When I found yoga, it changed my life for the better, forever!
I am not a yogi—by any stretch of the imagination—but I use yoga when I need it and, like a best friend, it’s always there for me. Yoga introduced me to an alternative way of approaching life: with calm, intentional, mindful, precision. Learning to slow down and breathe and check in with my body gave me invaluable tools to apply to almost every situation. Here are ten ways it will change your life!
How to breathe and use the breath as a tool
Breath is life—so simple, yet so complex! Yoga teaches you how to truly breathe deeply and intentionally which increases the oxygen levels in the bloodstream, flushes out toxins, promotes calming sensations and boosts energy levels. The breath is a powerful method if applied to discomfort and stress (you are taught to literally breathe it out). Breathing properly for an hour in itself is transformational, add in a workout and it’s a win-win!
How to be mindful + embodied
Trapped in your head? Join the club! So often we forget about the body and relegate life to the mind alone. The body is wise and practicing yoga teaches you how to drop into your body, how to check in with all its processes and parts and use that information and knowledge as guidance for self-healing.
Yoga, because of its structure, also shows you to concentrate at the task at hand—there is no room for other thoughts. Focusing on one thing at a time forms the basis of mindfulness. Those poses are tricky for a reason and it’s not just to tone muscles!
The best natural birth coach
I used yoga during both of my pregnancies and both of my births were natural, positive experiences. Yoga, like giving birth, teaches you how to stay calm and centred when you’re in a challenging situation. And like birth, you learn how to breathe through the discomfort and stay centred despite the challenging sensations and fear. Yoga is also a wonderful tool for learning how to let go of the rational mind and let the body guide you. If I could only recommend one thing for pregnant women, yoga would be it.
Healthy body + mind
Yoga both strengthens the muscles and improves flexibility. It perfects your posture, increases blood flow to all areas of your body (including your brain), flushes the lymphatic system and drops your blood pressure. It’s great for your adrenal glands and nervous system and boosts your immunity. But yoga also gives you peace of mind, has been linked to increased self-esteem, teaches inner guidance and awareness and can help with relationships (studies found that 12 weeks of yoga can improve sexual desire, arousal, performance, confidence, orgasm and satisfaction for both men and women).
Studies prove that eight weeks of daily yoga significantly improved sleep quality for people with insomnia. Because yoga promotes healthy breathing, eases stress and anxiety, this has a positive effect on sleep. Yoga also teaches you how to leave your head—the monkey mind loves to try and keep us awake at night!
Teaches emotional health + promotes self-care
If you’re like me, you were probably never taught how to cope with negative emotions, or worse to ignore them altogether. Yoga provides a solid platform for dealing with all emotions—especially the tough ones. The most important lesson is that it’s ok to feel. Allowing yourself to feel the emotion is the first step, the second step is how to deal with it using yoga’s various tools such as breathing, meditation and body awareness. And because you learn how to accept emotions, yoga by default, teaches self-care.
You can do it anywhere
Unlike gym memberships, you can practice yoga anytime, anywhere! Sometimes all we need are a few poses to get the day started, help us cope with a tricky emotion or to wind down after a busy day. Regardless of the reason, all you need is your body and a few minutes to check in and get in the flow!
Gateway to spiritual awakening
As a 5,000-year-old religious practice, even after it’s been filtered by Western culture, yoga still points to universal truths. “Life is so beautiful,” you think to yourself as you drive home from your yoga sess all blissed to the max. It’s subtle, but yoga will lead you to a more deliberate life, teach you how to love yourself and others, and connect you with the infinite wisdom of the cosmos. Why? Because yoga makes you feel really good and when something feels good, we want more. For many, it’s just the beginning—but we must all start somewhere.
Builds inner strength + resilience
Because yoga promotes emotional health and the ability to regulate responses to stress, the practice can teach you immense inner strength and resilience. Those emotional outbursts and meltdowns become a thing of the past, an embarrassing memory as you cultivate inner peace. Someone cuts you off in traffic, who cares? You lose your wallet, oh well. Your boss is a narcissist, time for some yoga!
Meet awesome people + make great friends!
Nice people do yoga—I can say that because it’s true! If you want a better quality of life, go find a yoga class, practice regularly, open yourself up, let it change you and never look back. See ya there!
Words + pics Christina Cannes
Christina Cannes is the founder & publisher. She launched sunshine kollectiv because she believes everyone deserves to live in a happy, healthy community. And she wants to turn the media world on its head by changing the story—always choose love over fear!