be utilized as a tool to help you maintain a healthy lifestyle. The osteopathic approach to wellness is similar to yoga in that it emphasizes your body’s inherent drive toward health and self-healing. According to Natalie Nevins, DO, a board-certified osteopathic family physician in Hollywood, California, and trained Kundalini Yoga instructor, “the objective of yoga is to create strength, awareness, and harmony in both the mind and the body.” “Yoga may help you achieve this,” she says.
In his professional capacity as an osteopathic physician, Dr.
“Yoga is a fantastic tool for remaining healthy since it is built on the same principles as other forms of exercise.” Doctors of Osteopathic Medicine, often known as DOs, place a strong emphasis on prevention rather than only treating symptoms.
They do this by studying how your lifestyle and surroundings affect your health, rather than merely treating your symptoms.
As a result of the wide variety of yoga practices available, it is easy for anybody to begin practicing them. There are adaptations for every yoga posture and beginner courses in every style, so it doesn’t matter if you’re a couch potato or a professional athlete, adds Dr. Nevins. “Size and fitness levels don’t matter, too, because there are starting sessions in every style.” “The goal is to push yourself beyond your comfort zone rather than striving for pretzel-like precision.” It is an excellent method of being more in sync with your body and inner self.”
Doctor Nevins says the relaxation methods integrated into yoga can help alleviate chronic pain, such as lower back and joint pain; arthritis; migraines; and carpal tunnel syndrome (finger discomfort). “Yoga has also been shown to decrease blood pressure and alleviate sleeplessness.” Yoga has a variety of other physical advantages, including:
- Enhanced breathing, energy, and vigor
- Maintaining a balanced metabolism
- Weight loss
- Cardiac and circulatory health
- Improved sports performance
- Protection from injuries
- Greater flexibility, increased muscular strength, and tone
Aside from the physical benefits, one of the most significant advantages of yoga is the way it assists a person in managing stress, which has been shown to have detrimental effects on both the body and the brain. ‘Stress may manifest itself in a variety of ways,’ said Dr. Nevins, including back or neck discomfort, sleeping issues, headaches, drug misuse, and an inability to focus. “Yoga has been shown to be extremely useful in the development of coping skills and the attainment of a more positive attitude on life.” Meditating and breathing techniques are used into yoga to aid in the improvement of a person’s mental well-being.
Nevins explains, “regular yoga practice promotes mental clarity and relaxation, develops bodily awareness, alleviates chronic stress patterns, helps to relax the mind, concentrates attention, and helps to sharpen concentration.” Having a strong sense of one’s own body and self, she continues, is particularly important “since it may aid in the early diagnosis of health issues and the implementation of early preventative measures.”
Yoga and Consciousness: A Meditation to Access Your Highest Self
Yoga has a variety of health advantages beyond its physical benefits. One of the most significant is its ability to assist people in managing stress, which has been shown to have detrimental effects on both the body and the mind. ‘Stress may manifest itself in a variety of ways,’ said Dr. Nevins, including back or neck discomfort, insomnia, migraines, drug misuse, and an inability to focus. According to Yoga Journal, “Yoga may be extremely beneficial in the development of coping skills and the attainment of a more optimistic attitude on life.” Meditating and breathing techniques are incorporated into yoga classes, which can assist to enhance a person’s mental health.
Nevins explains, “regular yoga practice promotes mental clarity and relaxation, develops bodily awareness, alleviates chronic stress patterns, helps to relax the mind, concentrates attention, and helps to improve concentration.” Having a strong sense of one’s own body and self, she explains, is particularly important “since it may aid in the early diagnosis of health issues and the implementation of early preventative measures”.
