21 Jun International Yoga Day – Benefits of Doing Yoga
Facts About Yoga
21st June is Yoga International Day. To honour that, I’m going to tell you a bit about the benefits of yoga. To start with, I’ll tell you about yoga origins. In conclusion, I will give you some few relaxing poses you can try at your own leisure time.
Yoga originated in India as a group of physical, mental and spiritual practices. However, today yoga has spread worldwide as it is praised mainly for it’s physical and mental advantages, as I shall elaborate below. Equally important, I’m going to tell you how I came to be a yogi myself. I first fell in love with yoga in 2008. It happened in a 12-hour plane to Zimbabwe, and I remember I was having excruciating abdominal pain from the huge fibroids in my tummy. As if that was not enough suffering, I felt some neck pains from hours and hours spent on the laptop since I was trying to cover some work before going on holiday.
Introduction To Yoga
Trying to sit down on the plane just sold me out as no sitting position worked to an extent the woman who was sitting next to me asked if I was ok. I told her I wasn’t feeling alright and the reason why I wasn’t feeling ok. Was guttered more because instead of faking a bit of empathy for me she beamed at me with a huge smile and told me that I was going to be fine. In my head I thought, how dare she say I’m going to be ok when I forgot my painkillers in the big suitcase that was already packed away…?
Forcing myself to be polite as usual I just closed my eyes and looked the other side hoping the woman would get the idea to leave me alone and also as a sign that I wasn’t interested in any single word from her again. To my utter surprise after five minutes this relentless woman tapped on my shoulder and said: “…do you mind trying something, maybe it will help ease the pain?…”. From the way she was persistently annoying me and not leaving me alone, I immediately dismissed her and said I didn’t want any tablets to which she was already shaking her head before I even finished my statement and to make matters worse, with a huge smile on her face.
I think the problem with me is that I can be extremely polite sometimes. I sat up from the scrounged positing I was sitting. Looked at her and she explained how she has been going yoga since she was three and now running her own yoga club, blah blah blah blah blah. Finally, after more than a 10-minute she asked me to sit up straight. She explained that because of where we were this was going to be a bit difficult but still she instructed me to do a twist, using the chair armrest to support me.
The woman asked me to hold on to the twist for two minutes, release and swap sides, left and right for about 10 minutes. I was in so much pain I just didn’t care what I was asked to do I just did it. To my honest surprise, when she told me to stop, not only was the abdominal pain gone but so was the stiff neck pain. I just couldn’t believe it. That was the instant moment I fell in love with yoga.
Both men and women, young or old, can benefit from practising yoga.
- Improves Flexibility – Yoga is a technic based on gradual stretching of muscles and other soft tissues in the body. From beginner’s level, there’s an immediate feel of the positive effects yoga has.
- Strength Improves – Depending on level practised, some styles of yoga are more vigorous than others and all levels and styles improve strength. As a result, this becomes an essential requirement in everyday life and also good when people age.
- Improves Posture – It is known that increased flexibility and strength helps improve posture too. Better core strength gained when practising yoga helps individuals to recognize it when one is slouching or having a bad posture and therefore easily corrects it.
- Improves Breathing and Lung Capacity – most yoga technics emphasize long and deep breathing. This helps expand lung capacity and improves endurance too.
- Mood improves and subjective well-being increases too.
- Yogis are more self-aware and this can increases self-acceptance
- Regular yoga practice has been associated with a decrease in anxiety and depression occurrences and hostility decreases too
- Attention increases as cognition functions improve
MY FAVOURITE POSES
1. The Extended Triangle Pose
I adore the triangle pose mainly because it stretches and strengthens the thighs, knees, and ankles. The technic has hips of benefits. Triangle pose stretches the hips, groin, hamstrings, and calves including the chest, shoulders and spine. Abdominal organs are stimulated and this improves digestion. This pose is a good stress reliever and helps relieve the menopause symptoms.
The Triangle Pose also relieves the back, especially through the second trimester of pregnancy. This’s known therapy for anxiety, flat feet, infertility, neck pains and osteoporosis. Individuals need to take caution if one suffers from low blood pressure or have a heart condition.
2. The Wheel Pose
Although a bit challenging than other yoga postures, the wheel pose is essential for the strength and suppleness it restores the spine. The pose strengthens the arms, shoulders and upper back as well as stimulates the cardiovascular system. The wheel pose has an overall tonic effect for the entire body.
3. The Plow-Pose
As essential as it might be, the Plow Pose is challenging for me as I’m petite and my legs don’t go as far as I would love them to stretch. Although the pose is a bit difficult, the Plow Pose has several benefits. All muscles and ligaments in calves and thighs are stretched. Legs get the great flexibility that is normally good pose for people who suffer from leg cramps.
As the abdominal area is contracted, the blood compressed out of this area releases toxins. And when the contraction is released, the area is flooded with richly oxygenated blood. Contractions also help relieve gas and stimulate a sluggish digestive system. The upper and lower back pain or the discomfort is relieved due to the forward stretching of the spine. I normally do this pose in the morning to relieve the pains and stiffness from sleeping.
4. The Camel Pose
I love stretching poses since I spend most of the time sitting on my laptop and desk. Although I hardly do manual or physical-tasking work and yoga always work as a rescue as it relieves the stiffness from too much sitting down. I love the Camel Pose because it’s a powerful posture for stretching the spine, back muscles shoulders and arms, all in one pose. With no doubt, I always repeat this posture three times in any yoga session that I do.
5. The Half Spinal Twist
Last but not least, it’s The Twist pose. There are many different types of twists and obviously, I love this posture because it was the first yoga practice I did and it got rid of abdominal and neck pains I was suffering. The Twist helps cultivate flexibility and strength in the spine. It soothes stiff necks and upper back tension caused by stress, poor posture or prolonged periods of sitting in one position. The alternating twists and release of the abdominal area flush this area with blood and massages the internal organs. The stomach and the hip muscles are also toned from repeated practice.
I do hope you have learnt something new from this article. Share your favourite yoga poses below. Remember with each and every technic you try in yoga, don’t push yourself to extremes. Only do to the best level possible. Don’t forget to subscribe to my newsletter so that you won’t miss any of the latest news I have in store for you.