5 reasons why you need a regular yoga practice.
We all know how amazing it feels when yoga is part of our daily lives.
Sometimes we’ll experience epic phases of dedicated regular practice, where we feel we’re thriving. Life just seems to flow with more ease! Our yoga practice helps keep our minds calm, our bodies healthy and our souls inspired.
Yet, other times… we find ourselves suddenly falling out of rhythm with our commitment. Sometimes, we begin to experience the stress and the disharmony of being unable to make it onto our mat. We start to lose connection with ourselves.
So we know it’s good for us, we know it makes a difference; but what’s actually going on when we have a regular practice? What is the power of practice?
Let’s start with the body, because really there are a million and one ways that yoga benefits us here! A regular practice will help build muscle, increase flexibility, balance, as well as boosting the metabolism. Also worth noting; practicing before breakfast encourages the blood, breath and muscles to start moving – allowing better absorption of nutrients.
This Forbes article wonderfully explains the positive mental shift that occurs with a regular yoga practice. Within five weeks, the author was ‘less stressed and less anxious.’
Through yoga’s inversions, bending, holding and twisting, we shift away from the sympathetic nervous system. This system is responsible for fight or flight mode. It causes stress, inflammation and a lowering of the immune system. With yoga, we’re encouraged into the parasympathetic nervous system – a state of rest and digestion. Deepening the breath and relaxing the muscles, both also help to reduce levels of anxiety.
As your thoughts quieten with yoga, you can gradually develop the skill of one-pointedness of mind. With consistent practice, your mind will slowly but surely shift into a higher state of awareness and presence. Research has shown links between yoga practice and the ability to focus mentally, process information and retain information more effectively.
Another awesome bonus: balancing yoga poses encourage the brain to fire neurons, assisting with spatial awareness and muscle memory.
Unlike many other active pursuits, yoga is an internal and personal practice. While you may be in a class full of people, your focus is on yourself! One of Pantajali’s eight limbs of yoga, includes ‘pratyahara,’ or the turning inward of our awareness. You may have experienced the sense of inner peace that often accompanies a yoga practice, or even those glorious ‘aha’ moments! By setting an intention for our practice, each day can carry that little bit of extra purpose, awareness and meaning.
A consistent yoga practice is an incredible way to create long-lasting connections with like-minded people. The shared dedication to a path of health, vitality and peace is enough of a basis for pretty solid common ground! A beautiful experience you may find travelling, is that yoga studios become like touchpoints around the world. They hold a welcoming sense of familiarity and community. For a sense of belonging, this is wonderful… and as if that’s not enough, one study found that social support can decrease our chances of depression, dementia and even stroke – increasing life expectancy by up to 91%!