Here are our top reasons why you should start practising yoga this New Year!
1.Live in the present moment
Be. Present. Now. This should be your mantra for the new year. Yoga teaches you to live in the present moment and not spend time regretting the past or worrying and planning for the future. The deep stretches and breathing make you more aware of yourself and your surrounding and shows you how to embrace the present moment and become a mindful and happy person.
2. Say goodbye to stress
Acute or chronic stress means increase in stress hormone or cortisol levels in the brain. Studies have proven that yoga can help lower stress hormones significantly even in people suffering from depression, type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure.It reduces muscle tensions and ups the relaxation response every time you practice asana, pranayama and meditation.
3. Sleep like a baby
Yoga helps you worry less, relax and sleep better! Studies have shown that those suffering from insomnia can benefit from yoga because of its ability to lower stress hormones and regulate nervous system by activating the parasympathetic nervous system (rest and digest). The benefits can also be seen in cancer patients, pregnant and postmenopausal women. Regular practice of hatha yoga, restorative yoga or yoga nidra can really help you sleep like a baby!
4. Become stronger and healthier
Surya namaskar is considered a full body workout because it works on every muscle and builds core-strength. Likewise core-vinyasa flow, balancing and holding asanas,supporting your own body weight.,etc target excess body fat, and tone and reshape the muscles and body. Intensity, the effort involved in repeating dynamic flows and holding postures make yoga an effective strength training routine.
5. Gain more flexibility and mobility
Apart from stamina and strength, yoga also works on joint rotation and lengthening of muscles that we often ignore which may make day-to-day activities like walking, sitting, bending, etc., a painful task. Yoga eliminates joint pain and muscle tightness and promotes functional flexibility and mobility so you can move around freely, bend with ease, kneel down or sit for long hours without worrying about the nagging pain and discomfort.
6. Detoxify and improve organ function
Yoga asanas are a combination of breathing, contracting and stretching muscles and balancing body weight, which gives a deep massage to internal organs, removes toxins, increases supply of oxygenated blood and optimises the functioning of organs. Deep breathing improves lung capacity so you can exercise more with less oxygen, asanas targeting kidney and liver help eliminate toxic waste and sweating adds up to the overall cleansing mechanism.
7. Experience a sense of inner calm
The very goal of yoga as explained in Patanjali’s Yoga Sutra is yoga chitta nirodha which roughly means removing the fluctuations of the mind or stilling the mind. Our monkey mind is working 24/7, worrying and thinking. The practice of yoga helps us stay in the present moment and helps us turn our attention inward. This mental shift helps us quite our mind and a state of inner calm.
8. Connect with your breath
Yoga helps build the mind-body-breath connection thus making us more aware of how our breath affects our body and thoughts or vice versa as all three are interconnected. The best example is to observe your breath when you are angry or scared. Stress only multiplies. But with yoga we learn to deepen the connection with our breath or prana. A deep breath instantly calms the mind.
9. Build your self confidence
Unlike other gym or fitness exercise, Yoga is for everyone. It doesn’t matter how old you are or how big or small your are; there is a yoga practice that will suit you just fine. Yoga also challenges you. You will probably fall or struggle with bends, inversions or arm balances, but it also guides you to adapt or find alternative adjustments and motivates you to get back on the mat and complete the task. Ths experience helps build self-esteem and self confidence and this positive attitude often extends to other areas of your life.
10. Improve body posture
People with a poor posture often complaint about knee or back pain.Yoga helps improve proprioception and balance which is important to maintain a good posture. Yoga improves spine flexibility, core-strength and bone health which results in a better posture as a result of which we breathe better, feel better and experience less or no pain irrespective of our agre.
11. Helps with weight management
Certain yoga exercises such as surya namaskar or core-vinyasa sequence target excess body fat and result in weight loss. However, they actually balance your system and bring your body to its ideal weight. It may take longer for the results to be visible, but the results last longer as asanas not only target extra kilos but make you more mindful of your eating habits and sleeping pattern and get to the root cause of weight problems, be it addictions, overeating, depression, stress, anxiety etc.
12. Focus and concentrate better
Balancing in yoga asanas requires you to be present in the moment. Practicing stillness and observing your breath will help you focus better and be fully present in the Now. Studies show that regular practice of yoga improves coordination, decision making, memory and even IQ scores. In savasana or yoga nidra we experience a restful state and yet we are aware. Likewise in meditation and pranayama our mind slows down and we experience a heightened state of awareness and are less distracted with thoughts.
13. Develop and attitude of gratitude
Yoga makes you more balanced and aware. As you build a deeper connection with yourself, you feel a deep sense of compassion towards everything and realise there are many reasons to be grateful for; to begin with your body, your practice, your teacher. As you progress, yoga helps you extend your awareness beyond the mat, beyond family, friends and nature to the cosmic. You begin to appreciate the fact that every moment is a gift.
14. Release emotional blockages and emotions
Yoga helps you understand and become aware of the destructive habits and emotions such as anger, anxiety, or addictions like smoking.These are often linked to heart attack, diabetes, high cholesterol, etc.Yoga helps you get to the root cause of all this and trains your body and mind to overcome these blockages. It releases stuck up emotions and shows you how to deal with them positively.
15. Fire up your sex life
It helps make our relationship more open and intimate. At the physical level, yoga makes you flexible and feel sexy in mind and body. Studies have also found that certain asanas can naturally boost testosterone levels in the blood. At the mental level, yoga enhances your mood, improves the quality of your sleep and modulates the stress response. All of these aspects help enrich and enhance your sex life, physically and emotionally.
Become a part of the growing global yogi community
The science of yoga dates back to over 5000 years and has been passed down through the Guru-Shishya lineage. Over the years it has adapted and evolved to suit the demands of the changing lifestyle and is still evolving. However, yogis across the globe are in agreement with the deep rooted goals of yoga which is the union of mind-body-soul and living in awareness of higher consciousness. Being a part of this growing community of millions of yogis, enriches the quality of our lives – health wise as well as spiritually.