Are there really benefits to practicing yoga? We think so.
Aside from the mental benefits (focus, stress relief, mindfulness -- to name a few), yoga is an excellent workout for your body. Whether in addition to your regular workout and exercise routine or as a stand-alone practice, the physical benefits of yoga are astounding. Better yet, they are often instantaneous. After only one class, we see a huge difference in the way we feel and move throughout the day.
Here's what we've noticed after only a week of taking classes at our local studio:
1. Improved Posture
This is a big one, especially for those of us who sit at a desk most of the day. After only two or three classes of yoga, we noticed we were sitting up straighter and walking with our shoulders back. Our bodies also hurt less than usual after extended times at a desk.
2. More Mindful Breathing
Have you ever paid attention to your breath throughout the day? Have you ever caught yourself (especially in moments of stress) holding your breath unintentionally? Us too. Yoga is helping with this though.
Because yoga instructors spend a lot of time talking about and teaching mindful breathing, we've noticed our breaths have become deeper and longer during everyday moments this week. Even during stressful moments, we've found ourselves closing our eyes and taking a deep breath out of habit. And the benefits are incredible!
3. Improved Flexibility
This one seems obviously right? Yoga is helping with our flexibility. We've been doing quite a few Bikram (or hot yoga) classes and working on difficult poses. In every class though, we notice we can go deeper and deeper into each posture.
This is benefiting us not only in the studio but also at the gym. With improved flexibility, we are finding we can go harder and longer. We're also a lot less sore after a challenging workout.