Yoga is a holistic exercise that benefits the wellbeing of the mind and body and is proven to have positive health effects. Read this article to find out what kinds of good things yoga can bring into your life.
Text | Aino-Sofia Kojonen
Yoga is a word that has many meanings, depending on who you ask. For some, it means an exercise of the body, for some, an exercise of the mind, whereas for some, relaxation. And for some, all of the above. Yoga has many great aspects, in which lies the secret to yoga.
Nowadays, there are so many different styles of yoga that everyone is sure to find a style that suits them. If you want strength and a challenging, sweaty workout, choose a dynamic form of yoga, such as Astanga or vinyasa flow. If, on the other hand, you want to slow down, recover and calm down, you are more likely to get what you want by doing yin or restorative yoga.
WHEN YOU DO YOGA, YOU LEARN IMPORTANT LESSONS ABOUT YOURSELF
Regardless of the selected style of yoga, the essence remains the same: the way in which yoga teaches you new things and opens up new perspectives into your true self. Yoga is a holistic exercise of the body, the mind and the combination of these; the body-mind. Regular, mindful exercise automatically helps us get better in touch with a deeper physical and spiritual side of ourselves and takes us closer to achieving a balance between these two – which forms the essence of yoga.
When doing yoga, you must calm down, slow down and focus on yourself and your own exercise. Already this in itself is an extremely valuable skill to learn, as it helps us cope with the modern – and often hectic – life. When doing yoga, you do an individual exercise on your own mat. When you do yoga, you focus on the fact that each exercise is different, as each day in your mind and body is different. This teaches us important introspection, living in the moment and being mindful of the moment. In yoga, there is no need to compare the current exercise to a past of future exercise.
THE MULTIPLE POSITIVE HEALTH EFFECTS OF YOGA
Yoga has various scientifically proven beneficial health effects. The meditation and breathing exercises done during yoga help you listen to yourself better, make it easier to calm down and help activate the parasympathetic nervous system, which allows you to relax. Yoga reduces stress, which, on the other hand, directly affects wellbeing, metabolism, sleep quality and hormonal balance. Yoga is also proven to develop creativity and the ability to concentrate as well as improve coordination. Doing yoga also has a positive effect on blood circulation and your body’s fluid circulation.
Yoga teaches humility and patience. A yoga exercise can sometimes even be a slow process in which you cannot hurry. Your mind and body need time to grow along with exercise. In yoga, one of the most important things is consistency. Only regular training leads to development, and you cannot affect the pace at which development takes place. Sometimes it is the body and sometimes the mind that needs time. With the right attitude, you can understand and accept this aspect of yoga, as well. By doing yoga, you also learn new things about yourself, as it requires accepting yourself as you are. Regular practice of yoga is proven to lift spirits and alleviate depression, as it makes the body produce more serotonin, i.e., “feel-good hormone”.
YOGA IS A HOLISTIC AND VERSATILE EXERCISE
Yoga strengthens the body holistically. It improves muscle strength, coordination and flexibility and thus the body’s mobility. Rotating the body during the asanas, or poses, improves the mobility of the entire body and helps keep the spine in better condition. In order for the asanas performed during the exercises to be as comfortable and safe as possible, special attention is paid to the different parts and alignments of the body. Doing yoga is like being back at the biology class, as it automatically makes you get interested in the different parts of your body and their functionality. The more you know about your body, the more interesting yoga is.
And, the more you do yoga, the more beneficial effects it has on your health and wellbeing and the easier it gets to keep yoga as a regular part of your everyday life. Moreover, the right and healthy way of challenging yourself learned during the exercises and the experience in and insight into the ability of your body-mind can also give you more confidence in the areas of your life not including a yoga mat. All this makes yoga one of the best forms of exercise that promote holistic wellbeing.