Are you getting tired of your workout routine? Are you feeling more stressed than usual? Trust me, I've been there. When I was seventeenI hurt my elbow in a baton twirling incident. And now whenever I do bodyweight exercises like push ups, and planks, and even mountain climbers, I would get this stinging pain in my elbow. So I decided to switch to weight lifting. Which did amazing things for my body, I'm not even going to lie to you. But I had somethings happen in life and I no longer could afford a gym membership, I had a lot going on and I was super stressed. I started losing all of my motivation to get out of bed. Someone told me to try out Yoga. So one day when I was feeling more motivated than most days, I forced myself out of bed, went on Youtube, and followed along with a "stress relieving yoga routine." It was super basic, definitely would recommend for beginners, I can include a link to the video at the end of this post. :) Anyway, I followed along with the video, and I found myself wanting to do another one, because I felt so relaxed, but motivated afterwards. It was amazing. And it's helped me tremendously in giving my elbow some conditioning. I very rarely feel that stinging pain when I workout now.
So, let's talk about a couple of the mental benefits yoga has. For one it sharpens concentration and centers your attention. This has helped me a lot, I have a bit of anxiety, and when I get a little more anxious than usual I find myself craving to do a yoga routine. During a good yoga session, I feel completely in control of my mind and body. What makes yoga so great is that it is heavily focused on breath-controlled, this creates a certain mental clarity. With this comes a wave of calmness. In life we come across a slew of things that are out of our control, yoga brings that control back to us and allows us to put it into something so amazing for the body, mind, and soul. You will feel your stress levels diminish, in such a way it's almost addictive. And once you find that feeling you create a more positive outlook on life.
Now for the physical benefits. I told you one of my favorite benefits, the conditioning it did for my elbow pain. It also improves athletic performance. There are quite a few athletes that have incorporated yoga into their daily workouts. It helps with maintaining a balanced metabolism as well as weight reduction. The yoga routines that are based on strengthening help tone your muscles like nothing you have ever seen before. Another thing I really like is that it has been the biggest contribution to my increased flexibility. When I was younger I used to be super flexible and I've spent most of my adult years trying to get back to where I used to be. Yoga has helped tremendously! But yoga does not need to just be a slow, meditative workout, some yoga routines you can even use to substitute your cardio exercises. It even helps with your posture. I don't know about you, but I have a serious slouching problem, and let me tell you, yoga is slowly but surely fixing that issue, too.
Yes, yoga has slower results, but the number of benefits is just out of this world. From mental balance to physical balance, it's just amazing. I fully recommend yoga to anyone. All you have to do is look up some routines on Youtube or even Pinterest and you are set. Best yoga tip I can give you would be when they tell you to inhale and exhale LISTEN TO THEM, you will feel so much better afterwards. When I started yoga I set a goal to do it at least two times a week. I did that for three weeks. Then I moved up to four times a week, also did that for three weeks. Now I am doing yoga every day. Even if I have a super jam-packed day ahead of me, I try to squeeze at least five minutes of yoga in, and let me tell you, I DEPEND on that five minutes. It's the number one thing I look forward to. For those five minutes everything going wrong in my day just disappears and I am back in-touch with myself.
Sometimes we need a break from the fast pace, push yourself harder workouts, and need to come back to being one with ourselves. Give yourself a break, try some yoga. As you see, it's not just about taking it slower. It has sooooo many benefits to the body and mind. I will always encourage people to give yoga a try. It's long-term benefits are just too good to miss out on.
As promised the link to the first yoga video I ever watched that changed my perspective: