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Thursday, 12 November 2020

The Benefits of Yoga and How to Get Started

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Exercise has so many great benefits for our health both physically and mentally and one form of exercise that is particularly good for both mind and body is Yoga! Yoga is an exercise that can be adapted and enjoyed by almost everyone from beginners to experts, any shape, size or age. In fact yoga is a fantastic all round exercise that can help build strength, flexibility and help clear your mind to name a few and so is an exercise we should all try to fit into our day when we can. 

Below I am sharing some of the great benefits of Yoga, how to get started and what you will need to practice Yoga in your own home or in a class.

 

The Benefits of Yoga 

As I mentioned above yoga has so many benefits for both the body and mind. But you may be wondering what the main benefits of yoga are and why you should consider taking it up right? Keep reading to find out some of the main benefits below - 

Increased Flexibility and Mobility - A common misconception when people think about yoga is that they believe you need to be flexible to practice yoga, but this is not true. In fact there are many yoga poses that are designed to help you increase your flexibility and over all mobility. Yoga is a gentle practice and allows you to improve your flexibility at your own pace without any pain or discomfort. The more you practice yoga the more you will begin to see improvements in your flexibility and you will start to notice that you can bend into a pose better or even begin trying more difficult poses as your flexibility increases.  

Reduces Stress - Our daily lives can be stressful for a range of reasons and whilst yoga may not be able to stop all of those stresses it can help you to reduce your stress levels for the day ahead or at the end of a long day. Yoga uses a combination of breathing techniques, poses and meditation all of which combined can help you feel more relaxed, lower your heart range and allow you to focus your mind on something other than the things that are causing you stress. Even a short 15 minute practice a day can really help relieve stress by allowing you to take time for yourself and focus on something else. 

Builds up Strength - If you are looking to build up strength without having to lift weights or are just looking to build up your general overall strength in your core muscles etc then yoga is the perfect exercise to do exactly that. When you take part in your first yoga session you may start find muscles ache that you didn't even know you had! Since yoga uses a complete range of motion it helps to strengthen the full range of muscles enabling you to build up your strength all over rather than in just one area. Not only will you feel yourself getting stronger from doing regular yoga practice but you will also begin to notice a visible different too as your muscles become more toned and defined. 

Improved Concentration - If you often find it difficult sticking to tasks or find your mind wandering when you just can't concentrate on something, then yoga may be able to help. Practicing yoga can help by teaching you how to concentrate on your breathing which in turn means you become more aware of your breaths and are able to mentally relax easier. Being more mentally relaxed allows you to collect and retain more information and help you to concentrate with a clearer mind. 

Also with increased concentration comes improved mindfulness which really do go hand in hand. Practicing yoga helps you to become more aware of your body and feelings including sensations, thoughts and emotions. This increased awareness helps you to focus your mind and become more focused and happy. Being more mindful has both physical and mental benefits including helping you to feel less stressed and more calm too.

How to Get Started

As with most things, something the most difficult step is the first one. Getting started with anything new can seem like such a daunting experience but as with most things, once you take that first leap you wonder what you were ever worried about. 

Whilst you can of course practice yoga from home, it is always advisable for beginners (or people who have some experience) to start off by attending a class. Doing this will allow you to really get a feel for what yoga is about from an experienced teacher who will also be able to help you out with some great tips, advice and help. Attending a class also gives you the opportunity to ask any questions you might have and for a experienced teacher to pick up on any mistakes you could be making which could really hinder your yoga journey or see you getting hurt. 


What You Will Need to Practice Yoga

The most important thing to remember when it comes to yoga is comfort so when you are choosing what to wear, ensure it is something you can move comfortably in and not just what you "think" you should be wearing. Try to think cool, comfortable and clothes that you can move and stretch in as you will be doing lots of movement. 

The next most important piece of equipment you will need for yoga is a yoga mat. Since this is were you will perform most of your yoga you will want it to be comfortable and right for you. Yoga mats come in a variety of weights and sizes and there are a number of things to consider before you choose your mat such as where you will be practicing, what type of yoga you will be doing and whether you prefer a textured or smooth feel to your mat. 

The great thing about yoga mats is that sites such as Pixels offer a wide range of yoga mats in an amazing array of designs. I think choosing a design that really stands out to you is a great way to show off your personality when you practice yoga too, a mat that will make you smile every time you roll it out to practice! 

There are also a wide range of blocks and other accessories that you can purchase to help accompany your yoga routines. But if you are a beginner, comfy clothes and a good mat will be plenty to give you a good start and help you discover the art of yoga before purchasing more equipment. 

The key to yoga is consistent practice. It doesn't have to be for hours a day, a 15-20 minute practice is plenty. But once you begin to practice regularly you will really start to feel both the physical and mental benefits of it. 

Do you practice yoga or is it something you would consider practicing in the future? 

xXx


**This is a collaborative post.**

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