5 Reasons You Should Do Yoga (Seriously!)
Yoga has something to offer everyone (yes, EVERYONE!) and can be adapted to suit the needs of people of all ages and fitness levels. There are so many benefits to a regular yoga practice–here are five of our faves, so grab your mat and indulge in some zen:
1. Stress Relief
Anyone who has been to enough classes to get past the whole “what are we doing here?” phase will admit that they feel calmer after doing yoga. While intense classes can give you a worn-out feeling of relaxation, it’s the effect on the nervous system that actually helps to reduce stress. The deep breathing, the concentration on the moment, the stretching and the quiet all help balance the autonomic nervous system.
2. Immune support and healing
A regular yoga practice supports the health and proper functioning of the immune system. The nervous system balancing (above) is part of that, because when we are in stressed-out fight-or-flight mode, the immune system is suppressed. The poses and conscious breathing reduce physical pain as well as emotional anxiety. Yoga reduces stress, improves sleep, reduces cortisol levels and can lower blood pressure and heart rate.
3. Yoga makes you smarter
Practicing yoga for only 20 minutes a day can improve cognitive function, working memory, and focus. A recent study in the U.S. found subjects performed better on tests after 20 minutes of yoga than after 20 minutes of aerobic exercise. This makes it a perfect morning exercise to get you going early in the day.
4. Increased Flexibility
Many people think they can’t go to a yoga class because they aren’t flexible enough—but that’s like thinking that you can’t take a shower because you are not wet (backwards, right?). Yoga isn’t about being flexible when you show up–it’s about slowly increasing your flexibility over time.
5. Weight Loss
Yoga can support your own healthy weight by practicing yoga. An intense, sweat-it-out class will provide some calorie burn and toning, but it’s really the increased mindfulness that gives you weight-managing benefits. When we are centered and present, we are more likely to make healthy choices. Not everyone will lose weight when they practice yoga, but it can help make the process easier.
You see…? Yoga really is for everyone; man or woman, young or old, it benefits everyone’s health. Find a classes that fits your skill level, body type, where you feel comfortable and welcome. You may be surprised at how good yoga can make you feel!
A few of our fave yoga products:
|Everlast Yoga Socks||Manduka yogitoes Skidless Towels||B Yoga B BLOCK Cork Yoga Block||Gaiam Duffle Bag|
Staff Diaries: Why We Do Yoga
We asked around the Well.ca offices to find out why we do yoga (and of course, what their fave yoga accoutrements are!):
Kathy, Marketing Coordinator
“I used to do yoga 5 times a week until a completely lazy summer took over my body. But I love doing yoga for multiple reasons: to clear my mind; yo help stretch and strengthen my body (especially after sitting for long hours of the day at a desk); to make my mornings easier (I wake up more refreshed) and help me sleep better; to improve my overall health – it instantly turns me away from junk food and makes me want to eat more healthy to make my yoga practice more light and not feel so heavy. My all-time favourite yoga tool is a cork yoga brick. Because of the design, I find I can get a firm grip from any angle, which helps me keep stable during my practice.”
Vanessa, Category Manager
“Since I am a Goodlife member I take advantage of a class called Body Flow which is a mix of Yoga, Tai Chi and Pilates paired with great music that really takes you to another place (for me anyway). I have been doing this class since 2008 and it helps me stay balanced, stress free and reminds me to take time to myself which I often forget to do. In terms of products, my current obsession would be my awesome Purple Gym Bag. It’s everything I’ve ever wanted in a gym bag and nothing I don’t need. I take it everywhere and get complimented on it all the time (which may not help with my yoga practice it does help my ego.”
Kevin, Merchandising Coordinator
“I’m new to yoga, and I’m obsessed with it. I attend hot yoga classes at a studio where the focus is meditative, and I leave with a sense of calm and readiness to take on the challenges of life. The heat helps internalize my focus, even if it makes it a bit swampy. I’m only 2 months in and the benefits have been incredible; I sleep better, feel younger, my flexibility and circulation has improved, and I’m better able to focus. But, due to the heat and extended postures, I sweat more than I’d like, so I felt it necessary to pick up a Thirsty Yoga Strap. It helps when my grip fails when trying to go into a difficult pose, plus, it doubles as a towel.”
April, Customer Care
“Yoga has taught me a huge amount about the importance of relaxing both the mind and body. I practice it regularly for the stress relief it provides. I find it calms me down and makes me more able to deal with just about anything. My favourite yoga tool would be my No-Slip Yoga Socks. I find I have better balance and more stability when I wear them and can even do a few poses without a mat (meaning I am more likely to do them when I first wake up in the morning).”
Andrea, Manager of Merchandising and Special Projects
“I often have trouble sleeping and I find that an evening yoga session both challenges me and helps me get a good night’s rest. The thing that I love the most about yoga is that regardless of how my day has gone, I always feel pretty great (and calm) after a class. My pick for my favourite product would be my set of two of the Gaiam Yoga Blocks. Having 2 grippy blocks helps me feel stable. And they’re great for a beginner like me who is not flexible enough to always reach the floor.”
Jennifer, Content Editor
“You probably wouldn’t guess it, but I’m a bit of a stress-basket…and my immune system is drasitcally (and very poorly) effected by stress. So the reason I do yoga on a regular basis is beacuse the deep breathing and meditation help me shift from to-do lists, my kid’s demands and needs, my financial concerns and relational struggles to something more calming. Yoga helps me relieve stress and unclutter my mind, and helps me to be a lot more focused. My current obsession would have to be my Thirsty Yoga Towel. I love hot yoga and this towel is awesome and uber-absorbent. I don’t do yoga without it!”
There you have it: so many different people with so many different reasons to practice a form of exercise that people have been doing all over the world for 3000 years.
Why do you do yoga? Or…why don’t you…?