“Practice and all is coming.” –Sri K. Patthabi Jois
When Jodi asked me to write an article about the benefits of yoga, I thought…”sure, that’s easy, no problem!” But as I started to consider what I wanted to say, I found myself flooded with reasons why someone should begin a yoga practice—so much so that I could go on for days! From the numerous health benefits associated with the physical practice (asana) and breathing exercises (pranayama), to the mental and spiritual boost you receive from self-study (svadhyaya) and meditation (dhyana), I have found that practicing yoga is the most comprehensive system for overall body, mind and spiritual health. The really glorious thing about the yoga practice is that there are so many styles, traditions, and spaces offering yoga today, that anyone can find the right practice for them.
My own practice started as a way to fine tune my acting chops. While studying at school, I found that the physical practice allowed me to be so present in my body that I could be “in the moment” with any character thus making my performance more believable. Additionally, my yoga practice has helped me to create awareness around my own personal health, giving me the tools I need to manage my ulcerative colitis, a condition I have lived with since the age of 14. Not to mention the numerous life events I have experienced including job changes, divorce, loss of a parent, financial ups and downs, and all various other growing up tidbits. Through it all, my practice has been the constant keeping me grounded and stable as I weather the sometimes turbulent seas of life.
So what are the benefits of yoga? Here are my top five reasons to start a yoga practice today.
Let’s Get Physical
A no-brainer. Whether you take super slow and restorative approach to your practice or you choose to rev it up with a vigorous Vinyasa, just getting the body to move is a good thing. As a society, we are so stuck…in front of our computers and TVs, in our cars commuting to work, in our relationships to each other and to ourselves, and in our minds. Our bodies were not designed to sit around all day. Rather, they were made for moving and shaking! Getting up and out allows your body to rejuvenate itself naturally, helping to relieve tension and release feel good hormones like endorphins, which ultimately leaves you happy and feeling good.