7 Ways yoga has improved my life
I have always enjoyed a yoga session here or there, especially since moving to Manchester, where new yoga and health studios seem to be popping up regularly. However, I’ve never taken it massively seriously. The more yoga I started to do, the more I realised how much I needed it. I was tense, not very flexible and I live a pretty frantic and fast paced life which meant never really taking the time to chill out or be by myself.
I decided I should dedicate some time to yoga and see how it would overall benefit my life. At this point I didn't know much about yoga, other than the fact that it was a great stretch and actually was massively intimidated by the fact that everyone who I knew that did yoga seemed to be ridiculously flexible and stretchy. After a class, I noticed that The Life Centre in Deansgate, Manchester (If you ever spend time in Manchester, definitely give it a go!) ran a 6 week course for beginner yogis and I signed up straight away.
The last class of the six week course took place today and I have learnt so much that I just had to write a post on my experience, for anyone who is thinking about giving it a go or wants to find out what the hype is all about. Check out the ways that a yoga practice has improved my life and give it a go!
I’ve learnt the importance of ‘me time’: I’m such a sociable person that I forget to take time to chill out and focus on myself. When I’m not working, or focusing our blog, or rushing to a spin class, I always have something I find myself panicking to get done. As soon as I get to the yoga studio, I turn off my phone, I stop thinking about where I need to be, and take an hour to focus on my mind, body and finding some peace within my busy week.
I’ve learnt to be more present: Not only during my practice, but since regularly practicing yoga I have noticed a drastic improvement in my ability to stay focused in the present moment. I am much more able to focus on one task without my mind wandering off or my brain trying to think about 7 different problems I have at once.
I’ve become more flexible: This is kind of a given, and probably the main reason that people begin practicing yoga. But I have noticed a massive increase in my flexibility since starting. The more I practice, the more I feel I can do, with every class I’ve challenged my body and I feel more flexible and stretchy everytime.
I’ve learnt to slow down: Moving as quickly as possible isn’t always the right solution and in this day and age, everything seems to be a massive rush. We rush to get things done at work, we speed read, we drive on motorways instead of taking the scenic route, we do everything as efficiently as possible to save time. But sometimes, it’s worth taking things slowly, and really concentrating on listening to your body and yourself.
I feel stronger: I did not for one minute associate yoga with strength, but since practicing regularly, I notice that I can hold a plank for a LONG TIME, I my arms are feeling more toned than ever and my wrists can hold some serious weight. I genuinely feel stronger and my body feels more physically capable.
Controlling stress and anxiety: Whenever I have had a stressful day at work, or I feel like my day has been so busy I barely had time to collect my thoughts. Maybe I’m making some major life decisions and I feel anxious and uneasy. Instead of reaching for junk food in the cupboard or the wine in the fridge, I go into my room and unroll my mat. I feel so much more relaxed and distressed after yoga, and it’s such a great distraction from other stress relievers that aren’t healthy or positive.
I’ve learnt to be more content: Yoga isn’t just about how you feel physically, but also teaches you to become present, content and grateful. I’ve noticed that I feel so much more positive about things I do on a daily basis and I’m more content with where I am in life right now. I worry less about materialistic things I think I ‘need’ or places I want to go, and am able to be grateful and content for everything I am, and everything I have in the present.
These seven reasons are definitely not the only ones, but I hope it’s enough to inspire you to give yoga a go. If you can, my advice would be to check out your nearest yoga studio and see if they do a beginner’s course. This way you can learn both the physical aspect of yoga, but also the theory and ways you can use your practice in everyday life. You’ll probably meet some amazing new people too!
If you’re completely new to yoga, don’t panic about not being flexible, or not knowing any of the poses. Yoga classes are full of people with totally mixed abilities, and no one cares if you can’t touch your toes! If it makes you feel more comfortable, try a home yoga session by searching out beginners classes on YouTube and getting to grips with the basics first.
Hope this helps! Love and Light, S x