Don’t turn off the screen just yet. Yoga doesn’t have to be:
- Difficult to practice. Simple postures can be done anywhere, anywhere.
- Intimidating. If you don’t already practice yoga, don’t be scared. You gotta start somewhere. Most folks can’t twist into a pretzel and stand on one finger.
- Practiced on a mountaintop in white robes. It’s not weird. I ran from the idea of yoga just a few years back, and now can’t live without it! Plus, it is one of the oldest defined practice of self development.
Yoga may be more familiar than you think. Many popular techniques found to reduce stress derive from yoga:
- Controlled breathing. This stuff works.
- Meditation. Be grateful for your life and the big and small things in it.
- Physical movement (exercise)
- Mental imagery. See it, think it, be it.
- Stretching. It’s crazy what a difference a few stretching poses can make.
Yoga can provide the combined benefits of these activities in one technique. It brings together the mind, body and spirit. Whether you use yoga for spiritual transformation or for stress management and physical well-being, the benefits are numerous and undeniable. Those with physical limitations can and actually SHOULD practice yoga, just make sure you have a good instructor.
There are several different styles of yoga, some moving through the poses more quickly and other styles relaxing deeply into each pose. Some have a more spiritual angle, while others are used purely as a form of exercise. Certain poses can be done just about anywhere and a yoga program can go for hours or minutes, depending on your schedule.
This is what yoga can do for you:
- Reduce stress, anxiety and muscle tension
- Increase strength and flexibility
- Reduce cortisol levels–which make you hold on to fat, among a million other things.
- Lower blood pressure and heart rate
- Spiritual growth. It can happen, regardless of your religion.
- Sense of well being. Well, sign me up!
Yoga’s benefits are HUGE—it gives a crazy high payoff for the small amount of effort you have to exert.
There are so many studios that offer beginning yoga, often with incredible guidance from the instructor. You really want to have that extra attention at the beginning to learn proper form and be more engaged. Places like Sunstone offer classes that are heated, slower, and more methodical. Start with Spark and work up to Fire Class. Water class (a true spiritual experience, in my opinion) is my personal favorite. Exhale & We Yogis have lots of different varieties of classes. We Yogis even has classes for kids and teens. Dallas Yoga Center has classes for beginners and even some that focus on meditation. Try a few online videos and images (simple beginner poses), though the energy of a live class is so much more therapeutic.
Select a place that you feel comfortable with and try it out. Give it several tries with different types of yoga until you find what is right for you. Private yoga sessions including guided meditation are an incredibly rewarding option!
Bottom line: Make the connection between knowing your stress levels and changing your behaviors. Managing stress in a positive way will make a life-changing impact your body and your life.
Do you have a favorite yoga studio? Share it with us!!
Peace. Happy. Yoga.