- Take a seat in a peaceful location. Sit up straight, close your eyes, and take several deep breaths. Inhale for 4 seconds, retain the air in your body for 4 seconds, then expel for 8 seconds. This is a basic breathing technique. Feel yourself becoming sluggish in your seat
- Pay attention to your thoughts. Take note of how it is continually searching, thinking, and digesting information. Rather of attempting to calm your mind, simply acknowledge its genuine nature instead. Because it is your mind’s duty to think, we will not penalize it for carrying out its responsibilities
- Instead, get intrigued about who is paying attention to your mind. It exists in a distinct realm from the speech and ideas. Take note of how peaceful the environment is. Make a mental note of how steady and consistent the space behind, or perhaps even above, your mind appears to be. Consider whether you can begin to make the move from your mental realm to this silent observing area. Once you’ve established yourself in a calm zone, check if you can extend that space beyond your physical and mental boundaries. Consider the possibility that you can gaze down on your body and see the chamber in which it is enclosed even when your eyes are closed. Check out how far you can take your awareness in this direction. – Do you have the ability to sense 10 feet outside of your body? Is it possible to hear something 30 feet away from your room? Are you able to glimpse into distant space? Take note that you have unlimited access to everything you choose since your actual self, your atman, is limitless
This is a regular occurrence. It’s quite OK if you are unable to complete all five steps the first time. Try again tomorrow, and remember to be kind to yourself now. The more often you return to this exercise, the easier it will become for you. Due to the fact that the soul never tires and that the soul exists eternally, meditation is genuinely a salve for our exhausted minds and bodies in this chaotic world. Meesha is a queer Desi (half Punjabi, half Kashmiri) who is presently residing in Puerto Rico with her boyfriend.
To reclaim their heritage and create a trauma-informed, intersectional, body-positive experience for everyone who has felt marginalized by cultural appropriation, white supremacy, patriarchy, the gender binary, the caste system, and cisheteronormative culture, the creators of this virtual yoga studio set out to do just that.
16 Science-Based Benefits of Yoga
While modern media and advertising may lead us to believe that yoga is solely about physical postures, the practice of yoga encompasses a wide range of contemplative and self-disciplinary practices, including meditation, chanting, mantra, prayer, breath work, ritual, and even selfless action, among other things. The term “yoga” derives from the root word “yuj,” which literally translates as “to yoke” or “to bind” in English. The term itself has a variety of connotations, ranging from an astronomical conjunction to nuptials, with the underlying notion of connectedness running through them all.
- In spite of the fact that the scientific study on yoga’s health benefits is still in its early stages, much of the data to date supports what practitioners have evidently understood for millennia: yoga is extremely good to our general health and well-being.
- Yoga Journal and Yoga Alliance, two of the world’s largest yoga organizations, performed a worldwide study in 2016, looking at a range of facts regarding yoga in an attempt to quantify its worth in the face of growing popularity.
- Physical health necessitates the ability to move with ease and flexibility.
- Flexible training has been demonstrated to be effective even with the lowest intensity types ( 2 , 3 ).
- Age-related decreased flexibility is a natural part of life, and a 2019 study indicated that yoga both slowed down the loss of flexibility in older persons and enhanced flexibility in these individuals ( 4 ).
- As a result, it’s not surprising that stress relief was the second most often reported reason for practicing yoga.
- But keep in mind that the physical practice of yoga is only one component of the overall discipline.
- Major depressive disorder (MDD) is considered to be one of the most common mental health problems in the world, affecting around one in every 100 people.
- In studies, it has been demonstrated that both movement-based yoga treatments and breathing-based practices may dramatically reduce depression symptoms ( 9 ).
- Inflammation for an extended period of time is associated with numerous diseases, including heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, Crohn’s disease, and many more ( 10 ).
One analysis evaluated 15 research papers and discovered a similar finding: yoga, in all of its forms, intensities, and durations, lowered biochemical markers of inflammation across a wide range of chronic illnesses (11).
5. Yoga will likely increase your strength
While most people identify yoga with stretching and flexibility, some forms of yoga programs may also be considered strength-building exercises in addition to stretching and flexibility. It all relies on the student level, the teacher’s approach, and the teacher’s personality. As a result, yoga asana is considered a multimodal type of exercise ( 4 ). Yoga’s ability to help people grow strength has been researched in a variety of settings, including those involving patients with breast cancer, older folks, and children, among others ( 4 ,12, 13 ).
6. Yoga may reduce anxiety
According to a recent report by the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, anxiety disorders may be the most frequent mental health illnesses in the United States (15). Anxiety disorders include a variety of diverse conditions such as generalized anxiety disorder, social anxiety disorder, and particular phobias. Even long-term stress can be classified as an anxiety disorder in some circumstances. There have been a number of studies that show yoga asana may be useful as an alternative treatment for anxiety disorders, while some of the researchers have asked for more repeated studies before making a definitive statement to that effect ( 6 , 16 ).
