Torn muscles, busted ankles, and shin splints – just a few of the things my body has endured due to my incessant need to exercise. Don’t get me wrong, not a day that goes by that I don’t embrace my sore muscles, it’s a beautiful reminder of how hard I work for what I have and how lucky I am to be able to do so. The issue that us fitness fanatics face is that repetition not only allows our bodies to hit stages of plateau but it also causes excessive strain on the same body parts and muscle groups.
I am sure most of us have heard of the many benefits of self reflection and stretching, but have you ever really tried it? Have you ever been able to take a step back and walk away from a workout without raising your heart rate over your max zone? Put down the barbell and let your body relax from that rigid form you work so hard on maintaining with that 200lb bar on your back. Take a breath in and begin to understand that our bodies were designed to heal themselves. Obviously we can’t grow amputated limbs back, but our bodies have a natural tendency to crave nurture and heal within. That nurture can come from many things but in this case I’m talking about self care and inner harmony. Since we were designed to naturally heal, yoga allows your mind and body to come together and find a mutual understanding of pain and pleasure. Yoga allows us to listen to our bodies movements while pushing ourselves to comfortable limits to enhance flexibility, strength, and even endurance.
Physical benefits can rang from improved cardiovascular health all the way to weight loss. The abilities our bodies have are so much more than we even realize and that is why yoga has been such a blessing to so many people. Its simple flows and comfortable stretches allow anyone to enjoy a session without feeling winded or drained. While the many physical benefits will continue to amaze me, there are incredible mental and emotional benefits as well. Due to the enhanced awareness yoga provides, the body is able to assess and manage stress much more efficiently.
“Stress can reveal itself in many ways, including back or neck pain, sleeping problems, headaches, drug abuse, and an inability to concentrate,” says Dr. Nevins. “Yoga can be very effective in developing coping skills and reaching a more positive outlook on life.”
Slower more controlled breathing and self reflection allows us to reevaluate our stress and mental state. These amazing benefits have proven to provide people with healthier, more productive, and happier lives.