The reasons I love yoga and how it has changed my experience of fitness.
Over the last year and a half, yoga has become my new favorite form of exercise. I have practiced yoga for about the last 3 years, but the pandemic has given me a whole new appreciation for this unique form of exercise.
Cooped up in our small apartment in lockdown, I couldn’t do my normal forms of exercise, which were mainly taking and teaching dance classes. With limited space and budget, it wasn’t an option to buy a treadmill or other kind of fitness machine. And so, I began practicing yoga much more consistently with my goal being 3 sessions a week: Monday, Wednesday and Friday (each session between 20-40 mins).
Just these 3 flows a week, have really changed my approach to fitness and exercise. Like you may have read in my other post on fitness Does Being In-Shape Make You Well? , I’ve been on a journey for a more balanced relationship with fitness for many years. One that isn’t about shedding pounds or ripped abs, but one about health, balance, and self-care. And yoga, very much embodies all of those things in my experience.
But what are the things that I really enjoy about yoga, what exactly made me (and many others) love it so much?
- It doesn’t take a lot of space or equipment. Unlike a lot of forms of exercise, yoga doesn’t take up a lot of room. It can be done in a small apartment and it does not require a lot of expensive or large equipment.
- It’s beginner friendly. You don’t need well-developed skills or a lot of knowledge to get started with your yoga journey. You can really just start in your living room where you are at any level of fitness. There are so many great resources online, books, or in-person to get you started.
- It’s affordable. Whether you are following a yoga youtuber like me (literally free), or buying a class pass at your local studio, yoga is much more affordable than many other types of sports or fitness hobbies. You can even buy a matt for under 20 dollars to get you started.
- It’s accessible. There are many different forms of yoga for different abilities, bodies, and life-stages. It is easy to adapt or modify to whatever your particular needs are. Yoga can really be for anyone.
- It’s a hybrid form of exercise. Yoga combines cardio, stamina, flexibility, strengthening and balance work as well as targets basically all of the muscle groups for an all over fitness regime. No need to combine a bunch of different machines or workouts, it’s really all in one. A little yoga really does go a long way.
- It’s travel friendly. You can easily bring it with you when you travel, with your phone and your matt you can really do it anywhere. You’ll find a 15 minute flow in the hotel room works wonders when traveling.
- It’s beneficial for your mental health too. Yoga can be very good for your mind and spirit as well as your physical wellness. The calming atmosphere, gentle movement, deep breathing and meditation gives us dedicated time in our busy day to release pent up stress, and balance and work through difficult emotions. It can even help give us coping skills to take with us off the matt to help get through hard times. It helps us to create stronger awareness of our body and mind, and the connection between the two. Through this we learn to tune-in and maybe even regulate our bodies and minds.
This last one is probably the biggest reasons why I fell so much in love with yoga. Especially in this last year, it has become like therapy for me, something I go to for a good workout but also to deal with difficult times. I find this is especially true with home practice, in my own comfortable space, I can let go, unwind and just take time to care for my mind and physical body. No judgement, no performance, no noise, just me and the mat.
There really seems to be a different attitude when it comes to yoga and the yoga community. It isn’t just about getting a flat tummy it’s a mindset you can bring into your everyday life. It is a way of creating a relationship with your body that is about care, love, and respecting your bodies uniqueness including it’s limitations.
If you are interested in trying yoga I recommend checking out your local studio, or doing a quick Youtube search if you are looking for free resources to start.
My favorite yoga guide at the moment is Yoga with Adriene on Youtube. Yes, she is the original online yoga teacher but she really is that wonderful. She has a huge variety of content tailored to all sorts of different needs.
Here are 3 of her videos I enjoy and would be great places to start:
- Sunrise Yoga (15 min) a great quick flow to start your day.
- Cozy Flow (20 min) a gentle relaxing stretch and meditation.
- Yoga Joy (20 min) a full body flow to get your heart rate up.
Have you ever tried yoga?