10 Reasons To Develop A Daily Yoga Practice & 5 Tips To Create One
Most yoga teachers and seasoned practitioners will extol the benefits of daily Yoga practice. Although they barely need to say anything, right? The benefits are more often than readily apparent. We’ve all seen dedicated Yoga practitioners shine and radiate vitality and positivity. And if the practice is really working, we will find them sensitive, kind and compassionate. We all want some of that, don’t we?
You know how good we feel after a Yoga class and would love to feel that post-Yoga glow every day. And yet, developing a daily practice is invariably challenging. So many things get in the way, don’t they? Work, family, not having the physical space for practice, illness and injury, too tired, not enough energy, and just plain old mental resistance. In fact, in truth the latter is more often than not the major obstacle between each one of us and a regular practice.
The Buddhists talk about the long-walk to the meditation cushion. They are talking about all the excuses we find not to begin a meditation practice. And they know that even when we really want to start, still much mental resistance can get in the way to make the journey to actually sitting down for meditation a long one. It’s the same with the Yoga mat as you probably know. It can seem a long haul to get into the rhythm of being on your mat every day.
I really want you to enjoy the powerful benefits of a daily Yoga practice on your body, mind and heart. To inspire you to try it out and see for yourself, I’ve listed some of the many benefitsof daily practice below. And please don’t forget that if you need some moral support and guidance, you can join us livestream or face to face for daily morning practice as part of the Radiant Mornings Ayurveda Yoga programme. Classes can can work out to as little as £3.86 each.
A really important note, is to remember that you don’t have to put aside 90 minutes or 60 minutes every day to reap the benefits of a daily Yoga practice. Even 10 or 15 minutes daily can make a big difference to your life, and I guide you towards successfully getting your daily practice going at the end of this blog.
Firstly though, here are ten benefits of daily Yoga practice:
- Increased flexibility. You don’t have to be flexible to practice Yoga and no matter how stiff you feel, daily practice will increase your flexibility and relieve any stiffness you might be feeling.
- Greater strength. And this is a different kind of strength. Daily Yoga might not build the bulk of weight lifters and those who do heavy work outs in the gym. However, nor will it give you the tightness that such workouts often give. Yoga gives you a supple strength. Your body will remain soft but strong. I have gym fitness fans express great surprise at how strong even the slightest framed Yoga practitioner can be.
- Improved posture. Yoga spends a lot of time in increasing the strength and flexibiilty of the muscles that hold you upright; around your spine, in your core, around the shoulders. Postural anomalies such as rounded shoulders, and spinal curvatures can be reduced and even in some cases corrected. Moreover, Yoga brings increased body awareness which includes an awareness of our posture. In edition, a side-effect of moving with increased awareness in Yoga practice, is that we start to move with more awareness and grace off the mat too.
- Support for heart health. Much research has been done into the effect of Yoga practice on the health of the cardiovascular system. Dr Dean Ornish in his programme in the USA for reversing heart disease combined Yoga with dietary prescriptions, other exercise forms, and techniques to work with the mind and stress reduction. His programme became renowned for it’s results.
- Weight Loss. Even restorative Yoga has been documented to help women lose belly flat through the practice of long passive holding of poses, combined with deep breathing exercises. My own students have reported how the restorative classes not only help them to combat stress off the mat but also support them to be aware of comfort eating of junk foods or over-eating when stressed, Bringing awareness to the breath off the mat, can bring a mindfulness to our eating choices and habits.
- Boosts mental-emotional balance. Yoga postures work directly to affect our nervous systems and brings greater awareness to our self-expression through the awareness we cultivate on the mat. Yoga can help to balance our nervous and hormonal systems so that with right lifestyle and dietary choices, we can sustain our ideal weight for our body type. Yoga practices build stress-resilience in asking us to hold a challenging pose with breath and body awareness, and to relax and stay steady within the challenge of a particular posture or sequence. Off the mat this translates into an increased capacity to remain calm and contained in the face of challenging situations.
- Increases energy. Yoga releases blockages in the body, focuses and steadies the mind and nervous system, and works with the “pranic” (energy) system directly, freeing up and harmonising the flow of prana (life-force) within for greater vitality and health.
- Better Sleep. Students invariably tell me that they sleep much better after Yoga class. Much research has been done to confirm that the effect of Yoga on body and mind improves sleep quality.
- Reduces inflammation. Aches and pains are often relieved through regular Yoga practice. And research has shown that pro-inflammatory markers like cytokines are reduced through Yoga practice.
- Enhanced happiness. Both Yoga and Ayurveda understand that our natural state of being is one of happiness. And that when our body, mind and energy are in a state of equilibrium we experience contentment and peace of mind. Also research shows that just one session of Yoga increases levels of a mood-boosting neuro-transmitter called gaba-aminobutyric acid.
To help you reap these and other wonderful benefits of a daily Yoga practice, here are five tips to help you successfully create a home practice:
- Find a dedicated space in your home where you can keep your Yoga mat, already rolled out. Use this space only for Yoga practice if possible.
- Choose an amount of time that you can realistically dedicate to Yoga practice at least four times per week, ideally every day.
- Select a time of day that you will go to your Yoga mat and resolve to go there every day at that time if possible, or at least 4-5 times per week. Make this non-negotiable with yourself. Even if you don’t feel up to practice, you will lie on your mat. I guarantee that once you are there, on your mat, your body will guide you to do some practice, even if it is only one posture that you have the time or inclination to practice..There is a power in just showing up on your mat. You are honouring your own resolve, and that will motivate you further.. You are also keeping to a discipline. Much of the power of Yoga is in the discipline and order it requires that we bring to our lives. This impacts the body and mind, supporting health and happiness..
- Practicing as soon as you wake up, before beginning anything else is best. Practice before your distractions begin. And practicing in the morning first thing, sets you up with all the above benefits of practice for the whole day.
- Ask a Yoga teacher to help you make a personalised balanced Yoga practice that will last for your chosen duration of time.
After a little sustained initial effort, you will soon come to the point where getting onto your Yoga mat is as natural and effortless as cleaning your teeth in the morning. It positively impacts your day, and so it is simply something that you do. In fact I have heard it said that whilst in the beginning we may struggle to get up a little earlier, ultimately our practice calls us out of bed.
The Yogis say, “What is nectar in the beginning is poison in the end, and what is poison in the beginning is nectar in the end.” Once we overcome the initial resistance, we find the absolute gift of regular Yoga practice.
Please do join us online or face-to-face for the Radiant Mornings programme.
You are welcome to join a daily practice with our Radiant Mornings group for one week or one month. This will give you camaraderie and support to get you going with a benefits-laden, life-enhancing, daily Yoga practice.
Enjoy a trial offer of just £15 for unlimited access to one week’s classes (50% discount). Contact me and simply message “trial offer” to join us for a week. Details about the weekly sessions are here.
Love and best wishes
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