Have you ever had an off day, and nothing you seemed to do could shake it? Maybe your go-to is listening to music or taking a run, but today it’s just not working. How many of us have explored yoga and really examined it? What is downward dog actually doing for not only our body, but our mind? According to WebMD, almost 11 million people are enjoying the positive benefits of yoga in their everyday lives. If you’re already one of them, or you’re not and want to become one, check out this article and see what this practice is actually doing for your body, mind and soul.
What yoga does for your body:
According to WebMD, yoga can improve many aspects of the physical makeup of your body. Yoga forces your body to stretch into different poses, releasing the build up of lactic acid in your muscles. In turn, this has the ability to release a good amount of stress, tension, and fatigue in your muscles. Your muscles aren’t the only things that are benefitting from these stretches. The stretching of your soft tissue can eventually help to increase your flexibility.
There are many different types of yoga, but the more challenging types such as ashtanga and power yoga, can help you increase muscle tone. The poses are held for long periods of time, building up your physique and stamina.
With the build up of muscles and the release of lactic acid, your posture and breathing will improve as well. The benefits are different for everybody, but there are many benefits at that!
What yoga does for your mind:
When I go to a yoga class in my town, the instructor always says at the beginning of the class that we should let whatever happened before and what will happen after this practice just go. We always set an intention. That could be sending the positive energy to someone who needs it, perhaps they are sick or having a bad day, or the intention could be to give 100% in each pose. Either way, yoga gives you the ability to free your mind from worry or unwanted thoughts and just gives you an hour or so to yourself. Ultimately, this break from the real world can reduce stress, and if practiced enough, can impact you to think positively in your daily life, and not just in the yoga studio.
What yoga does for your soul:
While yoga has a great impact on your physical body and mental health, don’ forget that it is just plain fun! Whether you’re posing in a wheelbarrow, tree blowing in the wind or a sun warrior, your soul will be doing back flips and smiling from ear-to-ear. Make sure you consult your doctor before starting this practice. Also, be aware that if it hurts don’t do it! You will be sore after your first class (the good kind of sore), but while you are actually in the pose it shouldn’t feel painful. If it is, you are going too far into the stretch… your body needs to adjust to your newfound flexibility gradually over time! Yoga is about seeing and doing the best within yourself. If you can’t go as deep into a stretch as the person next to you, don’t worry about it! It’s all about getting your 7 inner energies, or chakras, in balance. According to mindbodygreen.com, the 7 chakras include the root chakra, the sacral chakra, the solar plexus chakra, the heart, throat, crown and third eye chakra. So if you fall, laugh it off!
There are many ways to get involved in yoga. Check out your yellow pages, your school’s classes to see if they have yoga classes or your school’s clubs to see if you can get involved that way too. If you are feeling a little self conscious, a DVD yoga class is a great alternative . Remember to enjoy the moment, your body and your mind. Namaste.