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Yoga is so much more than the physical practice of poses to get fitter, more flexible, and feel good in our bodies. If you’re wondering how yoga can help the mind, body, and soul, look no further, we’ve covered it all in this post.
It can take time to appreciate the wonderful effects that yoga is having on your wellbeing and outlook on life, but that’s the beauty of it. As our practice grows, so does the awareness of what it’s doing for us.
In this post, we’re going to look at yoga in a holistic sense so that next time you head to class, you can feel the deep benefits that your practice is having on your mind, body, and soul.
Many of us turn to yoga for stress-related reasons, and it’s a good thing that we do! Yoga is one of the very best ways to calm the mind and improve our mental wellbeing.
When we practice yoga, meditation, and controlled breathing techniques (pranayama), we gradually start to improve our focus, clarity, and attention. As well as improving our performance at work, this will also improve our ability to let the small things slide and increase our focus on the present moment - and, therefore, away from the things and the thoughts that are causing us to feel stressed.
Yoga, similarly to our positive apparel, is like a giant and very warm hug. We decide to practice - which, admittedly, is not always an easy decision! -, we climb into something comfortable, and we roll out our mats ready for some well-deserved me-time. This alone is enough to alleviate stress by prioritizing our needs and slowing down a bit. Add a little gentle stretching and pranayama to the mix and watch as your mind starts to reach new levels of peace and tranquility.
We all know that yoga is a wonderful practice for the physical body - and if you don’t, where have you been?! Depending on the style of yoga that you choose to practice, the time spent on your mat can lead to increased flexibility, greater strength, and a heightened sense of awareness and understanding of your body.
When we practice yoga regularly we start to learn about our bodies in a deeper sense, noticing when we have new or ongoing discomfort, pain, and tightness. The wonderful thing about this is that, when we get to know our bodies better, we’re more equipped to heal them both on and off the mat.
If your shoulders feel tight from a week of desk work, you’ll notice that during your yoga practice and be able to respond with lots of chest and shoulder openers. If your hips feel tight from walking, running, or even too much sitting, you’ll quickly recognize the need to add some deep hip openers into your practice.
It's the ultimate way to create a tailored care routine for your body!
Did you know that yoga has ‘8 limbs’ (or branches) and that only one of them is the physical practice of poses?
In the modern, western world, we can often forget that yoga was created as a way to nourish our souls and connect with the divine, God, source energy, or whatever else you would like to cause it. Initially, asana - the practice of poses - was created as a way to make sitting in meditation more comfortable. Yogi’s would practice movement to ease muscle tension and connect to their bodies before sitting in for long periods of time.
With the modernization of yoga, it’s common that we turn to the practice as a way to destress and relieve discomfort in the body without understanding much about the incredible effects that it can have on our soul being.
The best way to benefit from the effects of yoga on the soul is to treat it as a lifestyle - after all, that’s the way that it was always intended to be taught! Here are the 8 limbs of yoga to help you understand a bit more about approaching yoga as a lifestyle for your soul:
Yama - self-restraint
Niyama - observance
Asana - movement and postures
Pranayama - breath
Pratyahara - withdrawal of senses
Dharana - concentration
Dhyana - meditation
Samadhi - union or enlightenment
So, next time you head to your favorite class, take a moment to appreciate and notice the benefits that the practice is having on your mind, body, and soul. And most importantly, remember to bring this sense of calm and clarity with you when you move away from your mat and into your day.
We would love to know, what’s the reason that you started practicing yoga?