6 reasons why you should start yoga
Yoga is good for the soul and good for the body. Here are some great reasons why you should be doing it this year
It’s time to stop procrastinating and make 2020 the year when you fully immerse yourself into the joys of a regular yoga practice. Still debating whether you can fit it into your busy life? If you need a reminder of the benefits of yoga, Dru Yoga’s Jane Clapham outlines some of the top reasons why you should get on your mat today.
1. Manage stress better
If you suffer from stress, yoga is a no-brainer. For the first time, work-related stress anxiety or depression accounts for over half of all working days lost due to ill health in Great Britain. Yoga is one of the most effective methods of stress relief. Research published in peer-reviewed journals found that a six-week programme of weekly Dru Yoga classes reduced anxiety and fatigue, while increasing emotional wellbeing and resilience to stress. Ideally, book in for a series of weekly classes or make a commitment to an online yoga challenge to encourage you to practice regularly and take the stress out of arranging your yoga.
2. Emotional balance
Yoga can help you to feel good, no matter what the weather’s like. True happiness comes from within, and the inner joy that comes from a great yoga class or meditation session is second to none. Many people find that a regular practice of yoga helps them to keep emotionally balanced, and ready to face each day with an optimistic attitude. A recent study showed that yoga improved mood more than walking and other forms of exercise, possibly due to higher levels of the brain chemical GABA (a natural mood booster), according to an article in The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine.
3. Good for your back
Many people believe that rest is best for back pain, whereas in fact, gentle exercise such as yoga helps to stretch and relax the tight muscles that can cause back pain. Employers are now reaping the benefits of a yoga programme in the workplace. In research published in the Journal of Occupational Medicine, Dru Yoga was found to be not only effective in managing back pain but was cost effective to reduce sickness absence due to musculoskeletal conditions. In another study published in 2017 in the US Journal, The Annals of Internal Medicine, yoga was shown to be more
effective in reducing back pain than the care of a doctor. It is important to check that your style of yoga is therapeutic, as some styles of yoga may exacerbate back problems.
4. Increase energy
One of the surprising benefits of yoga is the higher levels of energy which regular practitioners experience. Rather than relying on coffee or Red Bull to get going in the morning, just 10 minutes of daily yoga can give you a great energy rush with no side effects. Dru Yoga students reported that 86% of them enjoyed increased energy levels after practicing yoga. Breathing techniques such as Kapalabhati Pranayama are especially useful for quickly giving more energy. To practice this, breathe in naturally from the nose, and exhale in short, sharp bursts from the nose. Repeat five times. Do not hold the breath if you have high blood pressure, heart problems or detached retina.
5. Banish aches and pains
Yoga’s gentle movements and stretches are a perfect way to deal with general aches and pains. I’ve found that a 10-minute practice of yoga daily helps keep my body in top condition and to melt away the niggling aches which can build up when I’ve been working hard, or not exercising enough. Dru’s Energy Block release sequences, which systematically twist, bend and stretch the body from the top of the head to the tips of the toes, are the ideal yoga practice to soothe away bodily pains. In fact, I only notice my little aches on days when I haven’t practiced yoga — another reason to get back on the mat!
6. Feel ageless
One of my Dru Yoga students trained as a teacher at the youthful age of 85! Yoga is one of the most effective ways of keeping young, fit and healthy — both in mind and body, no matter what your age! It naturally tackles all those signs of ageing from inside out, as it restores the elasticity of the spine and joints, firms the skin, corrects poor posture and brings higher energy levels. So, forget all those creams and potions, and get yourself to a yoga class today!
Jane Clapham is a Dru Yoga and meditation teacher trainer who runs retreats at Snowdonia Mountain Lodge in North Wales (Druyoga.com)