Namaste, it’s World Yoga Day!
Today, June 21st, marks World Yoga Day. The purpose of World Yoga Day is to raise awareness of the physical and mental benefits associated with practicing yoga. It’s the perfect day to try out yoga for the first time or to try out a new class if you are already a Yogi.
Check out our guide where we chat all things yoga!
What is Yoga?
Yoga means Union in Sanskrit.
Yoga originated in India where it is still widely practiced. India is essentially the home of yoga.
Yoga is an activity that is physical, mental and spiritual. It uses breathing techniques, physical poses and meditation to work your body both physically and mentally. Yoga is known to improve your health and wellbeing. It can greatly reduce anxiety, stress, and pain (back, neck, shoulder etc.). During yoga you move from one pose (asana) into another in a flowing and relaxing sequence.
Who can practice Yoga?
Anyone can practice yoga. You do not need to be a certain age or body shape. Whether you are 5 or 95 you can practice yoga. If you are overweight you can still practice yoga. Yoga is open to everyone, you don’t have to be thin, athletic, flexible or young to practice it. Don’t be afraid to give it a try! Also yoga class is a great place to make new friends.
Which type of Yoga should I practice?
There are so many different types of yoga, you’re sure to be able to find one that suits you and your needs. There are yoga classes to cater for everyone from the complete beginner all the way up to advanced. You can choose a relaxing and slow moving class or choose one that is more of a cardio workout. Some of the yoga disciplines are; Yin, Restorative, Nidra, Hatha, Ashtanga, Bikram, Vinyasa and Kundalini. Checkout YogaHub, where they explain all the different types of yoga.
Where can I learn how to practice Yoga?
The good news is that there are yoga classes available in almost every town and village in Ireland. The popularity of yoga has grown in recent years, so much so, that it is fully accessible to everyone now and not just limited to the major cities. Do a quick Google search and it will be sure to tell you where your nearest yoga studio is.
You can also practice yoga in the comfort of your own home. There are lots of video’s on YouTube that guide you through the practice from start to finish.
Here are some of our favourite channels. If you click on the image it will take you to that channel. We’ve saved you the hassle of having to search yourself. Why not check them out when you’ve finished reading this blog!
What are the benefits of Yoga?
There are many benefits to practicing yoga but we’ve highlighted 10 of them here for you.
1. Fantastic Flexibility
One of the main benefits of yoga is increased flexibility. When you start practicing yoga you may not be able to touch your toes and you may find some of the poses hard to do, but as the weeks progress you will begin to notice a big difference. With frequent practice your flexibility will increase and practicing your yoga poses will become easier and more fluid.
2. Perfect Posture
As your flexibility increases and you begin to stretch your muscles, you will notice that your posture starts to change. This is a positive change as your body learns how to hold itself properly. Your back will straighten and your shoulder will relax into a natural position. You will even notice your gait will change. Yoga transforms your posture for the better!
3. Strong Spine
To provide nutrients to your spinal discs they need movement. On a day-to-day basis we don’t get enough movement into them and so back pain can become a frequent nuisance. By doing your yoga poses and incorporating back-bends, twists and forward-folds your spine will be better protected and become stronger.
4. Lowers Blood Pressure
Yoga can greatly help people who suffer with high blood pressure. The deep relaxation and breathing techniques used in yoga can lower your blood pressure and help you to manage it more effectively. A study found that there is a link between yoga and lowered blood pressure levels.
5. Breathe Easy
Yoga focuses a lot on the breath. It teaches you how to breathe properly. This may sound crazy but by practicing the yoga breathing techniques you can improve your lungs overall health. Yoga can be beneficial to people who suffer with respiratory issues as it boosts your lung function.
Yoga is all about focusing on the present moment. The focus on relaxation and the breath helps to lower stress, blood pressure and heart rate. Yoga allows the body and mind to slow down and rest. Overall, regular yoga practice can dramatically change your health for the better.
7. Balancing Act
Living with pain and discomfort can cause us to have bad postures and this can knock off our natural balancing ability. Practicing yoga can improve your posture and ease pain and discomfort. This helps to boost your balance and coordination. If you suffer with bad balance and coordination, yoga will help you to regain this again.
8. Restful Sleep
Yoga focuses on relaxing the body and mind. It relieves tension and stress from the body, making you more relaxed and zen-like. Yoga makes you focus in-wards by concentrating on your breath and becoming still. This in turn can make you less stressed and more relaxed which will then help you to have a better and deeper nights sleep. By getting a restful nights sleep you will have better moods and concentration levels.
9. Good Digestion
IBS and other digestive disorders can be caused by or agitated by stress. If you can lessen your stress then your digestive system will function better. Yoga can help you to relax and de-stress which eases your IBS symptoms. The gentle twists in yoga and the knees-bent pose are believed by yogi’s to aid the digestive system and keep it functioning properly.
10. Pain Relief
Yoga is known to be beneficial in the treatment of back pain, arthritis and fibromyalgia. Many people can vouch for how practicing yoga has eased their pain and improved their quality of life. If you are suffering with any of the above make sure to attend a yoga class and inform your teacher about your ailments. They will advise you on what poses to do and will look after you during the class.
What do I need to get started?
If you are planning on attending a yoga class in your local studio you probably don’t need to bring anything with you. It is advisable that you wear comfortable clothing that you can move freely in. Don’t wear anything constricting. Comfort is the key with yoga.
If you want to practice yoga at home you should invest in a proper yoga mat that has good grip and is comfortable to lie down on. Also you could buy yourself a blanket, pillow, bolster, yoga blocks and a yoga belt. You only need to buy these things if you are practicing yoga regularly.
It really is up to you what you do or do not want to buy. Yoga is a relatively inexpensive hobby.
Here’s a short yoga sequence you can try yourself!
We found this illustrated yoga pose chart on Pinterest and we just love it. You can try it out too to celebrate World Yoga Day!
Enjoy World Yoga Day