When we talk about yoga we tend to think about the physical practice and the physical benefits of yoga.
Maybe a perfectly fit person in a pretzel-like contortion comes to mind. However, there’s more to yoga than the asanas. There are three (less Instagram-worthy) pillars that are just as important: Breathwork, Mediation, and Diet.
When all the pillars are in balance, yoga moves beyond a form of exercise that gives us that perfect “yoga butt”. Into a more holistic and transformative practice with many mental and physical benefits.
The Asana Practice:
The Asana practice is the physical part of yoga. There are hundreds of styles of Asana practices. While they differ in the flow of the class, they all have one thing in common, the asanas.
Asanas improve our body’s physical alignment. On a superficial basis, they counteract our everyday bad habits. Such as sitting for extended periods of time hunching over the computer. It gives us the strength needed for good posture.
The Breathwork Practice:
Pranayama is an ancient technique that uses breath to balance the flow of energy within. The practice involves controlling your breath in different styles and lengths. Maybe you’ve even experienced it in a vinyasa yoga class already with Ujjayi breathing.
The Mediation Practice:
You’re probably already familiar with mediation. It’s seemingly everywhere. Companies are making dedicated meditation spots, and meditation apps like Headspace are booming. While the modern world is starting to incorporate meditation. The yogic philosophy has reaped its wellness benefits for centuries.
Yogic meditation is practiced in many different styles. From the traditional form of sitting in stillness or chanting a mantra. As well it embraces movement as mediation that links one breath to one movement. Whichever way it’s done the end goal is the same: to bring your awareness to the present moment.
The Benefits of yoga:
The Physical Benefits of Yoga:
Most people start their yoga journey for the physical side of yoga— but few know the whole range of benefits. There are obvious rewards like an increase in flexibility and muscle tone. That’s just scraping the surface though. The other benefits include:
Protect you from injury.
Balances the metabolism
Increased Lung Function
Improved Circulatory healthy
Relief of chronic pain, (ex. lower back pain, arthritis, headaches, and carpal tunnel)
lowers blood pressure
The Mental Benefits of Yoga:
We live in a culture where our minds and nervous systems are in a constant state of overdrive. Yoga offers the space to slow your mind down and restore a sense of balance. You can feel some of the mental benefits immediately. Others come over time with consistent practice. They include:
Creates Mental Clarity & Stability
Using Yoga For Daily Self-Care
Making yoga a daily self-care ritual is a great way to cash in on all the wellness benefits. It doesn’t take hours of dedication each day to start benefiting from yoga. Small consistent efforts are how we sustainably strengthen the mind-body connection.
Start by setting aside 15 minutes in the morning for your practice. You can separate them into five-minute intervals for Asana, Meditation, and Breathwork.
Not sure how to begin or the idea of sitting in stillness is intimidating? To get you started, there are free youtube videos available on all three pillars of yoga.
When you start your day with this little act of self-love, one thing is certain. You’ll start to feel the reward of practicing right away. Not only from sore muscles, but you’ll have more energy and focus in your day. What are you waiting for? Roll out your mat and get to work.
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