All about Yoga, complementary therapy. Yoga boosts your physical & mental wellbeing.
Dating back over 5,000 years, Yoga began in Northern India. Today it just as popular in the west as it is in the east.
What is Yoga?
Yoga is practiced by creating a series of postures, asanas, with your body. The various postures are put together to create a ‘flow’ of movements.
Yoga has been practiced for thousands of years. It focuses on strength, flexibility and breathing. All of which helps boost your physical and mental wellbeing.
How can Yoga help me?
Yoga is a form of exercise and like all exercise, it can significantly improve your health and well-being. The more physically active we are the more it lowers our risk of developing long term conditions like heart disease, diabetes and depression.
Research shows that Yoga can give improvements in diabetes, inflammation, heart disease, and chronic pain. It can also help with many emotional issues such as anxiety, stress and depression. The control of breath during a yoga practice improves lung capacity which is a benefit for those suffering from lung disease, heart problems and asthma.
Yoga helps you to fall asleep faster, sleep longer and feel more rested and regular yoga practice will improve flexibility, balance and strength.
Can anyone do Yoga?
Yes anyone can do yoga. Yoga poses vary and as a beginner, it’s best to start with the simpler ones. With every pose there is always an alternative and a good yoga teacher will advise you a slightly different way to get the same stretch. So never feel you need to push yourself, just do what is comfortable for you and you will see the same benefits. There are seated poses for those who have problems with balance, you can even do yoga in your chair.
How often should I practice Yoga?
It is more important to practice yoga frequently than it is to do a long session once in a while. Because yoga combines physical activity, meditative aspects and breathing techniques it is beneficial to practice for 10 minutes every day that it is to do an hour session once and week. These short sessions have been proved to improve focus, memory and bone health.
Short sessions can also help you create habits of doing yoga regularly. However, if you have time for a longer session, it is always a benefit.
10 Minute Yoga
10-20 Minute Yoga
20-30 Minute Yoga
When should I practice Yoga?
Yoga can be done any time of day but it’s best to pick a time when you are not going to be disturbed. That’s why morning yoga is a good choice. Get up 20 minutes for everyone else and do a session. Your mind is the clearest at this time a day and it’s easy to concentrate on your breathing and yoga poses. It also sets you up for the day.
Fitting yoga into your afternoon can be difficult if you haven’t completed your to-do list that day so yoga may get missed. You have to be more disciplined this time of day to make sure you fit it in no matter what else is going on.
Certain yoga poses are great before bed as it can wind you down and relax you enough to drift into a deep sleep. However, more energetic poses that get your blood pumping will have the opposite effect.
There is no right and wrong to when you practice yoga, it’s got to fit in with your lifestyle and be at a time that you can stick to.
What do I wear to practice Yoga?
Loose, comfortable clothing. Anything that is stretchable, leggings, t-shirts and vest tops work just fine. You may want a sweater to start with and as you warm up you can remove this. If you are practising yoga first thing in the morning, pyjamas may be the most comfortable thing to wear.
What equipment do I need?
A yoga mat is highly recommended. This will help you keep a steady pose when doing yoga positions. Yoga mats are anti-slip and can be rolled up and stored neatly. If you have tender knees and need more support go for a thicker yoga mat. Buying a mat that comes with a bag or straps attached that tie when rolled is also useful.
Yoga blocks are a useful aid to help with certain poses. They can be placed under your head, back or you can sit on them to help you improve balance and stability. They also help reduce the risk of pulled muscles and other injuries. Two is usually more than enough as most packs of yoga blocks come in twos.
Yoga straps are useful for stretching. They can bridge the gap if you are unable to make a full stretch. They help by effectively relaxing your stiff and tight muscles. This is certainly useful for beginners whose muscles aren’t used to the full stretches that come with yoga.
How do I start practicing Yoga?
Yoga can be practiced at home or in a class. There are many videos on YouTube that talk you through yoga. We recommended Yoga with Adriene. She has many videos at all different levels and needs.
Alternatively, if you rather join a class check out any that are near you. A beginner class is ideal if you are just starting.
Remember yoga is your own personal journey, it doesn’t matter what you can or can’t do, it is not a competition with anyone else. You find what feels good and enjoy.