Why you need yoga

Yoga for the complete you

Nobody has to tell you why yoga’s right for you: you’ll know by doing it! Think of yoga as a practice for your physical and mental health, which has five elements that produce five benefits.

The five elements of yoga

  1. Compassion Truthfulness Non-Violence and Integrity
  2. Exercise
  3. Applied Breathing
  4. Mindfulness and Meditation
  5. Healthy Diet

The five benefits of yoga

  1. Physical Fitness
  2. Mental Health
  3. Wellness and Wellbeing
  4. Emotional Awareness
  5. Fulfilment of Self Purpose

Delve deeper

Learn more about the structure and ideas underpinning yoga plus the benefits it brings to your life. The two sections below provide a more detailed synopsis of each side of the equation.

What a balanced yoga practice consists of

Decide which of these applies to you and start there.  Develop your skills as-and-when you’re ready.  Most people begin with exercise and progress from there.

1) Compassion Truthfulness Non-violence and Integrity

Yoga is active and starts with living life thoroughly and honestly, having kindness and respect for yourself, other people and the world about you.

2) Exercise

Yoga exercises the body through the development of postures called Asana.  It’s physically demanding: be mindful of that!  There are seven groups of Asana:

  1. Standing
  2. Hip openers
  3. Forward bends
  4. Backbends
  5. Twists
  6. Balances
  7. Inversions

3) Applied Breathing

There are two aspects to this:

  1. The effective use of breath while exercising
  2. Disciplined breathing to detoxify the body

4) Mindfulness and Meditation

Mindfulness relaxes the body and mind.  It uses breathing and visualisation to help you concentrate on the present moment.  It’s an ideal emollient for mental health problems such as anxiety, anger, depression and stress.  You would do well to set aside time for this excellent form of conscious relaxation.  It’s daily hygiene for your mind and body.

Meditation is awareness of one’s self.  It’s more spiritual and reflective than mindfulness.  Meditation is about complete knowledge of the more profound person within you.  It regulates your brain and develops a sense of purpose in life.

5) Healthy Diet

You are what you eat and think.  Quality, quantity, and how you prepare your meals is critical for your wellness and wellbeing.  Buy fresh organic produce focusing on nutrition and variety.  More fruit and vegetables, less meat and better portions will be better for you and the planet.  Also, consider the ethics of how your food gets to you and animal welfare.

The benefits regular yoga can bring to your life

You have to commit to practising yoga to reap the rewards, but you can be sure all your hard work will repay itself, many times over.

1) Physical Fitness

Regular yoga exercise will develop the five elements of physical fitness:

  1. Cardio-respiratory endurance
  2. Muscle strength
  3. Muscle endurance
  4. Flexibility
  5. Body composition

Unique to yoga is its connectivity and integration of activity with the breath and mind.  It prevents injury, improves recovery, sharpens performance and lengthens an active life.

2) Mental Health

Yoga nurtures your mental health through exercise, applied breathing, mindfulness and meditation.  It is an approved therapy for easing and preventing many health problems; in particular lifestyle-related illnesses.

3) Wellness and Wellbeing

Wellness pertains to physical health, whereas wellbeing refers more to mental health.  Yoga’s positivity fosters a healthier mind and body.  It aims to make you a ‘complete’ person, at ease with yourself and the world you inhabit.  Attainment of that state is the ultimate purpose of yoga.

4) Emotional Awareness

Yoga underpins your emotional awareness.  If you’re not fully aware of your emotions, you cannot manage them as well as you might.  Yoga develops your understanding of why and how you feel like you do, which is vital for your happiness and effectiveness in relationships of all kinds.

5) Fulfilment of Self Purpose

Making the best of yourself and getting what you want out of life.  Your sense of life-purpose is the driving force for meaningful change.  Yoga helps to promote the psychological qualities needed to meet this.

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