Fitness, Wellness

Benefits of Practicing Yoga

Super funny because before this little yoga craze I’m on right now, I had 0 interest in doing it. I mean I used to randomly from time to time just to switch my shit up but then right after I’d be like wow thats not my jam, where the weights at???? But i dont know this last time I started doing it, something was different. I gave it more of a chance, I was patient, and I was very mindful of how GREAT I felt afterwards. I ignored the chatter in my brain that was like “omg this sucks, what are you doing raquel, why are you doing something you suck at, this hurts, your too unflexible.” Instead I really tuned in on what my mind was telling me and how my body was feeling. Which was a great decision because I realized that I do really enjoy it and wanted to reap all the benefits. 

You all know this post was coming up from all of my rave about yoga on my instagram, facebook, and all other social media platforms. I’m annoying I know, but I’ve been totally obsessed with this new practice and I have already noticed so many benefits from doing it for a few weeks. SO, naturally I’m making a blog post on all of the benefits to share with all of you so maybe you can incorporate some yoga practice into your life as well. 

The reasons I want to incorporate yoga into my normal workout regime is because I am inflexible as shit, my balance is crap and I really want to get more in touch with my mind and body. Meditation is a great way to do that but I want to combine yoga with meditation to really align and get in sync with my self. If that makes sense. 

If your considering yoga, and don’t know where to start, or if you feel like you can’t do it… I assure you you can. Everyone literally starts somewhere, and here are some things I have learned about this mindfulness practice that might make you consider it into your daily lives. 

  1. Leans out and elongates your muscles 

This doesn’t happen magically but I did notice it after a few weeks in my leg muscles and my waist. Yoga involves lots of strength poses requiring you to hold them for what feels like forever, your using your own body weight (NOT saying weight lifting makes you bulky), but with the stretching combined with strength, your muscles gain more mobility and lengthen instead of compress. Weight training is awesome, but you have to stretch them out in order for them to grow and elongate. (Which I suck at doing lately oops).

2.  Weight Control

Yoga is a natural stress reliever because it gets you to stay in the present moment, listen to your breath and let go. So when your stress levels go down, so does cortisol which is your bodies stress hormone. Cortisol plays a role in how your body processes fat, carbs and protein and helps reduce inflammation. When your body is under stress and produces cortisol, your body thinks it needs energy fast so it breaks down muscle, skin, collagen and assembles fat for storage. So increased cortisol levels over time will lead to increased abdominal fat, irritability, depression, etc. When your stressed, cortisol levels also increase your appetite which is why you tend to overeat and turn to comfort foods. Yoga lowers your cortisol so none of this mess happens at all. When were calm and relaxed and happy, we feel better and take care of ourselves better. Yoga for the win!

3.  Promotes better sleep quality 

I noticed this one right away! I mean working out in general helps my sleep but with yoga I have become more aware of my breath and being in the present moment so it’s easier to quiet down my mind at night. Also yoga is super relaxing, I always feel so calm after I do just 20 minutes of it because the chatter in your mind shuts right up, its so nice. This doesn’t happen right away, you have to practice it daily and actually stay with your breath which is hard at first cause we all know how noisy our thoughts are. But it gets easier, and you sleep awesome! More scientifically, yoga has been shown to increase the production of melatonin which also helps you fall asleep quicker. 

4.  Improves flexibility and balance

I used to be a gymnast and had amazing flexibility and balance but now I literally have the worst of both. Which is terrible because I workout lots but I hardly stretch. Flexibility and balance are important aspects of fitness that definitely shouldn’t be ignored. Having good flexibility and balance promotes healthy blood flow, good posture and prevents injury so do your stretches!

5. Relieves tension headaches or migraines

Have you guys ever had a migraine? Because wow those suck so bad. As a kid I had bad anxiety and was always worried about everything so naturally I always had tension headaches and migraines. I’ve noticed working out in general helps mine, but yoga directly effects the vagus nerve which research says helps migraines which is awesome! Yoga stretches out your neck and back as well which can create a lot of tension causing headaches. In university I was always tensed up, looking down at my books and computer all day long so I would get frequent headaches. Yoga definitely helps stretch and relax all your muscles by creating more space and aligning everything.

6. Makes you feel strong as fuuuuckYoga has been testing my strength so hard because I’m using all new muscles and holding my own body weight for what feels like forever omg. Yoga requires you to hold a lot of lunges and squats and planks and what not so your really working hard. Whenever I hold a pose for the whole time I’m like DAMN GIRL YOU STRONG AS SHIT. it’s great. But if you think yoga isn’t a workout and is just stretching, uhhhhm your wrong. I mean there is yoga that’s just stretching but the ones I like are hard work and will tighten/tone that bod. So there yeah have it! All the reasons I’m totally in love with yoga now. Yogalates is awesome too it’s a combo with Pilates and it’s really awesome for toning up too. If this ain’t your thing then that’s totally okay too but I had to share the benefits I’ve learned and seen from doing it. I love how much it brings mindfulness and awareness into your life, which helps with anxiety, depression, insomnia, etc. For my practice I’ve been just youtubing yoga videos and trying different ones until I find some I really like.

If your like me and never tried it before recently and you need a yoga mat or yoga blocks to get yourself started, amazon has great options! Check them out:  https://amzn.to/2Eks3pO

Anyways, get moving today, do something good for your mind and body whether it’s yoga or something else!

Enjoy your Wednesday loves, chat soon.

Xo

Raquel

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1 Comment

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