Yoga, how do I love thee?
Let me count the ways…
My yoga mat is my happy place. I turn to yoga when I need to find my center, when I need to stretch, when I need a pick-me-up or a distraction, when I need to pray, when I’m sad or lonely, when I’m in a new place… the list goes on and on. I. Love. Yoga.
I started practicing yoga in early 2014, after slipping a disk in my back. It’s kind of a funny story (well, it is now)- I slipped the disk turning on the shower before leaving to visit my boyfriend (now fiancé) at his college. I probably shouldn’t have made the four-hour trip in that condition, I know this now, but love makes you do stupid things. Anyway, when I got out of the car, my left leg collapsed and we went to the hospital immediately.
Long story short, me being in the hospital caused him to miss his French class. His professor understood completely, was so nice about it, and recommended I start practicing yoga to recover and prevent it happening again. Since it is the worst pain I have ever experienced to this day, you can bet your bottom dollar I NEVER want to experience it again.
The rest, as they say, is history.
Here are my top ten reasons you need to start doing yoga, and don’t wait for an injury to inspire you to do it!
- Every practice is progress.
- Even on your worst days, you’re still doing great.
One day you could have incredible balance and be nailing all your poses. The next day, you could just as easily be a hot mess on a mat. It doesn’t matter- yoga isn’t about performance, it’s about practice.
- It’s a great workout.
No, you aren’t going to burn as many calories doing yoga as you are running on a treadmill, but you WILL get sweaty and your muscles might shake from the strain. Not to mention you’re building strength and flexibility at the same time, which you don’t do by lifting weights.
- You discover things your body can do that you’ve never even imagined.
Personally, I never thought I’d be able to touch my toes with a straight leg. Oh, how wrong I was.
- You can find your center on the mat.
Yoga forces you to take time out of your day for yourself. You cannot practice yoga for anyone else- there are no teams, there are no coaches, there are no winners or losers.
I’m having trouble finding the right words to describe this. All I know is that when I am done with a practice, any anxiety I might have had is gone. It’s a very peaceful, very zen feeling.
- Increased strength.
Balancing all of your weight on one or two points of your body gets tough. The reward for breathing through it is increased strength and toned muscles.
Stamina, flexibility, strength. Need I say more? 😉
- Improved circulation.
You spend your practice relaxing and breathing deeply, which allows more oxygen to get into your blood, increases hemoglobin and red blood cell levels, and certain poses help with certain circulation issues- twisting poses help bring oxygenated blood to your internal organs, and inverted poses help increase blood flow to your heart and brain.
- It helps make happiness!
Over time, yoga practice leads to improved depression symptoms and significant increases in serotonin levels.
- It’s a metaphor for life.
You can breathe through any tough situation life throws at you. And if you fall out of a pose and onto your face (this has happened to me on more than one occasion) you just get right back up and practice again.
Those are just my top 10 reasons you should start a yoga practice… I barely even scraped the surface on reasons to love yoga. I mean, I didn’t even talk about savasana! Next time, maybe. 🙂 I just can’t get enough.
I’ll leave you with some of my favorite yoga quotes from the Internet…
Until next time, namasté, my friends. ❤