Yoga is for everyone, not just women, not just adults, everyone. No matter who you are I think we can agree that we all want to feel happy,confident, healthy, at peace and minimize stress. I have one word for you, yoga. Read on to learn some of the key health benefits of practicing yoga, and discover how yoga directly relates to mindfulness.
Improve Your Concentration
Concentration is simply taking your attention to a single point of focus. In everyday life the mind is easily distracted which makes it hard to concentrate and get things done. During a yoga class, you are encouraged repeatedly by your teacher to come back to your breath, which is a way of putting this single pointed focus in action. You can try this really simple technique of watching your breath any time, on or off the mat and you will notice your concentration skills start to improve.
Yoga affects your mind and spirit in a way that has an effect on your relationships with others—your spouse, your kids, your parents, your friends, and even strangers. When you feel more at peace, more in the moment, more in tune with everyone around you, you begin to notice things and interact with people in a much more positive and compassionate way. If yoga has given you more confidence, you’ll probably be more open to communicating your own thoughts, needs, and suggestions. Don’t be surprised if you not only begin strengthening your current relationships, but begin to attract new friends and acquaintances, too.
Ability to Stay in the Moment
Have you ever tried to hold a balancing pose while your mind was on dinner, the drama with your sister, or some issue at work you’ve been dealing with? You topple over, right? Yoga trains you to keep your mind focused and in the moment, and with enough practice, that ability bleeds over into all other areas of your life. You’ll be a more attentive friend because of it, and you may also find that you’re much more efficient in your daily life because you’re not slowing yourself down by letting your mind travel into the past or the future while you’re working on something else. In addition, you’ll really get to revel in those little moments of joy you might have otherwise missed, and those all add up to a happier you!
Become More Patient
Yoga teaches us to let go of the outcome and surrender to the present moment. Impatience is a need to be somewhere else – quickly – and there is no better way of counterbalancing impatient tendencies than holding postures and focusing on your breath. With no place to go other than your mat, you get to practice trying to find stillness and peace, exactly where you are.
Feel More Grounded
The root chakra (Muladhara) relates to our roots, our sense of physical security. When it’s functioning well, it helps us feel grounded and connected to the earth. Located two inches in front of and below the tailbone, this chakra is stimulated through wide legged asanas such as Warrior 1 and 2, Trikonasana and wide legged forward bends (standing or seated). By holding these postures you work the energy at this chakra and become more grounded, which can be particularly beneficial during times of physical change such as moving houses or travel.
Stimulate Your Creativity
The sacral chakra (Swadisthana) is the centre of creativity within the subtle body. It is located in the region of the tailbone so asanas that activate this area will also ignite your creative flow. Remember creativity is not just painting a picture, it also relates to the way we think and solve problems which are beneficial whether you are artistic or not! Try adding Paschimottanasana (Seated Forward Bend), Bhujangasana (Cobra) and Janu Sirsasana (Head to Knee) pose to your practice and let your creative juices flow.
Sources: Anna Coventry and Kimberly Snyder