5 Ways That Yoga Helps You Fall in Love with Your Body

5 ways that Yoga Helps you Fall in Love with Moving your Body

Embracing Movement as an Art Form for Body and Mind Harmony - SIan Siekierski

Reading time: 4 minutes

There is exercise, there is movement…and then there is yoga.

Other forms of movement certainly have their benefits: weight training develops strength, swimming and running provide excellent cardio workouts, and pilates is effective for core stability, but yoga provides a holistic whole body and mind experience that is more akin to art forms like dance, whilst also delivering deep relaxation.

Here are 5 wonderful ways that yoga can transform the way you move:

1) Yoga creates a supple body

Yoga is renowned primarily as a way to increase flexibility, and this is often one of the main attractions to the practice. This is particularly true for athletes dealing with muscle tightness or limitations to how they move, in sports like golf or football. It’s also a draw for people experiencing aches and pains such as lower back discomfort, or individuals noticing that their range of movement is becoming more restricted with age.

In yoga we move the spine through its full range of motion in folds, side bends, twists and backbends. And, in dynamic styles of yoga like Vinyasa, we flow smoothly through fluid transitions, all of which help the body becoming more supple and the practitioner move with more ease.

2) Yoga develops full body strength and tone

As a movement practice that uses your own body weight rather than external load, yoga develops whole body strength and tone. While lifting weights isolates the muscles being used, yoga requires the body to move as one in a seamless, coordinated way.

Holding poses such as Warriors for long periods (think at least 5 breaths) demands isometric strength or ‘hugging the muscle to the bone’, a form of strength and stability that is not found in weight-training. Repetitions of dynamic sequences such as vinyasas are also strengthening as, of course are arm balances. Some styles of yoga though, such as Yin or Restorative, will not deliver strength-building benefits.

While you can absolutely become stronger and leaner through practising yoga alone, it is best to incorporate other complimentary forms of resistance or strength training into your daily life too.

3) Yoga betters your balance and coordination

Tree pose, Dancer’s pose, Eagle, Crow…the many balances of yoga require focus, concentration, body awareness and strong and stable foundations – whether on hands or feet!

When you become more proficient at balancing, you will feel grounded and centred whilst also experiencing a sense of lightness throughout the body.

The connected sequences of Vinyasa Yoga require coordination and the feeling of where your body is in space (called proprioception). As you become familiar with the postures and transitions, you will feel ‘embodied’ and able to move with more grace.

4) Yoga helps you walk taller

Standing tall in Mountain pose, opening the chest or ‘heart’ in backbends, and breathing fully and expansively into the lungs, you counteract the all too common hunching, rounding and restriction accumulated from stress and tension, too much screen time, sitting and driving.

Through regular yoga practice, your posture will become optimal. You will literally stand, sit and walk taller! And with this comes more confidence and vigour as well as less likelihood of ongoing aches and pains.

5) Yoga sets you free

There is a rigidity and repetition to many forms of exercise: laps of the pool swam, number of bicep curls or squats performed in a gym session, miles ran, legs lifted 20 times each side…these forms of exercise are effective, yes, but can be dull and monotonous.

Although in yoga we do have drills to help with technique, and preparations to warm the body, once we get into the core of the practice there is a freedom and creativity to the movement which brings you into ‘flow’: immersed in what you’re doing, losing all track of time or awareness of external disturbances.

It’s difficult to express in words the feeling after a fulfilling yoga practice. The body feels worked but relaxed; strong and empowered yet light. Muscles and joints that were tight and rigid, are now released. Breath that was shallow is now expansive and full. You feel at home in your skin. At ease. Open. Free.

As you become more experienced in your yoga practice, you will appreciate what it brings each time, not the physical, aesthetic outcomes or achievement of certain poses, but an absorption and delight in the movement practice itself, and the restful state that follows.

As someone who has done ballet, pilates, ballroom dancing, gymnastics, running, swimming, weight training – and still enjoys and experiences the benefits of many of these types of movement – I have to say that it’s yoga which has captured my heart and still holds it after many years.  With yoga, movement is not a chore, but something to fall in love with. And it’s a love affair to last a lifetime.


Sian Siekierski

Sian Siekierski (RYT) teaches mindful Vinyasa yoga inspired by her dance and gymnastics background and the teachings of physiotherapists and anatomy experts. Diagnosed with the autoimmune condition Coeliac disease since her 30s, she is fascinated in the connection between the mind and the body. Alongside her 200 hr yoga teacher training, Sian has undertaken additional formal trainings with Jason Crandell, Adam Husler and Dr Yogi, amongst others.