This is Yoga's Real Benefits and They're Life Altering
Invisibility is Nice, but...
Believe it or not, but there are yogis (practitioners of yoga) who claim this ancient art of physical and mental exercises gives them inhuman abilities. Levitation, teleportation, becoming invisible and even eating glass without coming to harm have all been touted as things yoga can do for the dedicated yogi. There are a lot of dedicated yogis in studios all over the world but people are still waiting for one to float out of class.
The real benefits are more earthy but priceless — because anyone can experience them. Yoga is a system that gently wraps around the needs of the individual. It will soothe the injured, stressed and sad, enliven the tired, add greater fitness to the athlete and set the scene for wisdom to those who seek it.
Fun fact: Did you know that some yogis claim to stop their own hearts for a few minutes and then restart the old ticker?
Membership for All
Yes, you too can look like a pretzel. Eventually. The great thing about yoga is that, right from the start, it's accessible to anyone. There's no elite club, secret handshake, or exclusion based on gender, religion or background. Regardless of age or fitness, anyone can start. The trick is to know your limits and to begin at the appropriate level. Yoga is very adaptable to medical conditions or physical shortcomings. However, never see yoga as a cure for something serious. It's true that this art is a miracle as far as prevention goes but it won't eradicate diseases that need chronic medication or surgery.
Yoga is the First Step
Those calling yoga a “journey” aren't kidding. It's a lifestyle without end and there's always more to learn and benefit from. In many ways, yoga is like an oasis in a harsh world. It cannot make the world a better place but it can provide sustenance for the person who rests and rejuvenates at its center. A regular practice is perfect for:
- Individuals looking to trim their muscles and lose weight
- A better body image
- The alleviation of constant fatigue
- Development of emotional coping skills
- Anyone too busy to spend a lot of time on exercise
- A supportive therapy to pre-existing physical and mental conditions
- Any person who desires a disease preventive lifestyle
- Learning how to experience more calm and control, no matter the situation
Find Your Time
Any Quantity is Quality
Often, newcomers to yoga think that they must immediately know poses to perfection and do as plenty as possible. Here's a great secret about yoga — you are in competition with nobody but your own body's progress. In turn, advancements must be made through gentle correction and persistence but never through impatience or pain.
It's preferable to start small and there's a very important reason why. Most of us have routines or in the absence of one; chaotic lives. To add another routine, such as a fitness program, places the new activity in danger of abandonment after a few weeks. Maybe even days. Starting small is what makes a new routine stick. Everybody's got five minutes to spare. Guess what? That's adequate time for a quick warm-up. In the meantime, pick a short sequence of poses you'd like to do, about three in a row. Focus on a problem they can help with; stiffness, stress or balance. Research them properly for a few days, while every day you dedicate five minutes only to the warm-up. By the time you are ready to do the sequence, you've found the time of day that allows a break long enough for a mini yoga session.
At the beginning, it is not as much as how often a week the poses are done. The end goal is to ingrain the habit of getting yourself to pause and do yoga. No matter how short the session.
Grow Your Own Pace
Once you've carved out the time slot, the next step is pace. Yoga is about balance and pace is no different. No pose should ever hurt. The moment you move towards a boundary and there's tightness in the muscles or joints, gently test the limit and then hold the pose in a comfortable place. Never bounce. In this manner, the body can become stronger and more flexible without injury. Finding your pace is also an excellent way yoga helps you to reconnect with your body, by focusing on how it feels and develops. Forget about guilt, competition and comparing yourself with others. Yoga is highly personal and not about who is the best-looking pretzel in the bag.
The Gems of Regular Practice
Developing a routine that sticks takes dedication and work. For inspiration during dull times, always keep in mind the rewards of a regular yoga practice. In the modern world, the points below are welcome little diamonds.
- More energy and vitality
- Chronic aches and stiffness will ease or disappear
- Increased confidence in relationships and at work
- Weight loss
- Less stress
- Preventing disease by toning all the body's systems
- Emotional well-being
- The chance at a longer life
- Not neglecting any part of the body — yoga works all the muscles, organs, the skeleton and the rest that makes up a wonderful you
- More mental resilience and calmness
An Exciting Journey
Yoga's Other Changes
The degree to which yoga effects each person is different. But often, when somebody maintains a steady practice, they notice certain things change and new interests develop. Don't expect to go from a couch potato to wanting to catch crocodiles — changes won't be that drastic, but they will definitely be wholesome. Here are just a few.
1. A deeper interest in a certain aspect of yoga, such as breathing (yogic breathing is almost an art onto itself), a certain type of yoga, meditation or things you may never have considered — chanting, new philosophies, rituals and even teaching yoga
2. New awareness of how the body truly works; for instance, the spine is viewed by many healthcare professionals as one of the core pillars of health and yet it's often never given a second thought until there's a problem
3. Adopting a healthier diet
4. Dropping bad vices
5. Most people have a reactive personality — they react and then think. Yoga and meditation help to move away from the mind's obsessions, frantic thoughts and assumptions, all of which can be very damaging in the wrong situation
6. More drive to chase after dreams and accomplishing goals
7. There might even come a day when you stop depending on outside things to feel whole, including bad relationships
Step Closer, Soldier
That's right, recruit, your body needs you! Step right up to the recruitment table and sign your soul away. Alright, corny military and soul jokes aside, the human body really does need a single system that does it all. Yoga could be your safe space in the modern world and a fitness program that helps yogis everywhere to reach their full potential. All that you need is the decision to try, a little dedication and like countless before you, chances are that you'll never look back!
© 2018 Jana Louise Smit