Five Proven Benefits Of Regular Yoga PracticeThe physical practice ‘asana’ is the most well-known aspect of yoga. It is designed to relax, tone and stretch your body. It also unlocks the vibrancy we all have within us: what yogis call ‘prana’. However, yoga is much more than a mere physical practice. While physical training has many benefits, it only scratches the surface of what can be gained from practicing a complete philosophy of yoga.
Yoga students should be encouraged to go beyond physical practice, to commence a quest to understand the mind, its complexities, the limiting beliefs, stories and repetitive patterns that plague our psyche and journey towards an inner state of consciousness.
Students need to train their bodies so they are supple, strong, healthy and full of life-force to support them through the arduous process of understanding the mind and what causes its suffering. Embracing this challenge will allow them to be more mentally present, spiritually open and accepting. It will be the cornerstone in a process of transformation that will be ongoing and life enhancing.
The yoga I teach is inspired by areas of ancient yoga philosophy, but presented in a modern, accessible way. There’s nothing mystical about this form of yoga, nor unattainable or even complex. It embraces all traditions and teachings with equal respect. It is a simple, holistic practice that develops a greater connection to life.
The benefits of regular yoga practice
• Calm the mind to reduce stress and anxiety – According to the Harvard Medical School, the practices of yoga and meditation evoke the relaxation response, which is the counterpart of the stress response.
• Reduce back or neck pain – A study by the Medical Observer found that from a controlled trial of 228 adults, those who went to a 75-minute yoga class every week for 12 weeks felt improved relief from back pain.
• Movement is medicine – Researchers at Maryland University reviewed 81 studies that examined yoga’s health benefits and they found that yoga outperformed aerobic exercise at improving balance, flexibility, strength and daily energy levels, among other things.
• Weight control – Yoga is a phenomenal way to put you in touch with your body the way nothing else can, and regular practice can help with weight loss.
• A healthier heart – The Yoga Health Foundation (2013) states that several trials have found that “yoga can lower blood pressure, cholesterol and resting heart rates”. Just an hour of daily yoga practice can bring results.
How to get started
During winter we tend to spend less time outdoors, so there is no better time to start regular yoga practice. Yoga is a great complement to other forms of exercise such as running, cycling or surfing. Setting up a regular routine will enable you to commit to ongoing, dedicated practice, and if you’ve not done yoga before, it will allow you to get familiar with the sequences and start to understand your body.
So what are you waiting for? Book into a yoga class today and experience the benefits first-hand.