Yoga: five reasons to give it a try

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This week I introduced the students of Green Acres Enterprises to yoga (see header image).  As you can read on the charity and community page this is the amazing centre based just outside Staverton, Northamptonshire that Nurture is supporting this year.  As a volunteer I go weekly to do physical exercise and nutrition classes.  At the end of the year Nurture will make a donation to the centre ensuring that everyone who books a programme or session in 2020 gives something back to the community.  

I have become increasingly interested in yoga since I embarked on an intense course to try and improve my balance problems associated with Meniere’s Disease.  Below are my favourite reasons to give it a go.

It is for everyone

Whilst traditional impressions of yoga may conjure images of lycra-clad celebrities in priceless retreats or Bhuddist monks in agonising poses this couldn’t be further from the reality today.  Yoga is reaching all ages, cultures, religions, shapes and sizes. It’s popularity is spreading rapidly across a range of demographics from muscular sportsmen and women to pensioners and even babies.

There are great benefits for physical health

These range from the more obvious increased strength and flexibility in our musculoskeletal system to the slightly less obvious such as reduced blood pressure, arthritis pain relief and improved weight control, sleep quality, digestion and immune function.  (Please note, if you are looking to yoga to help with a medical problem you are advised to consult a medical professional first).

There are great benefits for mental health

The increased connection between the mind and body and the importance placed on breathing in yoga practice has been shown to give significant improvements in depression, mental agility and anxiety.

You can do it anywhere

A funky looking yoga mat may be desirable but it is by no means essential.  You can practice anywhere in your home or outdoors without any equipment. Numerous poses are performed standing so the surface does not even need to be soft.  If is a little uneven, so much the better it will make any balance poses all the more challenging.

You can make it your own

People turn to yoga for different reasons. For me it plays an important part of several aspects of my life which is why I practice daily, even if I only have a few spare minutes.  The strength poses enhance the power I can produce in my running, the stretching and flexibility helps prevent and rehabilitate any injuries and the balance poses allow me to train my brain to adapt when my inner ear gives it unpredictable signals.  Crucially at the end of a busy day the relaxation and breathing elements ensure I get a good nights sleep, wherever I am.

Attending a local yoga class can be a great way to get authentic hands-on tuition and meet like other yogis.  There are also some brilliant online channels which can be a useful source of free information and sessions to get you started. One of my favourites is Erin Parks who presents Five Parks Yoga.