I was always very hesitant to start Yoga and be associated with any stereotypes of being a prissy Yoga gal, but with all those preconceptions aside I gritted my teeth, listened to my mum (thanks mum) got off my bum and gave it a try to see what all the fuss was about and…it was…hands down the best decision I made and here are 5 reasons why:
1. Relaxation – a large part of Yoga is focused on breathing. Deep and balanced breaths help to lower our heart rate and encourage relaxation of our mind, body, and soul. This relaxation is something we often overlook especially when university commitments dominate our daily lives. It is very important to take a step back from highly stressful situations and focus on returning to a calm state – just by taking slower, deeper breaths.
2. Health – with a new appreciation and awareness of deeper and slower breathing we allow more oxygen into the body, which improves the flow of blood. When we relax, it is more than just a physical feeling, our insides too feel the benefit and good circulation is key to staying healthy. It may not seem like it on the surface, but the more you practice Yoga the more you realise how many muscles the different positions require. Even after my first class I could really feel my muscles work. Yoga pushes you to use every part of your body from your smallest toe to your finger-tips. Little alterations to everyday tendencies like standing up without using your arms is just one of the many challenges that Yoga offers to ultimately make your arms, legs and core the strongest they can be.
3. Flexibility – Increased flexibility was a huge physical benefit for me because I could actually see myself getting better with each week I went to class. I saw my hands get closer and closer to my toes and even past my toes and flat onto the floor by my fourth class! To witness such an improvement was a great motivation for me and encourages me to go back every week. Even doing daily activities like walking to uni and running errands feels easier and less of a strain as I feel more limber and comfortable in my skin!
4. Peace – Yoga class is probably the most peaceful I feel other than those few minutes before I drift off to sleep at night time. Yoga has the ability to take over your mind as you focus solely on what is going on in your body and how you body feels as it transitions into various positions. All thoughts and worries and concerns completely escape you and endless positive energy is created and exudes your body as you take part in an array of beautiful sun salutations.
5. The Clothes! It may sound silly but my goodness yoga clothes are comfy. They are made of soft, breathable fabric and these days they come in every colour and funky pattern you could imagine. And believe me when you look the part you definitely feel the part.
So all you Aberdeen folk who are even slightly tempted by Yoga have no excuse but to just get out there and give it a try! Aberdeen Sports Village have a Yoga class five times a week, the Yoga Society at the university offer Yoga classes from beginner to advance on a daily basis and over in Union Terrace Gardens is a fabulous Yoga Studio – a little on the pricey side- but definitely worth the pretty penny for the peace you feel at the end of it!