Open Colleges Certificate III Fitness student, Alexandra Marchant, shares her love of yoga and the reasons we should all be giving it a go…
Tell a yogi about your problems and chances are they’ll recommend you take up yoga. They’d probably be right too! Almost everyone could benefit greatly from the physiological and emotional changes that come from yoga.
Calm mind, calm body
Stress is universal, everyone has some form of stress. The important thing is how you deal with it. Yoga uses poses along with breathing techniques as an easy, effective way to relax and reduce stress.
Changing your focus to the present moment by being aware of your body’s positioning and breathing not only slows your racing mind but lowers your heart rate, releases muscle tension and gives your body a chance to switch from a fight-or-flight response to a relaxation response.
Frame of mind
Bulletproof Mindset. The Sanskrit word for yoga means to “unite or integrate”. Yoga builds a strong bond between mind and body. Strengthening your mind and body can help build a bulletproof mindset. A strong mindset can change the way you process emotions, improve your mental focus and discipline, better your ability to handle stress and build your self-confidence.
Posture says a lot about a person. Your mood, your mobility issues, your job; these three factors have a huge effect on your posture. Excessive curvature of your shoulders and lower back can cause pain and dysfunction. Yoga is amazing for building postural awareness, strengthening your core, lengthening tight muscles and developing a healthy spine.
Touch your toes
Flexibility and posture go hand in hand. Constant sitting along with poor posture can give you tight hamstrings, hips, chest and shoulders. Moving through pose sequences and using your breath to relax into them works to release and lengthen your tight muscles. Utilising yoga to regain a full range of motion is also important when it comes to the next subject…
Strength and muscle tone make everyday functions so much simpler. Strengthening muscles such as your upper back, glutes and core will also make developing good posture that little bit easier. The controlled movements and isometric holds practiced in yoga are an effective way of building a strong, athletic and balanced body.
Train like an athlete. Athletes take all facets of their health and training seriously, and so should you. Yoga will improve your training performance and durability through flexibility, strength and endurance. It will also give you a better understanding of your spatial awareness and coordination. Yoga is also an awesome way to improve how you recover between training sessions.
Yoga is a low impact activity. This means it’s not only great for introducing movement to the young and keeping the elderly moving, it is also perfect if you’re new to exercise, coming back from injury or illness, or even if you’re looking for something to do on your rest days from training. Being a low impact weight-bearing activity, yoga can also assist in the prevention and management of conditions such as arthritis, osteoporosis and other musculoskeletal diseases, asthma, diabetes and heart disease.
No matter what your original motivation for taking up yoga is, it will improve all aspects of your life. And that’s the most important reason to love yoga!