Blessings, hugs and sunshine greetings dear reader and welcome to today’s post. Thank you for taking the time to pause in your busy day and visit my site. I wish you a healthy, happy and harmonious day.
Today’s post is the first of six “Yoga For Beginners” posts where I’d like to take things back to basics and go over key principles, postures and teachings of yoga.
Over the next few weeks, in addition to inspirational poetry and prayer posts, I’d like to share with you what I know about the health benefits of yoga and look at some of the particular issues faced by complete beginners; for example what things to think about and be aware of when choosing a yoga class, the different styles and teachings of yoga, as well as talk about the 5 Points of Yoga and the 4 Paths of Yoga. The final post in this mini Yoga For Beginners series will cover 12 basic yoga postures you can safely practice at home, which will encourage you to relax your body and soothe and nurture your spirit throughout your day.
If you are a yoga beginner or thinking of taking up yoga then I hope this mini Yoga For Beginners series will help to deepen your understanding of this timeless practice. Whether you are a complete beginner or more experienced yogi, it is always good to remember the roots of your practice. As I write I’m reminded of one of my teachers who constantly reminded us to keep a ‘Beginners Mind’ – to always treat each sitting as a complete beginner. That way, you don’t get caught up in your ego, stay open and remain humble in your approach to life.
To start this mini Yoga For Beginners series, let’s have a look at 4 top benefits or reasons why students start yoga.
4 Top Health Benefits of Yoga
I’m biased, but I do believe yoga is the jewel remedy for all kinds of ails and ailments, a marvellous preventative tool and absolutely must to support you through the ups and downs of life.
How Did I Get Into Yoga?
From a personal perspective I got into yoga many moons ago whilst pregnant with my eldest daughter who is now 21. At that time I worked full time as a Probation Officer in a hectic inner London team. Work was stressful and I did not have time or energy to care for myself and relax in the evenings. During a routine health check with my midwife, she recommended I practice gentle yoga stretches and breathing relaxation exercises to help control my stress levels. You can read more about other ways yoga has helped me in times of crisis and personal loss on my About Ntathu page
Based on discussions with my yoga students, here are 4 of the more popular health and wellness reasons why people start yoga.
1. Yoga For Stress Relief
Based on feedback from other readers and students, many yogis start yoga as a form of stress relief. The pace of life today is so demanding and fast that many people do not know how to relax and switch off, and even if you do, making time to relax and unwind is considered a luxury. The essence of yoga, with its emphasis on deep breathing, stretching and encouraging your muscles to relax activates the parasympathetic branch of the central nervous system, which reduces the stress hormones cortisone and adrenaline, so you are more able to de-stress and release tension in your muscles and anxious thoughts
Yoga For Stress Relief Tip: If this resonates with you, here is a simple seated yoga sequence to relieve stress tiredness and tension at work.
2. Yoga For Back Care
Many people, my dad included, suffer from back pain. Yoga poses are designed to gently increase the elasticity of the spine, and increase the range of movement in supporting muscles. Yoga does not offer an overnight cure, however with time, love and regular practice, yoga poses such as the locust, cobra and seated forward bend help to soothe your aching back.
Yoga For Back Care Tip: If you are looking for more tips in this area and like most people spend vast portions of your day sitting down working on a computer, you’ll find plenty yoga exercises to ease neck pain and tense sore shoulders plus advise on correct posture at work in my kindle eBook 7 Simple Yoga Seated Exercises To Relieve Back And Neck Pain At Work >
3. Yoga For Inner Peace And Calm
If you are going through an emotionally challenging time, such as bereavement, divorce, redundancy or even depression, yoga breathing exercises and meditation, which are key points in yoga, enable you to regain your sense of inner peace and calm.
When we lost my brother, my bereavement counsellor suggested I practice breathing exercises before going to bed to calm my thoughts and ease the emotional turmoil I was going through. It worked. I later found out that when you breathe correctly, you increase circulation and slow down your respiratory rate. This improves the way oxygen and life affirming nutrients are circulated throughout your body and, also increases the production of the “happy making hormone” serotonin which helps to improve sleep, helps you relax and boost your energy.
Yoga For Inner Peace And Calm Tip
If you are going through a particularly distressing time, when you feel ready, here are two gentle yoga breathing exercises you can try at home for inner peace and calm. I like to use them, especially the first breathing exercise and I hope they help you get a good night’s sleep
Yoga For Weight Loss
This is slightly a controversial benefit as one hand I believe in loving and accepting the body you are in. However, I know, many of you wish to lose a few pounds or for medical and health reasons have been advised to lose weight. Bearing this in mind, yoga, as part of your healthier living lifestyle, will over time, gradually help you to feel great, lose weight and cultivate a more nurturing relationship with food.
Yoga For Weight Loss Tip
In yoga, we are encouraged to use food to feed our spirit and nurture, heal and restore the body. Yoga philosophy promotes a vegetarian diet based on natural, unprocessed foods. These foods tend to be more wholesome, filling and organic which are naturally healthier and more filling for you.
Yoga teachings also encourage you to be conscious of how, when and where you eat. Adopting a more mindful approach to eating supports your desire to eat foods which naturally nurture and nourish you from the inside out.
There is a saying in yoga that “you drink your food and chew your drink”, emphasising the approach of taking your time to chew your food thoroughly and to savour each and every morsel. Snacking and eating foods on the go or slouched on the settee watching TV or working on the computer are poor habits which you can overcome when you adopt a more mindful eating style.
I admit I have a long way to go when it comes to eating mindfully.
I go through phrases, especially when I’m in “rush rush busy busy” mode and will grab a snack or bowl of soup and eat it whilst travelling between assignments; or you can often catch me, especially when I’m working from home, eating my lunch whilst working on my computer. Like you, I’m a work in progress and developing a more sustaining and loving relationship with food is something I consciously have to work on. When I do eat well, I feel so much more alive, focused and in the flow. As soon as my eating habits slip, then I know I’m over doing it and not taking proper care of myself.
Last year I took part in a 7-Day Health and Vitality Cleanse, to alkalise and energise my body. It was a great experience which I shared in this post
Yoga for weight loss is a big reason why many women start yoga, so I’ll return to this topic in more detail in later posts. For now, if you are looking for further tips to lose weight, read this post, where I share seven simple yoga stretches you can do to cleanse your body.
Final Thoughts And Encouragement…
Well, we have come to the end of Part 1 in this 6-part mini Yoga For Beginners Series of blog posts. In today’s post we looked at four of the most popular reasons and benefits people start yoga – for stress relief, for better back care, for inner peace and calm and finally yoga for weight loss.
Over the next few months I will explore these areas – Yoga For Stress Relief, Yoga For Better Back Care, Yoga For Inner Peace And Calm and Yoga For Weight Loss -in more detail and offer you further guidance and information how yoga can help improve your health and nurture your spiritual wellbeing.
If you are a yoga beginner or even a more advanced student, I’d love to hear your reasons for starting yoga.
What attracted you to the practice and what difference has yoga made to your life?
Share your thoughts and comments in the Comment Box below. And, if you found this post useful and feel your friends or family could benefit, share the post by clicking on your favourite social media icon below.
Till next time, have a peaceful and restful life
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