What I Thought Yoga Was
What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you think of Yoga? I always thought it was some hippy person or more of a female thing to do. I came to find out this was so far from the truth and a stereotype I wished I never had the pleasure of knowing. Luckily for me during the early part of 2020 I was inspired to give Yoga a try. Due to the Coronavirus pandemic, we have experienced I had to do all my learning from home and started trying different videos via YouTube. My first few I did was OK. Somewhere really annoying and others kind of put me off coming back. I persisted and thankfully I came across a channel called Breathe and Flow. The rest is history.
How Has It Helped Me?
Breathe and Flow have become my mentors daily with their amazing videos. They combine building strength, flexibility and mediation into their routine. They also adhere to beginners who have never done it before like me and as you get better a more expert variety. To be honest I was shocked at how difficult some of the moves are and made me realise how my body is not in the shape it needs to be. Overall for me, I feel stronger more flexible and after every session, I feel challenged and relaxed for the day. When I don’t do it I feel less in control of my emotions or more sluggish, it’s that noticeable.
How It Can Help You
1. Form Of Meditation
Yoga can offer mediation in a variety of different positions that stretch the muscles but also relaxes you at the same time. With a major focus on breath work throughout the whole practice, this can help you take control of your breath and focus on the present of what’s happening. After working on my core for example in Yoga, towards the end focussing on stillness through breath-work can have major benefits for the mind.
2. Great For Body Strength
I never realised how strong you need to pull off some of the moves you have to do in Yoga. I have so much respect for what people can do with their body now. Especially after trying them myself with a lot of wobbling and failure at the first attempt. Now I can hold myself in positions for a crazy amount of time and do positions I never thought possible when I first did it. With core strength being a major contribution to health as we get older, I feel this has helped me progress to a strong core.
3. Great For Discipline
One thing you need and develop with Yoga is discipline over the mind with moves that have long held especially. An example I had was with core hold with me pressing my forearm backwards to make it a more intense experience on my abdominals. I thought 2 minutes wasn’t long at all but then the shaking starts fast for my body and 2 minutes felt like a lifetime. But with the calming voice of my mentor Flo I have increased my discipline to persevere through discomfort and my mind telling me to give up like an alarm bell ringing. This sets you up for the day as well and has made me more consciously disciplined throughout my day too.
4. Increases Flexibility
After my sports years early in life, many years have passed and as a consequence, my flexibility has declined. This was very much apparent when doing different positions in Yoga compared to my mentor who could put his body in all kinds of positions. Reassuringly Flo states that you don’t have to be in the positions he is to get the benefits of the move which help me feel less bad for sure. Brilliantly but slowly my flexibility has improved but I’m still to have my feet fully down in the downward dog. ( This will happen)
5. Protection From Growing Old
As said previously Yoga is a great way of combatting age and keeping the body active. This is something I’m very conscious of and would like full control of my body without aches and pains during my later years. There have been miraculous cases where people have been suffering from back pain and after doing Yoga, the pain goes away. The body is like anything, if it’s underused it will lose all of its benefits, so keeping the body active through yoga is a great way that anyone can do.
6. Makes You Happier
For me, I have become a lot happier person because of Yoga. It offers me a challenge but also a great sense of accomplishment in the process that makes me happy. Just like any exercise, the endorphins that get released can boost your mood levels. So if you need more happiness, yoga can definitely add to it.
7. Helps With Focus
Very similar to discipline it has increased my focus as well. Especially as a lot of the moves require you to be fully engaged to pull off. With the increased focus this can be transferred throughout the rest of your day with my productivity and focus on a task being heightened because of it.
8. Improves Balance
Some of the moves require great balance. For instance, doing a side plank with the arm in the air then rising one knee to your chest can be a real challenge. There’s a lot of wobbling for me but now that has stopped mostly and my balance overall has improved
9.Clears Your Mind
If your feeling stressed or feeling anxiety, Yoga can help you dispel this feeling into one of calmness. With the daily stresses of life, being in control of your mind is crucial for your mental health and a great way to take charge of that is through Yoga practice. Every time I finish my session I feel balanced mentally with a feeling of calmness which is much needed. Since this has become a daily habit I have seen negative feelings diminish and I am more of aware of them creeping up on me.
10. Helps You Stay Present
The past and the future can be ever-present in your mind but Yoga can help quieten those thoughts into what you are doing presently through breath-work. My focus on the breath throughout the practise helps me stay present. I continue the breathwork through the day because of it which helps me stay in control of my emotions, especially stressful moments. Much needed when looking after 2 years old.
If your an athlete doing Yoga should be a must and be put into your daily schedule as will benefit your progress. Every child should be doing this too as it aides them in everything they need to work on with their developing body’s, I know first hand how much my son has improved with yoga that helped him in Karate and football.
Lastly for anyone who wants to develop their strength, core, flexibility, balance, mental health and a form of mediation. Yoga can be anything you want to be and has been practised for many centuries within the Asian world where it was invented and the benefits are eminence. Whatever stereotype you have heard about Yoga is untrue and if you can find the right mentor you will come to know how could it is. I would highly recommend check out Breathe And Flow on YouTube or Instagram. Hopefully, they can offer you something of value with Yoga.
Have a great day.