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Yoga has so many physical, mental, and spiritual benefits and anyone can do it! Don’t be intimidated by those yogis who can do head stands and tie themselves into a knot. You can still get the same benefits they are through this amazing practice. I highly recommend joining a class to learn the foundations of yoga but you certainly don’t have to in order to learn, I didn’t (not at first anyway). You Tube is a great (and free) resource to learn this practice. For beginners, I recommend following Yoga With Adrien. If you know the basics and want to take it up a notch physically, I love Five Parks Yoga. You can follow these videos right in your own living room. Here are just some of the amazing benefits you can get from practicing yoga!
This one is a no brainer. Yoga stretches every part of your body and as a result will help you gain flexibility. Still awesome. Before yoga I could barely touch my toes. Now I can reach far past my toes. That may not sound that great, but any kind of progress is exciting. Also, having more flexibility is a game changer in the bedroom.
Increased Strength and Energy
If you’ve seen those tiny women who teach yoga, you would not think they are that strong, but they are incredibly strong! Do enough chaturangas and you’ll have biceps in no time. From the outside, yoga looks flowy and relaxing. Taking just one class will shatter that illusion. (Although there is yoga that is more focused on relaxation known as yin yoga). Yoga is a work out and I am always surprised at how sore I am after practicing. But, it is a work out that gives a lot of energy. After practicing, I not only have more energy but I am more focused and centered.
Become More Mindful
As I said in my previous post, Why You Should Meditate Daily, mindfulness is the key to happiness. When you practice yoga, you will learn to match your breath to movement. This forces you to be present and in the moment. This benefit lasts beyond your time spent on the mat. Practice yoga everyday and you will find yourself enjoying the moment, becoming more present, and dealing with problems more effectively.
Yoga is a work out. It will get your heart rate going, your sweat pouring, and your body moving. But more than that, yoga also influences you to make healthier decisions. Yoga changes your brain, it changes the way you think. Practice yoga and you may find yourself reaching for an apple instead of a candy bar. You may find yourself inspired to make smoothies instead of buying soda. You may not even notice those changes at first but yoga has a way of giving new perspectives and influencing healthy lifestyle choices.
How to Make it a Habit
As soon as you wake up, roll out your mat. It is great to practice at any time of day, but I find the most motivation in the morning and then I get to enjoy the benefits all day long. Start with 20 minutes a day. If you can’t get yourself up twenty minutes earlier, just do five sun salutations. It can be hard to get out of a nice warm bed for yoga, it is hard to make it a habit. Whenever I find myself sleeping in more times than I am getting up for yoga, I try some envisioning meditation. Before I fall asleep I imagine myself waking up, turning off my alarm (not pressing snooze), and feeling excited to practice yoga and start my day. I really try to feel what I want to feel when I wake up. It is so much easier to wake up the next day when I imagine myself waking up easily and happily.
Where to get a Good Yoga Mat
Correction, where to get the best yoga mat ever. The absolute best mat I have ever used is the Hugger Mugger Para Rubber Yoga Mat. I bought this mat when I was getting to a place in my practice where I wanted to start doing balances, like head stands and crow pose. It was difficult on my current yoga mat, I would get sweaty and then I would start to slide. The first time I used the hugger mugger mat I was instantly in love. I had tons more grip and I could complete the yoga poses properly. The mat is also eco-friendly. I seriously can’t recommend it enough.
If you are a beginner and don’t want to dish that much money out for a mat, don’t feel like you need to. When I first started I bought the Gaiam Yoga Mat and it was great. They have beautiful designs and I have taken mine everywhere and it is still in perfect condition. I really didn’t need an expensive yoga mat until I wanted to practice longer and harder. This mat is perfect for beginners and won’t break the bank.