The Covid pandemic has certainly shaken up life as we know it and I strongly believe we all need Yoga now more than ever!! Here are my 5 reasons why now is the perfect time to practice Yoga.
1. Yoga Boosts Mental Health.
All exercise is linked to lowering the symptoms of depression, and Yoga is no exception … A review of studies published in Frontiers in Psychiatry suggested that those with depression, schizophrenia, sleep problems, and other mental health conditions could all benefit from practicing Yoga.
Additionally, there is a growing amount of research that back up Yoga’s mental health benefits including body awareness, relieving stress, sharpening attention & concentration.
Practicing Yoga can move you from the sympathetic nervous system to the parasympathetic(PSNS) nervous system (or from flight-or-flight to rest-and-digest). When you reside more in the PSNS you typically have less anxiety and more easily enter a relaxed state quicker. As soon as you start breathing slower you can move out of the fight-or-flight and calm your nervous system.
2. Yoga Increases Flexibility & Mobility.
This one may be obvious, but it’s worth mentioning because, hey, you may be finding yourself just a little bit tighter or stiffer as you isolate or work more from home.
Yoga focuses on stretching & strengthening our muscles. Poses that are held for several rounds of breath can create a deep connection to the muscle tissue, encouraging it to relax and stretch. In fact, many people notice a big increase in their flexibility after only eight (8) weeks of regular Yoga practice.
The muscle memory created by a regular Yoga practice reminds the body that you’ve been there before and perhaps it is time for you to move deeper into the pose. Yoga allows your body to move through its entire range of motions, stretching muscles and fascia that allow the body to become more flexible and mobile.
3. Yoga Reduces Pain.
Practicing Yoga can help people who suffer with arthritis, fibromyalgia, migraine, low back pain, and many other types of chronic pain conditions. A study carried out in the Annals of Internal Medicine found that among 313 people with chronic low back pain, a weekly Yoga class increased mobility more than standard medical care for the condition. Another study published at nearly the same time found that Yoga was comparable to standard exercise therapy in relieving chronic low back pain.
Chronic pain isn’t something to mess around with but many people quite often say that a large degree of their pain is alleviated &/or removed when they practice Yoga on a regular basis.
4. Gain A More Positive Outlook From Your Yoga Practice.
You know it’s true … The way you think & act greatly affects your mood and how you feel about yourself. So it’s important right now to give yourself the opportunity of finding a “safe space” where you don’t feel judged, overwhelmed and can be in tune with your thoughts.
Yoga is a great place for that. By setting some intentions at the beginning of practice and focusing on the present moment, you become more aware of those negative thought patterns as they arise. By understanding them & replacing them with a new activity, such as controlled breathing & mindful movement, you can reduce the stress that often accompanies negative thoughts … thus drastically improving your overall attitude & outlook to life.
5. Yoga Improves Sleep.
Good sleep is often sought but seldom achieved and practicing Yoga can certainly help!! Yoga is known to relax both the body & the mind allowing the breath to slow & stress levels to drop. That is why Yoga can promote a more restful sleep. According to an American national survey from the NCCIH, over 55% of people who practice yoga report improved sleep, and more than 85% said they were less stressed.
When you are well-rested your mind tends to function more optimally. For many, this is very hard to achieve naturally and without the help of prescriptive medications but many of the medications that help you sleep can also put you at risk of other health issues … so Yoga is a far better option!!