There are many benefits of yoga, some are scientifically proven, some are anecdotal and others should be taken with a pinch of salt. It’s important that as a participant that you feel confident about what is actually achievable and what yoga can’t do, I once had a teacher who claimed that they could cure my EDS (Elhers Danlos Syndrome) a genetic disorder and I can confirm it was the first and last time I went to that class.
Some benefits will take longer to notice than others, whilst there are also others that we cannot see. But we also have to remember that these benefits are not exclusive to yoga alone and can be gained in other physical practices.
As you can see many of the benefits are linked, when you improve your strength flexibility and balance, you will also see an improvement in your posture, which could help to improve certain conditions but will not cure them as if you stop practicing and go back to your previous way of life there is a very high chance that that particular issue will return.
Another thing to be mindful of is that when you do find relief in your yoga practice that you don’t push yourself too much, which is where improved body awareness plays it’s part in keeping us safe from ourselves. And our practice doesn’t have to be hours long 7 days a week for us to begin to feel the benefits in fact they have found that it’s better to do shorter classes more frequently, with at least 1 rest day per week. According to the NHS website yoga counts as a strengthening exercise, and that 2 sessions a week would meet their recommendation for strengthening activities.
Don’t forget that if you do have a medical condition to speak to your teacher before class to make sure that class is suitable for you so you can enjoy your class and the benefits participating can bring.
A good day starts with a good morning, especially if you’re not a morning person. So we need to shift old habits, switch things up and create a routine that you’ll enjoy.
So for your day to start well you need to look at your sleep routine. Keeping a regular time for bed, try to avoid screen time for an hour before bed. Ensure your bedroom is not too warm or cold.
Try to wake up at the same time everyday, and minimise your weekend lie in as it’s not as beneficial as you might think. And make your bed so you’re not tempted to get back in!
Pick an uplifting track to play in the shower, it also helps you to save water too. Even if you’re working from home get dressed as if you’re going to work.
If you’re a breakfast eater, have a breakfast party play list for a quick blast in your kitchen.
It takes a little while for new habits to form, but once you find your best morning routine you’ll definitely know.
I’ve had a number of people say that they are unable to practice at home as they don’t have a dedicated yoga space. Here’s the reality most people don’t have a dedicated space in their home where their mat is consistently out. I don’t have a dedicated space at home, I’m currently teaching from my kitchen! It’s the only space I have where I have enough space to film the whole of me and fit my mat in.
The main thing to consider when practicing at home is to have a space that you can safely practice, so do ensure that you’re not going to knock the TV off the wall so it breaks or worse still breaks whilst landing on you (we’ve all seen the video clips). Your mat should fit fully rolled out, with somewhere to safely place your phone/tablet/laptop where you can see it clearly or can easily adjust between standing and seated poses. If practicing in the garden make sure you have shade if it’s very hot.
Turn your phone to silent as you would if you were in the yoga studio. Give yourself some time both before and after class to set up your space and put it away again. Worried about children or pets putting in an appearance, don’t worry, my cat often turns up for class too, just make sure that you’re not going to squash anyone!
As for kit you really don’t need that much, a non-slip yoga mat will have you ready for class. Other items you might want to consider are a block, belt and a blanket, none are a necessity but can be quite helpful when practicing.