I always wanted to try yoga but was nervous about making a fool. I tried it for the first time about three years ago, and I did just that. I had no idea what I was doing, and I could barely keep up and hit people with my flailing arms multiple times.
When the class was over, I was dripping with sweat and could not wait to return. It made me feel excellent in so many ways. Of course, I didn’t turn into a full-blown yogi, but I continued to practice twice a week, which changed me mentally and physically. Then, life happened, and I fell off the bandwagon.
I’ve gone back here and there, but not consistently. I took my first class in a while this past Saturday and remembered the reasons I love practicing and all the benefits of yoga. This is what yoga does for you and your body.
It’s An Excellent Workout
I know this is an obvious one. Before I started, I couldn’t imagine how intense holding poses and stretching poses could be. Of course, it depends on your class type, but most flow classes leave me sweaty and sore the next day. I feel like I work muscles that I didn’t even know existed.
After losing a lot of weight, yoga helped me tone up big time. The flexibility you gain is ridiculous and can come in handy in the bedroom. A study by The Journal of Sexual Medicine measured desire, arousal, and orgasm before and after a yoga program, and 75% experienced improvements.
It Shuts Your Noisy Brain Off
Yoga is the only thing other than a big glass of wine that stops my mind from frantically wandering. I am not a sit quiet and meditate kind of person. I’ve tried, but within a minute, my mind is thinking 500 things at once. However, during yoga, I am too busy concentrating on breathing, listening to the instructor, and holding my position that I don’t even think about thinking. As a result, I always leave feeling mentally refreshed with a cleared head.
Although it’s not a religion, a spiritual and mind-body connection comes with practicing yoga. It helps bring the sense to the present moment and balances the body so that you can live a happier life at that moment. It also gives you the strength to get through difficult situations. I am not a religious person. However, yoga does wonders for my mental health and spirit.
You Get To Know Your Body
When I’m on the mat, it’s just me and my body. I learn what my body can do, and I challenge myself. It motivates me to push a little further. You hold that side plank for a few seconds, and your arm starts trembling. All you want to do is let go but breathe through it until the final count. It makes you feel so great.
This Is For The Guys
I know many men think yoga is for chicks, but more and more guys are practicing these days. If you go to classes with male instructors, there tend to be more male students. Give it a shot. It improves your balance and strength, reduces toxins in your muscles, and reduces stress. Think about it; even if you hate it, you spent an hour in a room full of girls in yoga pants bending over. It can’t be so bad.
If you want to start practicing, here are some of my favorite accessories:
Jade Yoga Mats- Hands down the best yoga mat ever created. If you’re a sweater like me, this mat will keep you from sliding and give you excellent cushioning on your hands.
D-Ring Buckle Cotton Yoga Strap– You might need to have one of these when you first start to help you reach and hold positions without having incredible flexibility. They are suitable for all levels.
Yoga Rat Sweat Towel– You’re going to sweat, so you might as well be prepared. I always carry a hand-size yoga towel with me. They also sell full-size mat towels, which are great for a hot yoga class.
Aurorae Organic Yoga Mat Wash– Your mat will be on the floor, so naturally, it will need to be cleaned every once and a while. It will prolong the life of your carpet by restoring, refreshing, and disinfecting it.
Here is a list of other awesome yogi gear for the studio and the home.
Yoga is my mini-hour escape from my surroundings to just be with me and my body. No matter how big the class is or how many people they squish in a tiny room when I’m practicing, it’s just me on my mat. I’m hoping in the next few months of practicing again, yoga can help me be more optimistic, confident, and assertive mentally/physically. Oh yeah, I also want to work on my headstand!