Fitness experts have been boasting about the benefits – both mental and physical – for years. I know some people haven’t bought into the idea because they feel if you aren’t pumping iron or running on a treadmill that you aren’t getting a good workout, but that’s just not true.
The physical benefits of toning your body and stretching out your muscles are evident, what you may not know is that yoga offers several other benefits as well.
As of right now I spend $33 a month on a gym membership and $75 a month on yoga classes. If you would have told me a year ago that I would be spending $108 a year on exercise I would have called you crazy, but truth be told I can’t think of a better way to spend $1296 a year than on myself and my health.
The chance to make new friends
Yoga is really a way of life. It’s a community that supports each other both on and off the mat – that’s what I’m learning from joining a yoga studio. My yoga studio offers retreats and outings for all members.
Last week they offered an excursion to go apple picking and take a 1 hour yoga class outside on a farm. Isn’t that cool?! I thought that making new friends at 35 was going to be hard, but the truth is it’s easy to do when you share something in common.
Getting over the fear of trying something new
I have three yoga DVDs at home and I’ve taken a yoga class here and there at my gym, but the experience of taking a class from a true yogi who makes everything about yoga their way of life is such a different experience. This is not to say that the fitness instructor at my gym who leads the Zumba class is not also a good yoga instructor.
However everything about a yoga studio is Zen from the decor to the ambiance. The biggest difference is there are no mirrors or clocks in a yoga studio because yoga is about you and how you feel – perfect posture is just an added bonus. Your body will move in ways you never knew it could and although that can be terrifying to think about, it’s extremely exhilarating when you’re doing it.
Increased self esteem and body image
To be honest I wasn’t sure how I was going to feel about taking a yoga class with a bunch of skinny girls who have been practicing for years. I was nervous about how I’d look and feel next to a room full of yoga-lifers. To be honest my reaction has been exactly the opposite of what I thought it would be.
Trying something new and getting comfortable with it has helped me feel like I’m a part of something. I wanted to try yoga because of the physical benefits and to be honest the mental and emotional benefits have become just as important in my life.
I take yoga every Monday night and it gives me something to look forward to all day long. When I walk out of a yoga class I feel accomplished, relaxed and clear minded. It has definitely help me rethink the way I feel about myself.
What’s your favorite thing about yoga?