Yoga is one of the oldest forms of exercise on the planet, with new research suggesting that it may be up to 5000 years old! Yoga has a huge number of benefits, improving physical, mental and emotional health, so it’s no surprise that its popularity is again on the rise! Here are my 10 top reasons why you should start doing yoga today!
1. Stress busting
Stress causes one in five British employees to suffer from anxiety and depression, and costs the UK £100 billion in lost output every year. Yoga is one of the most effective methods of stress relief, and recent research supervised by a British University found that a six week programme of weekly Yoga classes reduced anxiety and fatigue, while increasing emotional well-being and resilience to stress.
‘The benefits that Yoga has brought me have dramatically reduced my stress levels and increased my awareness of the daily pressures that are faced by most of my colleagues. I am more conscious of not taking on this stress myself. As a result, people value my increased creativity, clarity and calm, and my client base has expanded.’ – J.M. senior management consultant, UK
2. Reduces anxiety
‘I hardly recognise myself as the person I was six years ago, before starting a regular yoga practice. The bouts of depression, anxiety and low self-esteem I used to suffer on a regular basis have gone, to be replaced by increasing self confidence and a joyfulness in life that I’d forgotten was possible.’ – Catherine, Yoga teacher, UK
3. Good for your back
Yoga is one of the safest forms of exercise to improve back pain. In a recent study, 72 % of yoga practitioners questioned found Yoga reduced their back pain. Many people believe that rest is best for back pain, whereas in fact, gentle exercise such as Dru Yoga helps to stretch and relax the tight muscles that can cause back pain.
4. Increases energy
One of the surprising benefits of yoga is the higher levels of energy which regular practitioners experience. Rather than relying on coffee or other stimulants to get going in the morning, ten minutes of daily yoga can give you a great energy rush with no side effects. Yoga students reported that 86% of them enjoyed increased energy levels after practising yoga.
5. 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. Try it!
6. 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 ten minute practice of Yoga daily helps keep my body in top condition and to melt away the niggling aches which can build up when we’re 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.
7. Better breathing
Many people come to yoga because of health conditions such as asthma or bronchitis. Pranayama, or yoga breathing exercises, can be very benefiicial in helping you to relax and gain control of your mind and emotions, thus helping you to breathe easier. In Yoga, exercises such as the pigeon breath or the windmill are often taught to help people with breathing problems – to great effect.
8. Feel ageless
One of my yoga students trained as a teacher at the young age of 85! Yoga is one of the most effective ways of keeping young, fit and health – both in mind and body, no matter what your age! It naturally tackles all those signs of aging from inside out – as it restores the elasticity of the spine and joints, firms the skin, corrects poor posture and brings higher energy levels.
9. Improved flexibility
If you’ve had trouble bending or twisting recently then you’d benefit from yoga’s effects of increasing flexibility. Yoga stretches are a gentle way of helping the muscles and joints regain their natural mobility. When I was a teenager, I was so inflexible that I couldn’t touch my toes, whereas after just a few months of regular Yoga pracice, my flexibility had increased hugely and I could easily touch my toes! Many people who do sports such as football, climbing or running appreciate the fact that yoga quickly increases flexibility.
10. The feel-good factor
A recent study of yoga in the workplace found that just one yoga class a week led to increased life purpose and satisfaction, and feelings of greater self-confidence during stressful situations. Yoga increases self-confidence by improving posture, increasing health and feelings of well-being. So if you fancy having a post-yoga glow – then get to a yoga class!