The Unexpected Benefits of Yoga*

You don’t have to be a pure fitness junkie to be missing the gym right now. Under the current lockdown, we’re all starting to get itchy feet and our increasingly sedentary lifestyles stopped being fun weeks ago. While we can still go out for a jog, a bike ride or a long walk to get our daily dose of exercise, many of us are starting to pine for a challenge. An opportunity to push ourselves, learn new skills and achieve our fitness goals so we can emerge from the lockdown transformed, toned and gorgeous. 


There are lots of ways in which you can get fit from home these days, but have you ever considered adding yoga to your quarantine fitness regimen? You haven’t? Then you’re really missing out! Yoga isn’t all about bending yourself into impossible positions while chanting “ommmm”. It has an incredible array of benefits. Some are obvious like increased flexibility, relaxation, stress management and the ability to scratch your ears with your toes. Some are less obvious, but no less beneficial. Let’s take a look…


Yoga can make you stronger, with awesome abs


All women should strength train. As well as making you feel more powerful and confident it can help to keep your bones and joints healthy and reduce back pain. But it’s a common misconception that if you want to get strong it needs to come at the expense of your flexibility. Yoga engages all the major muscle groups, allowing you to find that sweet spot between strength and suppleness. A lot of yoga poses require you to engage your core, so your abs are always getting a great workout when you roll out your yoga mat.

The beauty of yoga is that it not only fits in easily with any other strength or cardio training regimen, it can even enhance the results you get from it! 


Yoga can introduce you to fun, interesting people


Yoga is for life, not just for lockdown. There are lots of great Youtube yogi who can help you to build a string foundation at home. But when the lockdown is over you might want to look in to finding a new yoga studio near you. Yoga brings all kinds of people together. Men, women, young, old. If you’re looking to make new friends and round out your social circle, yoga is a fantastic way to do it. 

The current lockdown is (understandably) making us yearn for human contact, and while it may be a little while yet until we feel comfortable sharing a confined space with strangers, joining a yoga class can give you the social fulfilment you’re craving. 


Yoga can help you to avoid future injuries


If there’s one good thing to come out of this terrible pandemic, it’s that we’re all thinking a little harder about our health. We’re getting a better understanding of how we can protect and safeguard our health as well as how the little things (like washing our hands and eating our veggies) can make a big difference. 

Another great thing about yoga is that it can potentially help us to avoid injuries in future. It’s more than just a stretching class (although it does make your muscles more limber, and as such, less likely to strain). It’s about increasing your awareness of your body, pushing it to its limits and breathing through adversity to push it beyond those limits. 

Once you’ve mastered this, you’ll be able to transfer it to all your exercise whether you’re pumping iron in the gym or heading out for a long run. So many injuries we endure are avoidable if we learn to listen to what our bodies are trying to tell us. 


Yoga can even make you smarter


Yoga doesn’t just benefit your body. It benefits your mind, too. Yoga is a form of meditation which can make you more mindful and better able to battle stress and anxiety. What’s more, just 20 minutes of yoga every day can actually make you smarter. Focused tests show that those who practice yoga on a daily basis are more mentally focused, better able to absorb and retain new information and make faster decisions. So as well as improving in strength and flexibility you get a boost in mental agility, too!

As you can see, there are lots of reasons why you should give yoga a try. And under the current circumstances, there’s no excuse not to roll out the mat, find a good video on YouTube and give it a whirl!
*Collaborative post, for more information on what this means please see my Disclaimer.

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