Why You Should Practice Yoga!

This time last year, I found myself feeling dejected and lazy. Quarantine had me going stir-crazy, and I needed a way to move and reflect that did not include going to the gym. I had previously attended a couple of group yoga classes at the Leach with a sorority sister and decided to give virtual yoga a try.

What I found was a whole online community sponsoring wellness. YouTubers like Yoga with Adriene were posting full-length flows for free and I couldn’t believe it! I found myself wanting to wake up earlier and try out her awakening and morning flows. The physical results I felt made waking up earlier well worth it. My flexibility improved and I even found that after the workout flows, I was feeling just as sore as if I had gotten in a good gym workout. It was a safe and healthy way I could feel active and escape the cooped-up feelings of quarantine. I felt less groggy after stretching my body and more motivated to keep up the pace for the rest of the day. This little routine added much need structure and predictability to my life at a time when things were uncertain and unknown.

Girl doing Yoga Photo by cottonbro from Pexels

Yoga focuses a lot of breathing techniques and centering. I found myself feeling more set at ease and able to respond more calmly to any frustrations life threw at me that day. Adrienne is very encouraging and offers counter poses for anyone that is not feeling comfortable in a pose, so that took the pressure out of the workout. Yoga enabled me to move and be active without stressing so much about how many calories I was burning or how many sets I could do.

yoga sunrise Unsplash

The slow pace of yoga is necessary for the more spiritual benefits and introspection. This aspect of yoga appeared a little daunting at first. Did I really have 51 minutes to spend on this today? If like me, you’re hesitant, here are four reasons you should practice yoga!

1. Flexibility

This can be one of the things that scares people away from yoga if they are concerned about being able to do certain poses. It is important to realize that photos you may see in magazines or online are that yogi’s best day. Everyone starts somewhere and there is no shame in not being able to do a split (monkey pose)—I know I couldn’t.

2. Happiness

According to Yoga Journal, consistent yoga practice leads to a significant increase in serotonin levels and a decrease in cortisol.

3. Sleep

Speaking of cortisol, sleep regulation is another huge benefit of yoga. This was the one I would say I felt first. The meditation Savasana (the pose where you lay still on your back) actually really helps your nervous system! This time of relaxation helps you unwind so you have less of the cortisol stress hormone in your body!

4. Confidence

This is one that is often overlooked. I felt so much more confident as I learned these new poses and the sense of achievement really boosted my mental health. The yoga community is very supportive of mental health and I really recommend anyone to join yoga if they are able!

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