So yoga may just seem like something that is on trend and an 'Instagrammable' activity however yoga is an ancient work out for the mind, body and the soul.
Yoga began as an ancient practice that originated in India around 3000 B.C. Yoga was developed as a way to achieve harmony between the heart and the soul on the path to divine enlightenment.
In the 1920's and 30's Hatha yoga was strongly promoted in India with the work of T. Krishnamacharya, Swami Sivananda and other yogis practicing Hatha yoga and the first Hatha Yoga School was opened by Krishnamacharya in Mysore in 1924 and in 1936 Sivananda founded the Divine Life Society on the banks of the holy Ganges River.
Health benefits from as little as 15 minutes of yoga per day include:
1. Improve flexibility, strength and posture - Daily yoga will help to strengthen and tone your body muscles. Common poses like the plank will simultaneously work on strengthening your arms, legs, shoulders and abs. You wont need to be super flexible to practiceyYoga, the beauty of yoga is that it is for all ages, abilities and body types.
A few minutes per day practicing poses like Warrior or Downward Facing Dog, will quickly make you feel the difference in your flexibility whether you are bendy already or not.
Tip: Daily Yoga helps improve posture, making you walk taller and sit up straighter at your desk. Aches and pains caused by incorrect posture such as back pain can also be relieved.
2. Better all-round fitness - When we think about improving out fitness most of us will think of running, going to the gym or weight training. But that is not the only way to workout. Yoga gives you a full body workout but in a peaceful, safe and more holistic way using your own body weight so you can work out anywhere. It combines aspects of cardio, functional and strength training all in one. Could you ask for much more from a workout? The best part is you can do it at your own pace in your own home if you wish.
3. Weight Loss - You don't have to be able to fold in half or practice hot yoga to be able to loose weight. Simple yoga practices will fuel your metabolic system and help to burn fat which will lead to weight loss. Daily yoga can also help restore hormonal balance which in turn can help normalize your body weight. (we promote body positivity, when we talk about normal body weight it is what feels normal for you, not societies ideal of normal). Levels of cortisol (the hormone that is released in response to stress and low blood glucose concentration) Will be lowered, leading to less overeating. Daily yoga will also help to strengthen the overall mind-body connection and help you deal more effectively with unpleasant emotions which can lead to emotional eating.
4. Increase your energy levels - Yoga, even practiced as few minutes per day will provide and energy boost and keep you fresh for longer. Yoga has a unique synergy between body and breath therefore is perfect when your reserves are running low. It will awaken your Chakras, poses which extend the spine such as tree pose will allow the energy to circulate throughout your whole body and chest opening poses such as Cobra pose will encourage the intake of more breath.
5. Stress Reduction - If you are lucky enough to have a workplace that offers lunch time yoga sessions you are winning at life. It has been shown that yoga is an amazing stress buster. Even the shortest of yoga practices should be made up of 3 elements: poses, breathing and meditation. Studies show those who practice all 3 elements are better able to regulate their HRV. This means a lower heart rate, allowing the body to respond to stress in s more flexible way. Practicing relaxing asanas or postures such as a forward fold or lying on your back with your feet up the wall will calm both your body and mind.
6. Better Breathing - During yoga practice we breath deeper and more calmly which is essential. Yogic breathing focuses on pranayama to slow the breath and breathe fully from the pit of your stomach to the top of your lungs. This will make you feel more relaxed and balanced and help you face the day with confidence and calm. Other side effects include increased lung capacity and more tidal volume. When you feel stressed you can use these breathing techniques to help you keep calm when life gets too much.
7. Be a happier you - Including a few yoga poses into your daily routine you can help you become emotionally stronger and happier. Studies show regular yoga practice results in higher serotonin levels, you know, the happy hormone! Thus lowering levels of depression and anxiety. 15 minutes of yoga each day can start changing your brain chemistry and improving your mood.
8. Become more mindful - Yoga shifts your awareness, your senses, your thoughts and your emotions to accompany a give pose. It allows you to bring your thoughts back to the present moment which is the aim of mindfulness. This has lasting physical and psychological benefits, you will feel more calm relaxed, less stressed and lower levels of anxiety. As well as this you will also experience higher levels of energy, enthusiasm and more self-confidence and self-acceptance.
9. Improve clear thinking and concentration - We already discussed how yoga has you focus on your breathing. Well this process of calming our breath and mind helps you feel more mentally relaxed therefore resulting in mental stability. Meditating a few minutes per day (after a quick yoga practice or even on your lunch break) can result in better concentration throughout the day. When we are in a place of peace and calm we are able to use our mental facilities more effectively allowing us to think sharper and more clearly.
10. Live Longer - So we know when you practice yoga regularly you improve fitness, regulate you heart rate and reduce stress thus resulting in a happier you. All of these elements will add valuable years to your life. As yoga reduces the pace of your breathing which has been directly linked to a longer lifespan. Studies also show meditation during yoga might help delay the process of ageing by protecting the telomeres and the end of out chromosomes too.
We think these all sound like perfect reasons to start a daily yoga practice and to work towards living a healthier, longer life.
Do you need many more excuses to go and buy some amazing Waybamba workout clothes and the perfect mat to accompany them?
Co Founder & Creative Director