Yoga is nothing new; archeology dates it back to at least the 5th century. But it’s exploded in the last decade. Nowadays, it’s common practice to grab your light weight basic t shirt or your comfy hoodies and sweatshirts and head out the door, mat in hand. This practice has grown so popular that it’s changed the face of women’s casual wear: yoga pants are a staple of the female wardrobe, even when a global pandemic isn’t afoot.
Yep, the planet is down with downward dog.
But what is it about yoga that’s so appealing? It gives you exercise and tones your muscles, sure. Yet its perks are not limited to the physical; yoga is about mind and spirt too.
In fact, yoga can improve your life as a whole in several ways. Here are five of them:
It tells you to breathe: Yoga isn’t just about posing, it’s about breath too. Measured and deep breathing do all sorts of wonderful things for the body, including decreasing stress and anxiety, relieving pain, lowering blood pressure, improving digestion, enhancing immunity, and stimulating the lymphatic system. It helps improve energy too – take a deep breath and then a sip of coffee.
It helps with chronic conditions: Yoga works for both physically chronic conditions (like back pain) and mentally chronic ones (like depression). This isn’t to say it serves as the sole solution, but it’s a worthy supplement to other treatments. Because yoga pays attention to body, mind, and spirit, it enhances complete health and wellbeing. Each aspect is connected, after all.
It boosts mood: Yoga releases endorphins, “happy” chemicals that boost the mood. Other exercise does this too, but what sounds better? Running five miles or taking a yoga class with your BFF? You be the judge.
It puts things on pause: In a go-go-go world, it’s hard to stop and smell the roses. Yoga forces you to do just that, all but waving the flower directly in front of your nostril. This break allows you to relax, reset, and rejuvenate (which is something everyone needs whether they know it or not).
It improves your social life: As previously mentioned, yoga is a great activity to do with your friends. Yet it goes one step further and provides a way to make new ones. A strong social circle isn’t only important because it prevents you from staying at home, watching Tiger King for the twenty-second time (and wondering, for the twenty-second time, what the heck is happening). Studies find that having friends is particularly effective as we grow older: social connections are one of the keys to longer lives.
Among the best aspects of yoga is that anyone can do it – anytime and anywhere. While a mat makes it more comfortable, it’s by no means required. Come in sweats or a leopard print long sleeve top. Yoga welcomes you, just as you are.