National Yoga Month, a national observance designated by the Department of Health and Human Services, is designed to educate people on the health benefits of practicing yoga. If you are new to yoga, or an active yogi, now is the best time to take advantage of all the FREE classes being offered at thousands of studios nationwide to promote National Yoga Month.
I was not gifted with a thin physique or the height of a supermodel. I was never too keen on exercise and never considered myself a flexible person. Then I discovered my healthy, stress-relieving, flexibility-enhancing, feel-good workout: YOGA.
Yoga is for everyone! E-V-E-R-Y-O-N-E
Small, big, short, tall, active, not active, young, middle-aged, elderly, and everyone in between—yoga is for all shapes and sizes. And, I am not even going to comment on how insanely cute yoga clothes are. This all sounds great, but why should I do it?
8 reasons why YOU should practice yoga
Regular yoga practice gets you moving and burning calories and helps regulate your metabolism by targeting your thyroid and pituitary glands when holding certain poses.
According to the National Institute of Mental Health, practicing yoga helps manage stress levels and promotes relaxation. There are tons of poses for instant stress relief that can be done in the office or in the comfort of your living room. One of the most popular poses is the inversion known as legs up the wall.
Practicing weight-bearing poses that affect the spine, arms, shoulders, legs, knees, ankles, and feet encourage full range of motion that helps stimulate bones to retain calcium, thus helping ward off osteoporosis.
I suffer from headaches regularly, so when I feel one coming on, I do a few tension relieving poses and I am able to get back to my daily schedule.
Flowing from one pose to the next increases coordination of the musculoskeletal system and strengthens the muscular system, making you less susceptible to injury. Your heart also greatly benefits from yoga breathing practices, allowing the whole cardiopulmonary system to reset to its own natural beat.
Quieting the mind and relieving tension will naturally help you fall asleep, but there are certain poses, when practiced before bedtime, that can be helpful in fighting insomnia and promoting a better night’s sleep.
Many psychological benefits of yoga are often overlooked. Some benefits include: less anxiety and depression, positive outlook of yourself and others, improved self-confidence, and increased emotional stability. Keep in mind, yoga is not a substitute for psychotherapy or medication, but is recommended as an added benefit to aide in the psychological healing process.
Practicing yoga is all about being aware of your body and having good posture is all about awareness. This is where yoga can help.
Yoga is for men, too!
When I discovered my passion for yoga, my boyfriend was dragged to one of my classes just to “give it a try.” He too was not gifted with a model physique, but that didn’t matter. At the end of class, while he was rolling up his mat, he said, “That was awesome, I feel great!” Now, he is the one asking when our next class is. Men’s Fitness Magazine has even honed in on why men should start practicing yoga in one of their latest issues.
Will Harris, yoga instructor and business manager at Dragonfly Hot Yoga, agrees that incorporating yoga into your life is a journey to a happier and healthier lifestyle.
“Everyone ages 14 to 80, gets something from practicing yoga,” Harris said. “It helps 14-year-olds set down their cell phones, it helps 40-year-olds relax and take a breath, and it helps 80-year-olds with spinal work which helps fight osteoporosis.”
Learn how you can redeem your ONE FREE WEEK of YOGA during National Yoga Month at over 1,600 participating yoga studios nationwide. For more health and wellness tips and tricks, check out the WPS Health Center!
Do you have an inspiring or funny yoga story to share? Tell your fellow yogis in the comments section below!