The Basics & Benefits of Yoga
Inhale, Exhale, Inhale, Exhale…
Let’s admit it – ok, at least I have to admit it – starting most workout routines can be daunting. Especially with so many options out there.
Should I start running? – Ugh too hard on my knees. And my boobs. 😒
Maybe Cross-Fit? – I did that one free class and felt great! Then realized I couldn’t afford the classes and I was pretty sure I fractured my upper arm either in the free class or within a day or two later. Oops.
I ended up walking regularly – and losing over 30lbs – cause I was just too out of shape for strenuous activities.
Aaannnd I kept injuring myself…
Having walked off over 30lbs I’ve come to a pretty long standstill. After dealing with some painful sciatica, injuring my knee, starting a new job, moving to the Dallas area, moving into a house with my boyfriend, and having a death in the family I’ve been pretty unfocused on my personal health. The last four months have just been one thing after another.
And I’m completely exhausted y’all! 😩
But it’s time to get back into it! If you are thinking of trying a new exercise like I am I’ve been trying out some basic yoga that is easy on my weak knee.
Unlike other sports or forms of exercise, yoga does not only strengthen your body but also relaxes your mind and motivates your spirit. Yoga is the union of the mind, body, and spirit. It is being one with yourself, being aware of your body and movements. Practicing this exercise includes postures or poses, breathing, and even internal cleansing and cultivating the life-energy as it is also a form of meditation if that is a route you are interested in.
Personally, for me it’s all about strengthening my body while trying to relax from stress!
Yoga can be done at home or in a yoga studio near you. An advantage to going to a yoga studio, in the beginning, is you can learn the correct way to do the poses since a yoga instructor is present to teach and correct them, and you can meet other people who are into this form of exercise, too. In this way, you can share your experience about how it is beneficial to your health and wellbeing and get more motivation to really include practicing yoga regularly into your life.
Yoga is simple enough – a quiet place and a yoga mat are pretty much everything you need. Here are some basics though.
1. What to wear?
Going to the gym might require you some spandex type clothes but in yoga, you can wear clothes that are loose and comfortable such as leggings and tights and pair it with a shirt of your choice. What is most important is that your clothing of choice is comfortable and will not restrict your movement.
2. How long should I do it?
As a beginner, you should start slowly. Do not push yourself to the limit and you should be very attuned to your body and its cues. You can start your practice depending on your schedule, objectives, and ability. Start with 15 to 30 minutes, after some time, 15 to 90 minutes. You can practice 1 to 6 times a week. Always remember practicing longer but less frequently can be better than practicing for shorter periods but more frequently.
3. What to do and what not to do?
As mentioned earlier, do not push yourself too much! Do the basic poses first before moving on to the more challenging ones. Also, if you have any medical issues it is best to consult your yoga instructor or your medical doctor to prevent injuries or further harm.
After getting prepared physically and mentally, the next thing you should know are the benefits you can get from yoga. This exercise does not only affect the physical body but also the mental state of the person doing it. It is the exercise version of a cup of tea!
1. Improves the health of the muscles, joints and even the heart.
This can help lower blood pressure and pulse rate, reducing the risk of heart problems. In doing yoga, it involves almost every body part to move, this also improves your flexibility and balance.
2. Improves the quality of life.
Just like with any workout routine yoga develops discipline, devotion and mindfulness in you as it involves not only the body to move but also the mind to be more disciplined, focused and calm.
3. Improves mental health.
Doing yoga relaxes your mind and rejuvenates the spirit. This can reduce stress, relieve anxiety and fight depression. It helps lessen the symptoms of anxiety and depression as it reduces the levels of cortisol or stress hormone and also controls the levels of serotonin, a neurotransmitter linked with depression.
After knowing how it can benefit you, aren’t you excited to try it out! If yes, then here are some of the basic poses you can do even at home.
1. Corpse Pose
Lie of your back in a neutral position with your arms at your sides. Relax your arms with your palms up. Relax your legs and your feet and close your eyes. Breathe naturally and let your muscles completely relax. Stay in this position for a few minutes.
2. Downward Facing Dog
Bend down in all fours, stretching your arms further from your head, somehow forming an acute triangle. Lift your hips slightly upwards and hollow your abdominals, holding your breath 5 to 8 counts.
3. Tree Pose
Begin from standing position, your weight distributed evenly on both feet. Shift your weight to your left foot and slowly anchor your right foot on your inner thigh. Center yourself, balance and press your palms in prayer position at chest level. Inhale and keep to this pose for up to a minute.
4. Triangle Pose
Stretch your legs apart forming an acute triangle and reaching the leg further from the other with one hand to your knees, then the other arm reaching straight upwards. Turn your gaze to the top hand and hold your breath for 5 to 8 counts. This could strengthen your legs and tone the entire body.
Yoga is an exciting exercise to try out because not only can it give you many benefits but also it can help you improve your lifestyle and have a healthier perspective of things. Doing so relaxes your mind and motivates your spirit. Unite with the universe and enlighten your health!
What is your favorite yoga pose? Any great suggestions for me?
Please leave your comments and share!