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Believe It Or Not: How Yoga Can Change Your Life

Woman holding hand yoga posture

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Yoga is a lifestyle.  It’s a way of life and a way of looking at the world.  Most importantly, yoga is accessible to all.  There are dozens of different kinds of yoga.  If you didn’t like the few yoga classes you’ve tried, it simply means you haven’t found the right style for you.  Whatever your complaint, there is a style of yoga out there to suit your preference.  Yoga is for everyone and the truth is it can change your life.  Here’s how:

Patience

In any given yoga class you may be asked to slow down, speed up, hold it, rest, close your eyes, breathe, listen…listen to what?  Well, that’s for you to find out.  Imagine you’re holding a pose that’s incredibly challenging and screaming inwardly for the teacher to guide you towards release.  You’re sweating, you’re breathing.  “This is it,” you’re instructor says.  “This is yoga,” and you’re learning patience.  The very next week you’re standing in the longest grocery line ever and somehow it’s not so bad.

Strong Body, Strong Bones

You’ve heard it before: weight-bearing activity builds strong bones and strong bones mean reduced chances of osteoporosis or the loss of bone mass as we age.  Weight-bearing activity often conjures up images of body builders and endless repetitions holding free-weights in front of mirrors.  Not the fitness routine for you?  Try yoga.  Positions like plank, side plank, downward facing dog, and tree pose place added body weight on hands and feet.  Over time, this kind of activity prevents bone mass loss reducing the likelihood of certain age related diseases, not to mention the added muscle strength and endurance. 

Self-Confidence

“Oh, I can’t do yoga. I’m not flexible at all!”  I hear it all the time.  When acquaintances find out that I’m a yoga instructor, all kinds of self-inflicted judgments begin to fly, as if they are apologizing for their delinquency.  But honestly, saying you’re not flexible enough for yoga is like saying you’re too dirty to take a bath. Other protests to taking up a yoga practice: “I need to lose weight,”  “I’m not patient enough (see above),” “I’m not good at it.” The magic of yoga is that it helps you through these issues. 

Life Enhancement

Yoga is about experiencing each moment in life, noticing the details and being at peace with them.  This starts on the mat.  This amazing thing happens when you encounter a yoga pose that you think is impossible: you’ll encounter it again.  And when you do, you scoff and think you know how silly it is and how your body will never be able to do that but you give it a go.  Maybe you wobble, maybe you fall.  But the next time your instructor takes you through that pose you think maybe you’ll give it another go.  You do and eventually you get it.  This thing you thought you could never do, you’ve done.  It’s beautiful and suddenly, the world opens up.  Every thing you ever said you couldn’t do can now be measured against this pose — this pose that you now can perform with confidence.  And it will be hard not to bring this confidence into every other aspect of your life, including family and relationships, career building and health. If you want to pass on your wellness knowledge, you can even consider undergoing yoga teacher training or attending a massage therapy school to spread the love and joy to other apprehensive students.

Jazmine Green is an associate editor for LA YOGA Magazine who has written about yoga teacher training and massage therapy school programs. Jazmine lives and writes in Los Angeles, California.  

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The Benefits of Yoga You Probably Didn’t Know About

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Guest Post by David VeiblA picture of a woman doing yoga
– Few realize that Yoga is a direct result of the Hindu theistic practice that connects the mind, body and spirit. However, the physical aspects of this religious tradition have transferred into the fitness world as one of the best ways to relax and build muscle strength. The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines Yoga as “a system of postures, breathing techniques and meditation derived from yoga, but often practiced independently, especially in Western cultures to promote bodily or mental control and well-being.” Yoga is practiced in one of two ways, through postures and breathing. Postures are physical poses the body shapes into for toning and flexibility. Breathing occurs with the posing to control the mind as well as muscle movement. In recent years Yoga has become one of the most popular workouts because it not only puts the body in shape, but it has additional mental health benefits as well.

The most obvious benefit of yoga is that it greatly reduces stress while strengthening muscles and joints. However, there are far more benefits that greatly improved a Yoga enthusiasts’ life.

Increased fitness- Yoga is one of the best ways to gain control of your health. The postures used in Yoga help tone the body from head to toe, while teaching the body how to strengthen muscles through absolute control. It must be practiced regularly to see these results.

Chronic pain management- The relaxing factors of Yoga can help reduce pain and maybe other symptoms in chronic diseases such as depression, cancer, anxiety, and joint pain.

Better sleep- Yoga puts the mind at ease, therefore people who suffer with insomnia will find that they can sleep better at night.

Weight loss- Most people who practice Yoga would agree that the control aspect of this workout leaks into other parts of their lives. This includes helping people be mindful of what they eat. Often those who practice Yoga do not over eat and learn how to control portions and intake.

Compassion and better relationships- Yoga helps people learn a sense of community. Those who practice Yoga often work out together in studios and meet for meditation. Not only is it a way to make friends, but it helps you strengthen the existing relationships in your life as well.

An image of a man in a Yoga Pose MeditatingConfidence- Yoga enthusiasts gain confidence because the truth is that Yoga isn’t easy. Postures are difficult to hold and it takes patience to learn the proper breathing techniques. It’s fulfilling to learn these skills and perfect them over time. The workouts also tones the body, so physically Yoga makes people feel good about themselves.

Strength- Over time the body will not only become more flexible from completing various postures, but it will also strengthen muscles as well. The longer one practices Yoga, the stronger he will become.

Lowers inflammatory protein- The Ohio State University research team conducted a study that found that Yoga lowers a damaging inflammatory protein. According to the study the relaxation that Yoga provides help lower stress which ultimately creates this protein. The inflammatory protein can lead to heart disease, Type 2 diabetes and arthritis among other life threatening diseases.

Yoga is such a popular form of fitness regime that it is at the center of many fun trends. The Equinox luxury gym in Los Angeles introduces a number of classes to patrons, including its latest- karaoke yoga. This class is the buzz of the fitness world being featured on major news shows including Good Morning America. Yoga instructor Jennifer Pastiloff designed the class with DJ Gina Mooring to offer a “joy based” exercise to help raise morale. “This is about having the workout of your life, singing dancing and feeling silly,” Pastiloff told GMA. The class is such a success it is heading to Chicago and New York gyms as well.

Perhaps the best part of Yoga is not only the benefits, but that you can do Yoga anywhere in any time. Postures and workouts are available ranging from a few minutes to an hour in length. It is about finding a regime that fits in your schedule and helps you meet your fitness goals. Yogapaws makes this possible because they fit right in your purse or briefcase for easy travel in lieu of a bulky yoga mat. Regardless how much you know about Yoga, do not be afraid to try this fitness trend. Classes are available at all levels.

This is a guest post by David Veibl for Yogapaws, the best yoga site, and home of the world famous yoga gloves and travel yoga mats. Check out our yoga blog on our website on the link.

Picture Credit: ©1989 Helen Howlett
Picture Credit: © Cornelius383