Good question! And I can't wait to answer it in full detail :).
Why do people start doing yoga? Going to their first ever class? Maybe because of their friend who drags them there. Or they've heard it's calming for the mind. Perhaps they just need a good stretch. All of these reasons are legit. But that's not the full story of why yoga is good for you.
Me, personally, I got into yoga because of a friend. Thank you, lovely friend, for that! Probably one of the best things that have happened in my life so far! The first class is a mix of confusion, bliss, rage, more confusion and realisation that you can't even balance on one leg. But you're intrigued, wanting more of it. So you go again. And again. And you become so much better at balancing on one leg. And everything else too. And after a couple of classes you realise that it's not just the physical aspect that you benefit from, but much more so the mental aspect of the yoga asana practice.
But let's rewind and talk about the physical benefits of yoga first. And there's loads. For the sake of simplicity, here's a list for you:
- Increased flexibility
- Improved respiration, energy and vitality
- Increased muscle strength and tone
- Maintaining a balanced metabolism
- Weight reduction
- Alignment of posture
- Prevents cartilage and joint breakdown
- Cardio and circulatory health
- Improved athletic performance
- Protection and healing from injuries
- Protects and strengthens your spine
- Increased bone health and strength
- Increases blood flow and nutrient supply
- Stimulates lymphatic system and improves immune function
Cool, right? Now let's talk about the mental aspects.
- helps to manage stress
- supports a more positive outlook on life
- creates mental clarity and calmness
- increases body awareness
- relieves chronic stress patterns
- relaxes the mind
- centres your attention
- sharpens your concentration
- improves sleep and can help with insomnia
- gives you inner strength, endurance and patience
- encourages self-care and self-love
- makes you happy :)