It’s no secret that yoga is becoming more popular by the day, and for good reasons. If you’ve thought about it, but you’re not sure it’s for you, then read on to see how you could benefit.
1) you’ve typed a variation of the following into Google:
‘feeling tired all the time’ | ‘why am I so tired?’ | ‘is it okay to go to bed at 8pm?’
Of course, extreme fatigue can be a sign of something more serious, but more often than not it’s simply a sign that you need some rest and relaxation. Making sure that you get enough sleep each night, eating a healthy and nutritious diet, and staying hydrated are all easy steps to take in the right direction. When you’re feeling totally exhausted your natural instinct might be to curl up on the sofa and settle in for an evening of box-set binge watching; even thinking about exercise probably makes your eyelids a little heavier. However, you might be surprised to know that yoga is a wonderful way to wake yourself up. While physically over-exerting yourself can tire your muscles more, yoga is a gentle alternative to that 5k run that actually replenishes your energy levels.
How you ask? Let me tell you…
A sedentary lifestyle can contribute to poor circulation. Poor circulation means important nutrients and oxygen don’t get transported around the body very effectively. A few sun salutations and deep breaths will raise your heart beat, give you more oxygen, and get the blood pumping to your muscles, organs and most importantly your brain - giving you a little boost of stimulation. Or, in the words of Coldplay: a rush of blood to the head.
Fatigue and tiredness can also be a physical reaction to something more mental. A lack of motivation, negative thoughts or overthinking can tire out your brain and in turn, tire out your body. It’s the same concept as stress (an emotional trigger) having a physical response, such as a tension headache or tight shoulders. It’s why yoga focuses so much on a holistic approach between the body and mind. They’re completely connected.
2) You’re restless.
Despite feeling exhausted constantly, you can’t sit still and struggle to sleep. When you do crawl into bed craving a good nights sleep, you switch the lights off and seemingly switch your brain on. Sound familiar? You’re not alone.
Yoga teaches you some wonderful breathing techniques to calm your chaotic thoughts, as well as some very simple meditation techniques that can work wonders if you’re someone prone to anxiety. (Scientifically proven to be more effective than counting sheep).
3) You struggle to make decisions.
Did you know, the left side of your brain is responsible for academic and logical thought processes, whereas the right side is the more imaginative and creative? Yoga stimulates both sides equally and therefore balances your thought processes. Perfect for when you’ve got big decisions to make, or to impress your boss in the team brainstorm.
4) You now own slip-on shoes for every occasion.
Mainly because it’s such a struggle to bend down to do your laces. There’s a common misconception that you can’t do yoga if you can’t touch your toes. Saying that is like saying you’re too dirty to take a shower.
Yoga doesn’t just improve your flexibility but it also builds strength, mobility and balance. What most people don’t realise is that things such as tight hamstrings are actually a direct cause of back pain and other joint issues, so loosening up can really help you out.
5) You’re a victim of the 9-5, but spend most of your 9-5 procrastinating.
Suffering from slumpasana? Hours on end hunched over your desk can cause pretty severe back pain, a sore neck and stiff shoulders. Yoga improves your posture and makes you much more aware of your alignment. You’ll also learn some really simple stretches to do at your desk for when you need a quick fix.
Ask yourself, how much of your 9-5 is actually productive? If you’re one of life’s professional procrastinators then you could benefit from the focus yoga brings you. Yoga asks you to really pay attention to what you’re doing (if you’ve heard of mindfulness, well, it’s that). Applying the same approach to your working day will stop your mind wandering and halve the time it takes to complete tasks.
6) you’re always ‘a little under the weather.’
Yoga boosts your immunity. Yes, really. It happens on a cellular level and can heighten your body’s ability to fight off infections and things like the common cold. It’s quite scientific, so you can either take our word for it, or do some further research.
7) your jeans are getting a tad tight.
As with all regular exercise, yoga can help with weight loss, but rather than running (literally running) yourself into the ground, it’s a much more gentle approach which means it’s easier to keep up long term. While burning calories, you’ll also build strength, tone your muscles and improve things like coordination, balance and flexibility.
8) there’s no escape from all your notifications.
The best thing about a yoga class? No phones allowed!
9) you’ve been a bit down, dog.
Yoga doesn’t just make you healthy, it makes you happy. Practicing yoga has a chemical reaction in your body and your serotonin, oxytocin, and GABA levels all increase almost immediately after getting on your mat. Higher levels of GABA has been linked to lower levels of depression, anxiety and anger, so you’ll notice an instant improvement in your mood and leave class feeling like a weight has been lifted.
10) you get bored of the same thing day-in-day-out.
The good news is that whether you want to sweat to loud music or quietly meditate with your Mala, there’s a style of yoga for everyone. Yoga isn’t a one-size-fits-all thing and that’s the beauty about it. You might start off with one style but over time grow to love another. So depending on what you need in that moment, there’s a type of yoga that fits.
So there you have it. If a few of those signs hit home then perhaps it’s time to take a leap of faith and come along to a class…