The first thing I do when I wake up in the morning is observe how my body feels. Is it tired? Is it ready to start the day? Is there tension anywhere? I simply observe.
After 6 or 8 hours in bed our bodies need stretching. The feeling that I get is that all my body’s energy has been frozen during the night and it needs to move!!!
When we spend a lot of time in the same position, in this case, lying in bed, even the simple act of sitting up can be difficult.
I realized that my body was crying out to be stretched.
But where do I start? How do I do it?
Everyone I know who practices yoga has always told me about its benefits and how great they feel when they practice daily.
But, can I do yoga with this body of mine? How am I going to practice yoga if I can’t even bend over to tie my shoelaces?
Societal stereotypes and our own limiting beliefs make us doubt ourselves.
Yoga is suitable for almost everyone. There are all sorts of different levels: for beginners, for pregnant women, for children, in a chair… There is also a wide range of styles. I encourage you to find yours.
Do you know what the word yoga means? Yoga is a Sanskrit word that means union. When we do yoga we are uniting the body, mind and soul, which is where so many benefits come from.
Although many think that it is simply a sport, I think that Yoga goes much further than that. It is a holistic discipline that helps improve your posture, the quality of your thoughts, concentration, flexibility, digestion and much more.
If you Google “benefits of doing yoga” I am sure you will get many more, but here is my summary of the most relevant benefits for the body and mind.
Benefits of yoga for the body:
- Good breathing: When we practice yoga, we are aware of our breathing, which is something that we are not normally aware of. When we breathe well, our mood improves as our heart rate slows down and our muscles relax.
- Better flexibility: Practising the different asanas (postures) alleviates the muscular tension generated by our daily physical activity. Without even realizing it, we feel lighter and more agile in our movements.
- Better body posture: Yoga helps to relieve and prevent cervical and lumbar pain caused by bad postures that we adopt throughout the day unconsciously. Most likely more than ever as today, so many people are working from home.
- Stronger muscles and bones: In addition to gaining flexibility, practising yoga prevents bone loss and helps us to have a more toned body..
- Strong immune system: The immune system is weakened when cortisol, the “stress hormone”, increases. In other words, the higher the stress, the higher the cortisol, which means a weaker immune system. And the same thing happens in reverse: when our body relaxes, our stress decreases. Therefore, the level of cortisol also drops, making our immune system stronger. This is just what happens when we practice yoga.
- Healthy nervous system: Yoga lowers the heart rate and blood pressure, something that is not always easy to achieve, even with medication.
- Burning calories: Depending on the type we choose, we can burn more or less calories. For example, we will burn more practising Vinyasa than with Hatha yoga.
Benefits of yoga for the mind:
- Greater control of our emotions
- Self-confidence increases when we notice that little by little our bodies are gaining in flexibility and resistance
- Reduced anxiety and stress levels
- Enhanced sleep quality
- Improved concentration
Yoga brings us to the present moment, the only place where life exists.
All these benefits that can be achieved by practising yoga seem incredible to me, don’t you think?
OUR PERSONAL STORIES:
How did I being doing Yoga?
The pandemic has brought me many good things, especially on a personal level.
The pandemic made me STOP.
And after the many ups and downs that arise from being at home, and with family, 24 hours a day for many days in a row, I felt the need to have MY space and MY moment. That’s when I discovered yoga, among many other things as well.
I Googled “my first yoga class” and Xuan Lan came up. It was as easy as that. From that moment on it was just a matter of consistency to incorporate it into my daily routine.
Jennifer (Jen), from Naturalmente Mediterraneo (enlace) has also been practicing for 4 years. Here is her experience.
In January 2017, one of my New Year’s Intentions was “Heal my back with Yoga or Pilates”. I had suffered from back pain for most of my life. In May that same year, someone suggested I try yoga on my own at home and recommended Adriene Mishler – “Yoga with Adriene” . I looked her up online, began her 30 Days of Yoga challenge and I haven’t stopped since. At first it was a real challenge, difficult. I could not fathom that Downward Dog was a resting pose! Now it is one of my very favourite asanas.
Since I began, I have tried different teachers and styles such as Hatha, Yin, Iyengar, Vinyasa, Kundalini and each year I do a wonderful Integral Yoga retreat.
But my day-to-day routine?
I practice yoga each morning with Adriene’s online classes, on my own schedule, in my own living room, sometimes even in my pajamas. I look forward to it as soon as I wake up. When travelling, I take my mat with me and access her classes on my phone.
I no longer have back pain.
I believe anyone can do yoga. Simply find a teacher, class and type that suits you and begin enjoying its benefits!
So, in my experience, personal development and getting to know oneself fully begins with self-observation and self-listening. The next step, action, and then, consistency.
“If you want to change the world, start with yourself”: (Mahatma Gandhi)
Do you also practice yoga?
Or maybe you would like to start but can’t find the time or the way to do it?
Let us know in the comment section. Your comments are sure to be helpful to other people.