6 Reasons Why You Should Take Up Yoga

How yoga is changing me

Yoga and I have an interesting relationship.

I was 19 when we first got to know each other. My friend Carolina (she’s in the photo below) took me to a class – and I couldn’t get into it at all. I struggled to understand the mental side of the practice.

Three years later and I now know why this happened. I was focusing too much on the difficulty of each asana, how I looked, the fact that I couldn’t hold a triangle pose for more than three seconds. Instead of enjoying the process of learning. Because yoga’s all about that the process and the learning.

Since I committed to practice every day, I’ve noticed many many benefits. Here are my top six:

1.      Strength
If you’re like me and the idea of being in a gym lifting weights is hell, maybe you should consider doing yoga to build your strength instead. Every time you transition from pose to pose, you lift our body weight. Isn’t that great? And trust me, I’ve never been stronger. Even my arms look toned!

2.      Body awareness
One of my favorite things about yoga is that I don’t need to push harder or sweat if I don’t feel like it. I do what feels good to my body. This has helped me to bring awareness of my body, find purpose with my movement and even gain coordination. I find my mind telling me “long back and neck”, “shoulders away from ears”, “exhale and release gently”. I’ve become good at listening to my body and taking care of it.

3.      More flexibility
I didn’t know how important flexibility was for a healthy body until I gained back. After dropping ballet I lost all of my flexibility and unfortunately, we gradually lose it as we grow older so working on it has been a challenge but the good thing about flexibility is that unlike strength, it takes less effort to maintain. Keeping a flexible body will improve your life quality as the years go by and yoga it’s just the best way to keep your muscles and joints healthy. 

4.      Better posture
A good posture is a happy back. Most of us spend a good amount of our time sitting. As student I spend A LOT of time chained to a table. And the perfect way of preventing back pains is my daily yoga session.

5.      Wellbeing and mind-body workout
I’ve recently learnt that “yoga” means union, the union between mind and body. And now that I know how to connect those two, my tendencies to overthink and stress over everything have reduced dramatically. Taking a few minutes every day to do sun salutations and “flow” have changed my mood and the way I react to things. I’ve learnt to breathe and to relax.

6.      Fewer injuries and better muscle recuperation
As a runner, I’ve got to know injuries quite well. My knees and hips get tired and my legs get extremely sore after long runs. However, if I do a yoga session focusing on hips-opener poses right after my run, my muscles will go back to normal sooner. It’s incredible how different the day after feels if you treat your body to a nice yoga “flow” after training.

Have you ever tried yoga? If so, I’d love to hear about your experiences, follow me at @annadesousa .


CONTRIBUTOR

Ana is a 21-year-old Translation student and a social media savvy vegan keen to share her plant-based passion. She believes that this lifestyle is something we can all learn from, something we can spread and teach, and, most of all, something that can bring us joy.

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