The Benefits of Yoga and Why I Can't Live Without It
by Amanda Simmons, Office Manager for My Pink Lawyer®
What’s all the Yoga hype about? Is it a new trendy workout? I’m here to say that Yoga is so much more.
I’m ecstatic that Yoga has become so incredibly popular and I think everyone should practice some form of Yoga. Why? Well for me, a devoted Yogini for the past decade, Yoga is a personal practice of the body, mind and spirit. Yes, you can get all of that out of a “workout”!
What is Yoga? Yoga was founded in India. It’s a Hindu tradition practiced for thousands of years using asanas (poses), pranarama (breath control), and meditation.
Yoga literally means union.
Funny, because I can literally feel the unity and commonality between everyone in every class, retreat, camp and workshop that I attend. Not only am I getting a workout but I’m also relaxing by quieting the mind and breathing deeply. I feel some sort of connection with other students and teachers since most are there for the same reasons. It’s always a very calm, peaceful, open-minded and inviting environment. Who doesn’t want to feel comfortable especially in a social setting? The combination is perfect for many.
There are many types of Yoga.
- Bikram or Hot Yoga: Yoga practiced in a 100 degree room (usually challenging and there’s always a feeling of great accomplishment because of all the sweating!)
- Kundalini Yoga: Feminine practice focused on balancing the chakras and keeping the energy flowing through your body (a calmer feel with fire breathing and chanting/singing yet sometimes a surprise challenge because of the longer length to practice 1 set of moves or to hold a pose)
- Chair Yoga: Yoga practiced in a chair (great for a physically limited person or for an elder)
- Aerial Yoga: Yoga practiced in silks hung from the ceiling (a fun circus feel!)
- Acro-Yoga: The practice of using a partner or multiple partners (think doing “Superman” as a kid on your dad’s/grandfather’s/brother’s feet!)
- Vinyasa Flow Yoga: Steady flow practice using many sun salutations (this is a popular practice and my personal favorite)
- Yin Yoga: The practice of postures being held for 3-5 minutes (great for an injury or deep relaxation with deep stretches)
- Child Yoga: from mamas and their babies practicing on their mats together, to toddlers having their own Yoga class, to family Yoga which is parents and their kids of all ages practicing together (I’m a mom to a beautiful 5 year old and she has loved the different Yoga classes and even Yoga camps that she has tried!)
- Prenatal Yoga: Pregnant women practicing Yoga (taking these classes is when I really started having a deep love and appreciation for Yoga and it’s when I started practicing on a regular basis).
- Yoga is now being incorporated in so many other ways!: Slackline Yoga, Pet Yoga, Hoop Yoga, even Laughing Yoga!
There are many benfits to practicing Yoga
From working on your physical strength and flexibility to wanting to relax, clear your mind, forget your worries and meditate, with consistent practice you can receive these multiple benefits even off of your mat. I catch myself reminding myself to take a few deep breaths whether in the grocery store or at the office. I try to work in short meditations while washing the dishes or walking my dog.
On a deeper level you can take the quotes, mantras, songs and chants home with you to understand their meanings. When you think about it, it all translates to the most important things in life, things we ALL want for ourselves and for others:
Love, Gratitude, Peace, Appreciation, Acceptance.
If we all want these things in our life this is what brings us together in unity.
Yoga literally means union!
If you haven’t tried Yoga because you’re not sure what to expect or you think you’re not flexible or maybe you’re uncomfortable with chanting, HERE'S THE DEAL:
There is no judgement in Yoga. It doesn’t matter your strength, your flexibility, your age, your gender, your experience, your religion, your beliefs. Literally every single pose has multiple levels to fit you on a particular day. You don’t have to do anything, just whatever feels right.
Some days you might want a challenge and some days you may want to relax. Find the types of classes that fit you and then, when you get in there, try doing each pose the way your body wants and needs to.
If you don’t want to chant, just relax in the vibrations.
If you’re not feeling inversions, just skip it and start your savasana and relax.
No rules. No judgment.
I’ve loved my Yoga journey so far and am so excited for what’s ahead. Every class is different and I learn something new in every single class. It’s so fun to learn, to challenge, to share my experience, meet other yogis and find out more about myself on both a physical and mental level.
As they say in India, and in Yoga class,
"Namaste" which means 'the spirit in ME honors the spirit in YOU.'
So, what's YOUR favorite type of yoga? Please leave me a comment below. I'd love to hear from you!