Saturday, 19 January, 2013 - 12:44

Making sense of yoga

by Emma Douty

If you haven’t practised yoga yet, you probably think it’s a kind of exercise for people with extremely flexible bodies or maybe for hippies. Not true! Speaking as someone with virtually non-existent flexibility, I can tell you that not only is it something that anyone can do, but also something that everyone will most likely enjoy.

So what is it all about? Well, yoga originates from the period of the ‘Golden Age,’ some 26,000 years ago, in India. Nowadays it is practised as a way to de-stress your mind and tone up your body, meaning that the benefits are not only physical, but mental, too. Most people choose to practise it either in the morning before breakfast, or in the evening after a long, busy day. This way they can bring their bodies into balance and find stillness and tranquillity.

With yoga, the body is stretched and pushed to create muscular strength and power. There are different levels, so you can choose one day to push hard, and then the next to go slow. There is no limit and no requirements, so it suits your body perfectly! You can do it after a sweaty cardio workout, to relieve and relax your muscles. Yoga is a great way to wind down your body after an intense session at the gym.

And the meditation aspect of yoga is just as beneficial. Focusing on your breathing is a crucial practice here; it brings about awareness and stillness within you, so you can de-stress, removing all sorts of clutter from your worried mind.

In addition, yoga is a spiritual exercise. It connects you with your surroundings, drawing out energies and circulating them into your body, so your body and mind are revived. Hatha yoga focuses especially on this. Sessions are often 90 minutes long, sometimes more, because it takes time to truly relax and submit to meditation. You should enjoy this time as it really makes a difference to your physical, mental, and spiritual state.

At a time when so many of us are stressed out, rushing around, feeling the pressure of every tiny little detail in our lives, yoga provides a space where we can just relax and let go, which not only helps us to perform better in our daily activities, but keeps us fit and brings us tranquillity, too.

So, now you know that you don’t need to be any sort of gymnast, ballerina or hippie to get involved, what are you waiting for? Sign up at your local gym and give it a shot.


Have you ever tried yoga? If not, would you like to?

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