Why bother practising yoga? Well, there are a number of reasons why, and ways that it can improve your life and lifestyle. Here are just a few that I thought of whilst gardening, in no particular order!
1. It can help improve some physical conditions such as lower back problems, stiff and tight shoulders and improve posture through correct practising of asana.
2. It can help you deal with stress and anxiety through the combination of breathing practices (pranayama) and meditation.
3. It can help improve sleeping habits. Several of my students say that they have the best night’s sleep after a class. This includes someone who comes to a 15 minute de-stress session I offer in the workplace.
4. It can help with less visible health conditions such as lowering blood pressure.
5. It can be fun and can make you feel good, and feeling happy is always good for you.
6. It can help you challenge yourself and address fears e.g. of being upside down in an inverted posture.
7. It can increase flexibility, improve muscle tone and strength, improve balance and keep joints healthy. It can be practised by fit sporty people and the completely unfit.
8. It can help with breathing problems and increase lung capacity through correct practise of pranayama.
9. It lets the relaxation response begin, which aids whole body healing and rejuvenation.
10. It can bring more focus to your daily life, increase your efficiency and your creativity through mindfulness and meditation.
The NHS website has a page outlining the benefits of yoga, and there are various websites with articles outlining the research into the health benefits of yoga expanding on what I’ve noted above, for example this comprehensive International Journal of Yoga article, and a shorter similar article on the Yoga Journal website. The International Association of Yoga Therapists has some free articles and this one lists the physiological, psychological and biochemical benefits of yoga.
And, the Huffington Post has this great infographic which depicts some of the benefits ranging from those experienced after just one class to those realised after years of practising yoga. If you click the above link or the infographic you go to the article accompanying the infographic where you can also find references and links to the research behind the headlines.