￼ Come meet our very special guest blogger!
Fun seeking health and happiness enthusiast Magda Pieniazek followed her heart from Poland to Australia, where she finds herself musing about all things Melbourne and what we embrace here. For Melbourne Wellness Therapies she shares her thoughts on the strengths of yoga.
Not too long ago yoga was considered a sport for herb collecting hippies who sing Tibetan chants, burn incense sticks and read tea leaves. With the ever-increasing popularity of healthy living and more people motivated to stay fit and revitalize their tired bodies, yoga is now viewed through different eyes and the misconceived associations have been brushed aside. You will find all sorts in a crowd of yoga enthusiasts. People willing to break out from the 9-5 grind and relieve their strained backs, wrists and knees; people trying to slim down before it’s time for the beach; those seeking to do power stretching to boost their coordination and balance on a surfing board or people wanting to learn to meditate. The best thing about yoga is that it doesn’t discriminate and invites people of all ages and physical capabilities. Jaw-dropping ‘asanas’ (that’s yoga-speak for postures) might be slightly intimidating for a yoga newbie but you can be sure of a mood-enhancing sense of achievement when you finally touch your toes!
As a fervent yoga fan, I can wax lyrical about the endless benefits of yoga. Today, however, I will provide 7 reasons why you should grab a mat and make yoga a staple in your workout routine.
1. It improves your flexibility.
The first yoga class you attend is most likely to be immensely frustrating. Unable to touch your toes or twist your joints to sculpture your body into one of the physics and anatomy defying asanas that look like they are going to break every single bone in your body?! Don’t let the initial stiffness put you off from hitting the mat again! Perseverance and regular practice are the key. And before you realise, you will be twisting and curling your body and seeing the world from the new perspective of positions you’ve never dreamt of! Your struggle will pay off.
2. It makes you stronger and builds your muscles.
Improved flexibility is the most obvious side effect of regular yoga practice. However, asanas can also promote your strength and endurance as much as a sweaty workout at the gym. Punching the boxing bag or lifting weights may be perceived as the quickest way to boost your stamina, but dynamic yoga styles can also bring the same effect! Yoga will chisel your entire body into a well-proportioned toned and strong shape. This removes the danger of overtraining certain body parts and having asymmetrical muscles that make you look like a funny caricature!
3. It improves your posture.
Hours spent slumping over your computer in an awkward position, scrolling newsfeeds on you phone and lazy evenings on a cozy sofa do no good to our postures and make us all look like the unhappy Hunchback of Notre Dame. How many times has your mum told you to stop slouching and push your chest out? Your ears must have heard too much about your bad posture. Slouching puts a lot of pressure on certain muscles and can cause chronic back pain. The negative effects of slouching could be quickly counteracted with some basic asanas designed to relieve the strain. Systematic practice will eventually make you posture-conscious. In addition, with your back straight you will look confident and strong. Who would say no to that?!
4. It strengthens your immunity.
Our less and less friendly environment, hectic and stressful lifestyles, and unbalanced diets weaken our bodies and make us more susceptible to disease. Yoga is a great, chemicals-free preventative that may help protect your body from unwanted viruses. Consigned to the literally suffocating space of our offices, we suffer from low oxygen levels. Breathing is an essential skill you will learn on the mat. It helps you to enhance the work of your lungs andfend off vicious bugs.To make things even better, some asanas will augment your metabolism and squeeze out with sweat unfriendly toxins. Improved breathing techniques, stimulate both digestion and detoxification in a collaboration to keep infections at bay.
5. Helps you concentrate on the present moment.
Yoga forces you to unplug from the world cluttered by e-mails, texts, tweets, Facebook or Instagram updates, as well as to tame the overwhelming number of thoughts flooding your brain. While on the mat, you are invited to perfect your mental focus and think about your body and every breath it takes. Without realising, you will suddenly find yourself switched off from the noise of the fast-paced world that impairs communication between your brain and body. Why not mute the outer world even for a brief moment!?
6. It makes you relaxed.
Yoga is not only about reaping the obvious physical benefits, it also lets you attain peace of body and mind. Through a regular practice you can pursue a sought-after state of peacefulness and apply a newly-achieved calmness to re asses your targets and priorities. Yoga opens your eyes wide open and lets you see the bigger picture to explore the world with a rested mind. The heightened awareness of your body and your newfound ability to fine-tune your attention will facilitate a dialogue with your inner self and help you deal efficiently with your daily routine and anxieties.
7. Makes you a happy person.
Less stress… a happier YOU! A happier you, and therefore happier loved ones. A simple equation! You must know that every downward dog shoots your levels of happiness upwards. By shaping and firming your body, yoga will teach you to love yourself and embrace a positive outlook. With your new love for your body and your sunny attitude, as a yoga regular you will become a confident person who walks proudly with their back straight and has the stamina and discerning mind to conquer the world. Yes, the world is your oyster!
P.S. Find out about yoga at Melbourne Wellness Therapies here.