According to the American Osteopathic Association, there are numerous physical and mental benefits to adding yoga to your daily routine. By practicing yoga regularly, you can gain a balanced metabolism, improved energy and increased flexibility. You can experience less stress and increase your concentration.
“‘Regular yoga practice creates mental clarity and calmness; increases body awareness; relieves chronic stress patterns; relaxes the mind; centers attention; and sharpens concentration,’ says Dr. Nevins. Body- and self-awareness are particularly beneficial, she adds, ‘because they can help with early detection of physical problems and allow for early preventive action.’”
As someone with the body aches of someone 30 years her senior and could stand a major mental health improvement, these benefits were particularly eye catching for me and are a big reason why yoga has always called to me.
If it has always interested me, why am I only trying it now? Well, that is mostly due to the lack of time that I have between work and school. So, I thought why not kill two birds with one stone and try it out for an article?
I started my yoga journey by finding someone to guide me in my efforts. I brought my search to YouTube, where I found a video by “Yoga with Adriene” titled “10-minute Yoga for Beginners.” All week, I set aside 10 minutes of my time to practice yoga with Adriene and her dog Benji.
To be honest, the first day was the worst. I was restless and felt myself waiting for the video to be over. Not to mention, I was confronted with the fact that my body is more out of shape than I realized. I hadn’t really stretched since I was in dance classes seven years ago.
Slowly but surely, I allowed myself to enjoy the 10 minutes of relaxation that these yoga sessions provided. I was able to hold the poses for longer and with more confidence.
Soon, those 10 minutes were flying by. It felt less and less like a chore and became something I really looked forward to.
The first half of the video consists of sitting down poses, then the next half being more standing poses. This allowed me to allow time for both the mental and physical effects to take place. I was able to sit and calm my mind and meditate about things, then was able to finish the session by getting up and moving around.
This differed so greatly from my typical morning routine, which usually consists of waking up ten minutes before I need to leave and then rushing out the door. With taking on this new routine, I was forced to wake up earlier and devote time to just these sessions.
Doing this forced me to take time for myself and focus on how I wanted my day to go. I was able to spend time alone with my thoughts, something that is usually terribly uncomfortable. Now, though, I am more comfortable with being uncomfortable.
Taking into account the many other potential benefits that doing yoga can have, I do think that this decision has affected my life in a very positive way. While I didn’t find myself more energized, I did find myself calmer and more relaxed.
I was able to start my day immediately on a positive note, and I felt ready to take on whatever the day had in store for me.
I still think that yoga mats are horribly uncomfortable. How is it that something can be padded and still feel harder than the floor?
I think it goes without saying that these seven days of yoga were not a magical cure-all for my problems, and by no means am I suddenly a yoga master.
However, I do think that this was a good way to dip my toes into the yoga world. I look forward to adding this to my daily routine, and I also look forward to building up my difficulty range and trying out new poses.
To anyone who is thinking about trying yoga, I say go for it! Dedicating even 10 minutes a day can make such a positive difference, and I think this is something that everyone should try at least once.