A Yogic path to a happier and healthier you
Fact of the week: Regular yoga practice can lead to improved muscle strength and tone, increased concentration and increased bone density.
It’s a new year and a popular time to make changes in your life. I’m sure many of you reading this have set resolutions related to achieving a cleaner, healthier, happier life in 2014.
Yoga is a great practice to start and by clearing out tension and toxins in your body and mind is a sure way to meet those happier-healthier-you goals. It can sound a bit clichéd but behind every cliché I’ve always found there to be some truth.
My favourite thing about yoga is that everyone can benefit in some way and you can make your practice completely your own.
As a beginner you can be in a room of experienced yogi’s twisting themselves into ‘bird of paradise’ or other such mind boggling poses while you are still, sometimes struggling, in the first stage of standing on one leg, trying not to fall and trigger a domino effect around the room. But the crucial thing is that you are still getting as much benefit from the pose as those deep in a yogic knot.
Whether you can forward fold with your knees straight and your chin on your calves or don’t even know what forward fold is and can only reach your hands half way to the floor you are still stretching your muscles in a healthy and nurturing way and once you accept this you can also find calm and discipline on your mat.
Yoga has many benefits for the body and the mind. Regular yoga practice not only improves muscle tone, strength and flexibility making you feel better and aiding weight loss, it also releases tension in the muscles allowing you to deal better with the stresses of everyday life.
The asanas (poses) work with your body to flush fresh blood through your organs and the pressure on your bones, without the damage of an impact sport, can increase your bone density. The focus required to create and hold the asanas can provide mental clarity, increased concentration and relieve stress long after you have stepped off your mat.
Now you have decided to get started the British Wheel of Yoga is a great place to start looking for more information and I’ll leave you some advice for starting your journey into yoga:
- You don’t need to spend lots of money on fancy clothes or accessories; a pair of leggings or narrow tracksuit bottoms and a t-shirt is all you need to get started.
- It is best to get instruction from a qualified yoga teacher when you are first starting out so that you don’t form bad habits or misinterpret poses.
- Start with a beginners class, it is tempting to jump right into a Hot Bikram class or a power class but if you are in for the long run then take it slow to build your practice and your strength; indulge in the feeling of peace in the poses that you find easy and feel your body working in those you find harder
- It can be nearly impossible some days but try to leave your ego at the door, try to listen to your body and go as deep into a pose as is beneficial to you. By all means look at the yoga teacher or classmates if you are not sure what you need to do but don’t judge yourself based on what others are doing and how far they can go. Your practice is for you.
So today take a step towards your goal and do something nice for you, begin your yoga practice!
A Yogic path to a happier healthier you
This blog post is written by Jessi Richmond from the Suryalila Retreat Centre who are doing a guest series of posts on getting started with yoga. Suryalila is a relaxed yoga retreat centre in southern Spain. Visit as an independent guest, join a retreat group or bring your students for a retreat week. Enjoy daily yoga and meditation, fabulous fresh vegetarian meals, massage and local excursions. Find out more at Suryalila.com