“Yoga is a light, which once lit will never dim. The better your practice, the brighter your flame.” ― B.K.S Iyengar
Yoga is the best workout according to me. It works on all levels and gives you a perfect complete workout. It works on the body of course. But at the same time it calms the mind and works on the spiritual level touching your soul. Thereby working on body, mind and soul at the same time.
I started yoga when I was around 15 years old. I used to watch my mom and follow her yoga routine every morning and I was inspired. I learnt a lot from her and also through some books. Suryanamaskar and some basic asanas comprised my workout then.
Over the last 25 years I learnt a lot – from books, you tube channels and also from the yoga classes that I attended every now and then.
”Yoga is the fountain of youth. You’re only as young as your spine is flexible.” ― Bob Harper
Now yoga is a regular part of my workout. This is something which I do even on a non workout day as it not only is a way to burn calories but also a relaxation for me. A relaxation routine of yoga almost feels like you just visited a luxurious spa.
So if I do a HIIT or cardio workout I follow it with a yoga routine to stretch and rewind my body and on days when I am too tired, I just do a yoga routine or maybe just a few rounds of suryanamaskars.
Even during my pregnancy yoga was an awesome way to relax the sore muscles. But pregnant women must strictly do yoga under guidance. Not all asanas are safe to be performed in pregnancy. But if you can find a good instructor to follow, yoga is very helpful to fight pregnancy aches and pains and also to keep you active in general.
After my daughter was born, apart from rebooting my body, yoga helped me reduce anxiety and keep myself calm, especially during the toddler years…. which seem endless. As a mother I would advice every mom to follow yoga and meditation as it helps you on so many levels. It quietens your mind, makes you less anxious, calm, more mindful and peaceful.
Today yoga to me is my morning cup of tea. My body and mind actually wake up after a session of yoga. Even on the most busy mornings I do a few rounds of suryanamskar followed by a few minutes of savasana. The few minutes of savasana are actually as good as a whole nights sleep. It rejuvenates you and wakes up every cell in your body.
Yoga is something my body craves. I cannot imagine a day without yoga. No matter where I am, I always take out time first thing in the morning to stretch my body.
I like to follow up my yoga with meditation. meditation in fact is a part of yoga. Yoga asanas themselves are meditative because of the emphasis on breath. Many people love to close their eyes and practice yoga. If you are wanting to start meditating but dont know how, read my post here about meditation for beginners.
Last year I started using this wonderful app called Down Dog and ever since I have been in love with it. It is my go to for a good yoga session. It makes my yoga session interesting by providing variety. Also it has different levels to suit different fitness levels and needs so I choose what my body needs that day. Do read my detailed review here.
Benefits of Yoga
The body benefits from movement, and the mind benefits from stillness”
Now coming to the benefits of Yoga. I am no expert in yoga. The benefits I talk about here are mostly based on my personal experience over the years. These are the benefits that I have experienced while practicing. Most of them are backed by research. I haven’t made the efforts as of now to read the relevant research as nothing is above your personal experience. And my faith in yoga comes from mine and also my mom’s practice. Though all through I have been talking about them but just for convenience listing them down here:
- Why I find yoga as the best workout? Yoga I feel can be adapted to meet the purpose for which we are doing it. You can go slow if you are seeking relaxation, while if you are looking at a rigorous practice you can do some ashtanga or Bikram yoga. Yoga can give you a cardio workout and body-weight strength training both at the same time.
- It reduces anxiety. This is especially important in this period of epidemic. We need to do something and everything to keep our anxiety down. Even otherwise life is full of stress. Every workout helps reduce stress, but the calming effect of a yoga routine is really good. Even in my parenting journey it has been extremely helpful for me by reducing my stress and anxiety. Yoga early in the day gave me the calm and strength to handle my naughty toddler.
- There is no prior level of fitness needed to practice yoga. Anyone and everyone can start a yoga practice. Yoga is very flexible and you can adapt a practice as per your needs and flexibility and fitness levels. Many a times we are overwhelmed by looking at people with expertise. We may feel that we lack a similar flexibility in the body. But have patience flexibility comes with time and practice.
- Patience is another thing that comes from yoga practice. The slow flow of moments, holding each pose for maximum benefits, the breath flow with each asana, all help to develop patience. Yoga definitely taught me to be patient. though its a journey yet for me. There is so much more to learn.
- Many a days lately I wake up with stiffness in muscles. Yoga is the perfect cure. It relieves the stiffness in my muscles and at the same time relaxes me mentally. Yoga rejuvenates me more than my sleep does many a times.
- Yoga also helps in weight loss by inculcating mindfulness. Apart for the workout that a yoga routine gives you, yoga also makes you more mindful by reducing stress and anxiety. When you are mindful in eating you are better connected to your body and you eat in moderation. This of course is in addition to the awesome workout that a yoga routine gives you.
- Yoga makes you flexible. This isn’t something that will happen in a few days of practice but after regular practice for a few months. Many people start with a bend where they can hardly reach their knees and then in a few months there is so much increase in flexibility that would surprise you too.
- Yoga gives you a better posture. The posture that one carries during a yoga workout is carried over to the time when you are not working out as well. So you would sit and walk taller and keep your back erect once you have been practicing yoga for a while.
These benefits are what I experienced. You may experience much more. If you have been meaning to start a yoga practice and have been confused, go on take the leap. Here is another beautiful post on benefits of yoga shared by another mommy.
There are so many apps, videos and online classes. Down dog also has a beginner level app which is free of cost. Perhaps you can start with that. Otherwise you can follow the yoga channels on YouTube. I shall definitely discuss my favorite yoga channels and videos in another post soon.
For now all I wanted to share is why I consider yoga the best form of workout. I hope I did succeed in convincing you 🙂
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