Benefits of Doing Yoga

The word “yoga” means union. Most people in the U.S. think of yoga as a form of exercise or a series of poses. Yoga is actually a lot more than that. You can spend a lifetime studying the history of yoga and different lineages of yoga and it wouldn’t be enough. In the past 20 years, a lot of research has been done on yoga. More and more physicians now prescribe yoga for many ailments. Most importantly, yoga is prescribed as a preventive health measure, rather than a reactive approach to health, after one gets sick.

There are so many benefits of doing yoga. Here’re just the few but not all:

Reducing stressanxiety, and depression

Improving working memory

Improving overall physical fitness and quality of life

Relieving chronic pain

(Credit: Beth Spindler’s article, “No Snark, 5 Great Things About Yoga on Yoga International, Inc.)

How Yoga can be a great alternative to people who don’t like physical movement

If you are the type of person who doesn’t like physical movement, doing exercise is probably very challenging for you because you don’t have the motivation for it. Perhaps for health reasons, or by the order of your doctor that you “have” to exercise at least 30 minutes a day. So, you go to the nearest gym from your house or from your work to sign up for a membership. You made a resolution to exercise and to get healthy, you may even set up for an appointment with the front desk staff at the gym for a tour of the gym and get familiar with all the gym equipment on the floor and make a promise to yourself that you will go at least twice or three times a week. But did you go? Did it last for more than two weeks? Two months? How long did you go? If you didn’t go for more than six months and more, we can help you to stay motivated. How do you stay motivated?

To stay motivated, you really have to get down to the “why” and to understand yourself, your body and your motivation a little bit more.

That’s why you may need a coach to work with you. Take a moment to take this questionnaire and send it back to us:

We may recommend yoga as your exercise if you don’t have any strong feeling one way or another for the type of exercise you want to engage in. If you do, please indicate so on the form.

If you do decide to take on yoga, it is the only type of exercise that really gives you this internal focus because yoga is the practice of pranayama, (breath) and body (postures) and meditation (mind) and using all three.

At the start of Hatha yoga, your yoga instructor will ask you to come to a comfortable seated position, either 1) to observe your breath and develop an internal focus (of your body and breath). 2) to take body scan to notice the way you feel. Only by noticing how we feel can we begin to exert postures to make some changes in our body and taking notice of these changes and thus develop a mind-body connection. Practicing yoga is not like any other exercises where you just follow the sound of music to get yourself psych and do whatever movement you were instructed to do.

Practicing Yoga is Cultivating an Internal Focus and Developing a Mind-Body Connection

Practicing yoga is noticing your internal self, your physical body, and noticing what you need and feeling the sensations you feel at the time, and begin to do postures that will help you to improve your movement. Also, you don’t just follow the yoga instructor in front of the room. Yes, you have an instructor standing in front of the room but that instructor is only there to give you some guidelines on what you can do. You are the only one who knows your physical body; you know your body best. You are free to modify any postures the instructor gives out or use any props that can help you to achieve that pose. You decide to what extent you want to participate or adapt these poses to fit you at the time depending on your own awareness of your internal self. Consequently, you know your physical body more and more, you know what you need to eat or do to maintain your ultimate shape. So practicing yoga is not just good for your physical body at the time of your practice, it has consequential benefits such as gaining an awareness of yourself, your physical body and developing a mind-body awareness that takes skills to cultivate.