Never been on the mat before? Then this article is just right for you!
Surely you have your reasons why you are not yet a yogi or yogini: you have certain prejudices, you are afraid of not being athletic or limber enough, or you lack companionship to feel comfortable? Whatever it is, it can’t be lack of interest, because otherwise you wouldn’t be reading these lines right now 😊 So chances are pretty good that you just need a very small incentive to venture onto the mat.
Here are my top ten best reasons to start yoga today:
1. Stop the mental merry-go-round
This was my reason for starting yoga. I wanted to gain more control over my sometimes wildly racing thoughts and get more serenity. Meditation in particular, which is a part of yoga, is wonderfully suited for this, but also the conscious movement during asana practice, in harmony with the breath, often accompanied by appropriate affirmations, visualizations or concentration on certain areas of the body, helps a lot to untangle the mess that often forms in the mind.
Lord knows I haven’t turned into a person that nothing can upset, but I now have tools to better deal with the challenges of everyday life. And after I’ve been on the mat, I always feel a little better – no matter what may be going on.
2. Yoga makes you happy
Yes, you read that right, and not just because it’s fun (see point 6)! It is now proven that a regular yoga and meditation practice has a positive effect on our sense of happiness and can strengthen it. During practice, processes are set in motion in our body that release happiness hormones. It is commonly known by now that exercise in general promotes happiness hormones, but yoga with its mindfulness takes it to an even higher level. Exercise with the happiness factor – it doesn’t get much better than that!
3. A healthier body
Not only will your mind feel better with yoga, so will your body. When you get on the mat regularly, you’ll gain strength and flexibility along the way. Not only does it feel good, but it also reduces the risk of injury. In addition, it has been proven that yoga can also strengthen your immune system. A win-win situation!
4. Better body awareness
Have you ever been told to pay attention to how something feels in your body during a fitness class at the gym? I’m sure you haven’t. In yoga, on the other hand, it’s normal. After many postures or sequences, time is taken to feel, often in the postures themselves. Over time, you’ll learn to observe yourself more and more and to better interpret your body’s signals. The advantage? You also listen better to your body outside the yoga studio and know what is good for it and you and what is not. So, you can react specifically when you don’t feel well and take better care of yourself.
5. A better memory
Yes, you can even improve your memory with yoga – there’s actually research on it. The basis of this is the assumption that yoga is the combination of asanas, pranayama and meditation. Regular practice of this combo has a strong effect on the volume of the gray matter of the brain. This is a part of the nervous system that decreases with age. This not only causes memory impairment, but also increases the risk of Alzheimer’s and dementia. Yoga seems to not only slow down this deterioration, but even cause new nerve cell bodies to form.
6. It’s fun
You associate yoga with discipline and asceticism and therefore shy away from it? Then I have good news: Yoga is fun and your practice may feel good! It’s no less effective if you don’t struggle through your time on the mat and watch the clock every minute – on the contrary! It’s fun to move in tune with your breath. It’s fun to move the body in ways we wouldn’t otherwise in our daily lives. It’s fun to feel yourself getting stronger and more supple after a while. It’s fun to try creative movement sequences, maybe even to beautiful music. It’s fun to playfully approach positions that are difficult for you. It’s fun to play around until you find the right style for you. It’s fun to combine effort and relaxation. Try it out! What exactly about yoga do YOU enjoy?
7. Be able to join the convo
Yoga is on everyone’s lips. Everyone talks about it, no matter what – some praise it as a panacea, others criticize it as esoteric crankery. Some companies introduce it to help their employees be more focused and relaxed (see point 8), and it’s even used as a form of therapy. If you haven’t tried it yourself, you can’t have a say in a major issue of today. So, get on the mat and make up your own mind!
8. An enrichment for all aspects of your life
When you start practicing yoga, after a while you will notice how it affects your life off the mat. You will learn to focus more. This, in turn, will have a positive effect on your work – you’ll probably be able to work more efficiently and in a more structured way, and achieve better results. You will gain more patience. This will help you in dealing with your loved ones. Friends, family, colleagues, they all benefit from you being more in tune with yourself. You become more mindful. Through this increased mindfulness, you are more likely to know what is good for you and what is not. You’ll increasingly strengthen the former and reduce the latter. This is good for both your physical and mental health.
9. Little effort or equipment
You would like to start right away? You can! You don’t need expensive or bulky equipment to lug around everywhere. All you need is yourself, comfortable clothes and ideally a mat – even that isn’t always necessary. This means that even if you’re short on cash, you can start right away, and even on vacation or business trips, you can practice whenever you feel like it.
10. Practicable always and everywhere
Since you don’t need to have anything specific with you, you can always have a spontaneous yoga session. Sitting in your hotel room after a long flight and feeling stiff? Do a round of stretching asanas. You’re in a beautiful spot in nature whose peaceful atmosphere you want to take advantage of? Settle down for a meditation. Sitting in the office and nervous before an important meeting? Do some calming breathing exercises. Yoga is always there, wherever you are!
Convinced? Maybe you’ve been a yogi:ni for a while and have more points why newbies should start right now? Then keep them coming!