7. Yoga may improve quality of life
“An individual’s view of their place in life in the context of the culture and value systems in which they live, as well as in connection to their objectives, expectations, standards, and worries” is how the World Health Organization defines quality of life (QOL) ( 18 ). Relationships, creativity, learning opportunities, health, and material pleasures are just a few of the variables that influence quality of life. For decades, researchers have regarded quality of life (QOL) as a significant predictor of people’s lifespan and the chance of patients’ improving when they are treated for a chronic disease or injury ( 19 ).
Stress can have a harmful impact on your immune system if it is ongoing ( 21 ).
Yoga, on the other hand, is regarded a scientifically validated alternative treatment for stress, as previously described.
Due in part to yoga’s capacity to combat inflammation and in part to the improvement of cell-mediated immunity, this has been seen to be the case ( 22 ).
9. Yoga can improve balance
Balance is vital in many situations, not only while trying to balance on one leg in Tree Pose in yoga class. It’s also required for ordinary everyday activities such as picking something up off the floor, reaching for something on a shelf, and descending a flight of stairs. Yoga has been demonstrated to improve athletes’ balance as well as their overall performance ( 3 ). Similarly, according to a review of research done on healthy populations, most people’s balance may improve as a result of frequently practicing yoga ( 23 ).
- According to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, falls among older persons in nursing homes are quite prevalent, and even the most minor of mishaps can result in an increased risk of mortality (24).
- More research with larger sample sizes, on the other hand, are required before a general conclusion can be reached.
- Adaptive yoga, often known as chair yoga, can be especially beneficial for older persons or those with injuries who are less mobile or have difficulty maintaining their balance.
- It is also known as “yogic breathing.” According to the Journal of Ayurveda and Integrative Medicine, a review of 1,400 papers was conducted to determine the overall effects of pranayama.
More specifically, the research presented in the review discovered that managing the tempo of breathing had a significant beneficial effect on the cardiovascular system, as demonstrated by favorable changes in heart rate, stroke capacity, arterial pressure, and contractility of the heart (28).
- When studying sleep, experts examine a person’s capacity to fall asleep as well as his or her ability to remain asleep.
- Yoga has been demonstrated to increase both the speed with which people fall asleep and the depth with which they remain asleep.
- Numerous studies have found that yoga nidra is particularly beneficial for enhancing sleep, in addition to (or maybe because of) its ability to reduce anxiety ( 31 ,32).
- The good news is that a number of recent studies have demonstrated that yoga can be effective in enhancing self-esteem and perceived body image in these individuals ( 33 , 34 ).
- The length of the muscles holding the stance does not vary even if they are completely engaged in many yoga poses, which is known as isometric contractions in this context.
- The lead leg in Warrior II is bent at both the hip and the knee, and you maintain this posture throughout the game.
- Yoga asanas may also be effective in reversing bone loss linked with osteoporosis and osteopenia.
While this is the case, it’s also crucial to remember that the studies on yoga’s influence on bone density have been variable, and hence inconclusive, thus far (38).
An apparent pattern emerged, however, in a recent assessment of 34 research studies: yoga enhanced brain functioning in the areas of the brain responsible for interoception (recognizing the feelings in your body) and posture ( 39 ).
Practicing yoga positions during pauses in your workouts might also help you maintain a more upright posture.
According to the findings of the above-mentioned review, practicing yoga engaged regions of the brain responsible for motivation, executive functioning, attention, and neuroplasticity, among other things ( 39 ).
The findings of a recent study on burnout among hospice workers during the COVID-19 pandemic revealed that yoga-based meditation therapies helped greatly minimize the impacts of burnout by strengthening interoceptive awareness ( 41 ).
However, despite the fact that the research is still young (especially when compared to how long people have been practicing yoga), the results are encouraging and confirm what yoga practitioners and students have been saying for thousands of years: yoga is beneficial to our overall health and well-being.
Even karmic or humanitarian deeds can be considered yoga practices!
Yoga is a practice that may be done on a daily basis since it is not restricted to physical action. Decide on the yoga style that is most effective for you, and remember that investing in your yoga practice is an investment in yourself!