Discover just how beneficial yoga can be for your health. You probably already know that yoga can give you a good workout in only a few minutes a day. However, to make the most of your practice, there are a few important considerations you should keep in mind so you do not get frustrated and give up.
Yoga means union, not frustration.
The goal of yoga is to bring together body and mind, not make you feel like you have no idea what you are doing and that you will never be any good at it, so why bother. Accept that you are a beginner with a lot to learn, but that it is the journey rather than reaching the destination that counts.
Set goals for your practice.
“I want to get more fit,” is a typical statement most people will say at least once in their lives, especially if they are trying to set a New Year’s resolution. The trouble is that the goal is not specific enough. What does more mean, or fit? Define what they mean to you and note down your thoughts in your workout journal. Once you have set personal goals, you can start to measure them.
For example, your goal for the month might be to become more flexible in a certain area, lose X number of pounds, or be able to do Y number of a particular pose. Once you put a number to it, you can track your progress easily. The more success you have in achieving your goals, the greater your confidence.
Switch off your inner critic.
Go from, “No I can’t,” to “I’ve got this,” or “Wow, I did it!”
Remember that yoga is more than just a lot of poses.
Yoga may seem like an endless number of asanas, but a good practice should be balanced in terms of breath work and meditation as well. If you’ve been popping out the poses in your flow yoga, try a different style such as Kundalini, take more time with your breath, or do Yoga Nidra meditation to check in on your body and mind.
Choose the right studio.
Chances are there will be several near you. Take an introductory class, meet the students and teachers, and decide if they are the kind of people you would like to spend time with and who can help you achieve your goals.
Use these tips to make sure you get the most from your yoga practice and see what a difference it can make to your health and fitness.
Practicing yoga is one of the best ways to improve not just your body, but your mind. It can improve concentration and focus, so you can become more productive at home, work, school and so on. For those worried about their memory, or who wis to work smarter, not harder, it might be time to hit the yoga mat and meditation cushion.
Yoga is not just about physical poses. It also involves breath work and meditation. Having said that, it does require a good deal of attention to execute some of the poses correctly without falling over, such as Eagle, Garland, and Tree. This will increase your balance and flexibility in both body and mind.
In terms of concentration, a range of studies have all come to the conclusion that yoga can improve brain function, concentration, and focus. One study showed that after a yoga session, compared with aerobics or no exercise at all, the participants were able to process information quickly, more accurately, learn better, and retain the information they had acquired.
Yoga helps concentration and focus because it allows thoughts and feeling to rise and fall like the waves of an ocean without follow them. Yoga also reduces ‘mind chatter’ that can distract you from getting your work done. Since it encourages every student to begin where they are in terms of their level of health and fitness, many yoga students also get to turn off their ‘inner critic’ and just do the best they can without trying to achieve any outcome.
Most yoga studios are quiet havens of concentration and contemplation. Your yoga class might be the only time of day you get away from your cell phone, email and iPod. This peacefulness can give your mind space to expand rather than be bombarded continually by external stimuli.
Yoga is also a great stress reliever. We tend to a lot better at work if we are not under continual pressure that brings our stress levels to boiling point.
Yoga helps heal our body. As the old saying goes, a healthy body, a healthy mind.
If you’re worried about your memory or how hard it seems to focus on even the simplest tasks, try yoga and see what a difference it can make to your concentration.
Yoga can relieve stress in a number of ways. If you’re feeling like you’re running as fast as you can just to stand still, it’s time to tune out with the help of yoga in order to relieve your stress and get your life back in balance.
Here are a few of the ways yoga offers relief from stress:
Putting yourself first for a change.
We all have a range of demands upon our time each day, but how much time do we put aside to care for ourselves? Make an appointment on your calendar for yoga each day and treat it as seriously as a doctor’s appointment, and see what a difference it can make to your stress levels.
Peace and quiet.
Yoga studios are usually quiet place that allow you to tune out of all the media that surround you, including your cellphone, email and so on. This can help you feel a lot less frazzled.
Mindfulness and concentration
Once you have tuned out all the media surrounding you, it will be time to look within. You can improve your mindfulness by not trying to multi-task all the time. You will just be concentrating on one thing, a pose, breath work, or meditation. Better concentration means stress will not have as strong an impact upon you. The unexpected or a busy day at work will be a lot less likely to knock you off your stride.
When we are stressed, we tend to hold our breath and/or breathe shallowly. Yoga breath work, known as pranayama can help you breathes better in order to clean toxins out of your body and refresh and renew body and mind. Pranayama means to move energy, so if you are feeling like a flat battery or a pressure cooker about to explode, stop letting stress get the better of you by paying attention to your breath.
Meditation improves your mental focus and is a mini-vacation from your stress because you are looking within and starting to control the ‘mind chatter’ that most of us live with but which can be exhausting.
If you’ve been feeling so stressed lately it is hard to think straight, try yoga poses, breath work and meditation and see what a difference it can make to your body, mind and spirit.