Yoga is a form of exercise that combines breathing exercises, physical postures, relaxation and meditation. It has taken the health and fitness sector by storm in recent years, with more and more people now using it as a way to support their physical, mental and emotional well-being.
There are several reasons behind yoga’s popularity. Not only is it a highly accessible activity (i.e. all shapes, forms, and sizes are welcomed), you also don’t need expensive equipment or special gear to get started and you can easily do it from the comfort of your own home, which is especially valuable in these times of lockdown. Most importantly, practising yoga can be a great help in reducing the stress that many of us are feeling in these uncertain times and can even help boost your performance.
Still not convinced? Let’s take a closer look at the different ways in which yoga can make your working day more productive and enjoyable.
1. Reducing aches and pains
Whether you live a very active lifestyle or spend a lot of time behind your computer, the daily repetitive motions that you go through can take their toll on your body and manifest in a range of physical ailments such as muscular tension, carpal tunnel, poor joint mobility and lower back pain, to name a few. By synchronizing physical postures with breathing exercises, yoga helps increase strength and flexibility, releasing the blockages causing pain and enabling blood to circulate more freely – therefore giving you a lot more energy.
2. Increasing energy levels
A simple practice of deep breaths coupled with gentle stretches first thing in the morning – or whenever you need a little pick me up – floods the body with fresh oxygen, heightening the senses, helping you to feel more alert and greatly increasing your energy levels.
Conversely, evening yoga sessions are an effective way to allow your body and mind to let go of accumulated stress, release muscular/joint tension and set you up for good night’s sleep, so you’re energised the following day.
3. Lowering stress levels & improving concentration
During a yoga session you focus your attention on nothing but your breathing and your movements. Doing both of these activities in such a conscious way can help lower your heart rate and increase your sense of calm and mental well-being, while also quieting any mental chatter, helping you to become more mindful, alert and focused.
4. Sparking creativity & motivation
You can’t think outside the box when your mind is confined within the box. And stress keeps you in the box. Mindfulness and focus on a yogic practice helps your mind relax and that encourages a free flow of energy and creativity. If you’re feeling better physically, emotionally, and mentally, your motivation levels will be higher too. After all, nothing makes us feel more positive than when we’re feeling focused, energised, and have our creativity flowing freely.
With so many great reasons to try yoga, there really shouldn’t be anything holding you back from giving it a go. There are plenty of apps and YouTube channels that can help you get started, while many yoga studios have also started online classes. Even better, get a friend to start practising with you, so you can motivate each other and, most importantly, have fun!