I’ve practiced yoga over 16 years now. A simple practice, from home, using DVD’s or online videos. Some weeks I may do it 4 times, others maybe once. But I truly feel yoga has many benefits even if you just practice once a week, or 10 minutes a day.
Yoga helps the “stress” factor. With the bombardment of stimulation from electronics, crowds, traffic, and the hustle and bustle of daily life, yoga provides us with much-needed down time. It teaches relaxation, relaxes the nervous system ,and offers us a quiet time to turn inward. Yoga is extremely restorative in helping release the build up of chronic tension that we get from too much time on phones, computer, and sitting at the office. Lastly, yoga and meditation teach deep breathing. Deep breathing calms the parasympathetic system, and in turn, can reduce stress .
Flexibility is a huge reason to start yoga. If you used to be able to put your hands flat on the floor and now they barely reach your knees, that’s simply tight muscles from lack of use. Think about it. You have let your body lose what it rightfully should be doing. You can reclaim your flexibility. It was yours to start with, get it back and enjoy it. Tight hamstrings can even lead to back pain, so as you feel a gradual loosening from your yoga, you will stand taller and most likely many aches and pains will subside.
The spiritual dimension of a yoga practice can be life changing. It can encourage you to adopt lifestyle changes in all areas: eating, stress reduction, and mindfulness. Yoga can also deepen ones feelings of spirituality , or connections with a higher being. It can help you to work through your feelings with a calm mind and help you reduce anger by increasing feelings of love and compassion. A regular yoga practice may give you a quiet strength and confidence to face any challenge that may arise.
Yoga improves your balance. Better balance means fewer falls of course and as people age, falls can turn into major complications.
Yoga is non-competitive.You do not need to get a ball over a net or jump the highest or swim the fastest. Your yoga practice is individual and everyone should look different in each pose. Your poses will even look different, depending on your progression. You can ask yourself, what am I feeling today? What can I do today that is best for my body? Some days it may be a short and vigorous practice. Others a long and slow one. Some days more standing poses, others seated. And it’s something you can do in many places with virtually no equipment.
Start your practice gently and enjoy it. Most likely you will embrace it as part of a new healthier happier lifestyle. (As always, check with a doctor first.)