21 June International Day of Yoga
If there’s one thing we’re all about, it’s celebrating good health. You’ve heard those millennial’s probably a hundred times.
“You Only Live Once”, they say.
And while most of us have a natural inclination to automatically disagree, we can’t help but think there’s something in it. Human beings are notoriously short sighted. We smoke, we drink, we pollute and we litter (well, some of us at least), often giving little thought to future consequences. And while most people get away with it a lot of the time, these things tend to eventually catch up with you. Which is why we’re all about health and fitness- and it doesn’t get more Zen than the International Day of Yoga.
If you’re a passionate yoga practitioner, you’ve probably noticed some yoga benefits—maybe you’re sleeping better or getting fewer colds or just feeling more relaxed and at ease. But if you’ve ever tried telling a newbie about the benefits of yoga, you might find that explanations like “It increases the flow of prana” or “It brings energy up your spine” fall on deaf or skeptical ears.
If you’re already a Yoga fundi, you’re probably all too aware of the (sometimes immediate) health benefits. Maybe you’re sleeping better, your immune system feels stronger or you’ve just been overcome with a sense of ease. However, try explaining that to an outsider, and it sounds like a whole lot of airy fairy talk of chakra’s and chis. People are notoriously skeptical, and more so when it comes to things they can’t see, so preaching about evening out energy flow or circulating your spine isn’t exactly music to their ears. As such, we’ve listed some of the more practical benefits below, just for research purposes, as they say.
1. Improves your flexibility
Improved flexibility is one of the first (and most obvious) benefits of yoga. Ask any newbie, you probably, you probably won’t be able to touch your toes at your first class. But if you stick with it, you’ll notice a gradual loosening, and eventually, the seemingly impossible will become possible. You’ll also probably notice that aches and pains start to disappear. That’s no coincidence. Tight hips can strain the knee joint due to improper alignment of the thigh and shinbones. Tight hamstrings can lead to a flattening of the lumbar spine, which can cause back pain. And inflexibility in muscles and connective tissue, such as fascia and ligaments, can cause poor posture. Speaking of which…
2. Perfects your posture
Your head (or at least ours) is pretty heavy. Normally, this is fine, as your neck and spine are designed to support this with ease. However, many of us spend as much as 12 hours slouched in front of a computer or looking down at our phone during the course of a day. Imagine the strain that causes- is it any wonder you’re always exhausted? Poor posture can cause back, neck, and other muscle and joint problems. As you slump, your body may compensate by flattening the normal inward curves in your neck and lower back. This can cause pain and degenerative arthritis of the spine. In a nutshell, Yoga is your friend, as it helps correct your posture and strengthen those core muscles. So, no, we’re not imagining it when we say we have more energy. Speaking of moods…
3. Yoga makes you happier
Feeling sad? Stretch it out. Better yet, rise, bend over backwards or soar like an eagle. Okay, it’s not as as simple as that, but studies have shown that a consistent yoga practice improved depression and led to a significant increase in serotonin levels. At the University of Wisconsin, Richard Davidson, Ph. D., found that “the left prefrontal cortex showed heightened activity in meditators, a finding that has been correlated with greater levels of happiness and better immune function. More dramatic left-sided activation was found in dedicated, long-term practitioners.”
In simple English, research indicates a direct correlation between Yoga, Meditation and the release of certain chemicals which trigger feelings of ease and relaxation. And that’s not speculation- that’s pure science.
It may sound like rainbows and fairies, but trust us, there’s substance behind it. So in the interest of promoting all things healthy, we urge you to at least consider taking part in this years International Day of Yoga. No, that doesn’t mean wear a toga and call yourself Guru, but it does mean finding your nearest center and being open to new things.
Unless, of course, you’re what they call a “hater”? Or at least, we think that’s what they say…