Why I do Yoga and Why You Should Too

I’ll be the first one to admit that I am obsessed with Yoga. There are so many benefits to practicing that no matter what age you are, how flexible you are, what style of training you do or do not do, you should be incorporating Yoga in your weekly routine.

Here are my top 4 reasons for doing Yoga at least once a week:

  1. Improves your posture

My favorite thing and one of the best things about Yoga in my opinion is that it can greatly improve your posture. Yoga emphasizes the importance of standing up tall, keeping your shoulders back, sitting tall and not caving into your bones. Designating at least 30 minutes a week to “undoing” all of the hunched over posture that we develop during our lives sitting at a desk can help retrain your muscles and structure to sit, stand, and walk with proper posture.

  1. Increases your flexibility

The second reason for doing Yoga is that it increases your flexibility. Whether your goal is to get really strong, muscular, or to just get healthier and in better shape, flexibility is the key in every scenario. Flexibility allows your body to move. It keeps you young and increases your mobility. This means better range of motion and form for lifting exercises, reduced risk of muscular injury, as well as healthier and happier muscles and bones all around in your daily life.

  1. Improves (and even increases) your strength

The third reason is that Yoga can actually improve and increase your strength in the form of flexibility and balance. Yoga helps you increase your balance through deep core and muscle work. The poses and exercises practiced in Yoga work your body in a way that few other types of exercises can – it works the deep muscular system, those muscles closest to your bones. Holding balance poses for extended periods of time actually makes you stronger and can translate to strength in the gym. Combine that with improved flexibility, and you’re setting yourself up for a mobile, strong, and healthy body.

  1. Keeps you centered and relaxed

The last reason why everyone should do Yoga is because it helps you to keep centered and relaxed. Yoga is a great form of active meditation. It’s so important to reward yourself at least once a week with 30 minutes of deep breathing, relaxation, and recovery. It can help make you happier and will melt the stresses and tensions of the week away. I truly believe in the power of meditation, and Yoga combines this idea with movement and balance to create an amazing experience that is good for the mind and the matter. See what I did there?

So for those who have never routinely practiced, or those who just don’t know where to start, I highly recommend the 30 Day Yoga Challenge. It’s free, it’s easy, it’s fun, and it is instructed very well. Yoga doesn’t have to be something you pay $20 a class for. You can do it in your home, and with this video series, it’s incredibly easy to do so. The videos are no longer than 30 minutes each, some even as short as 12. While I am not practicing every day, I’ve been doing this series no less that 3 times a week. So it’ll take me a little longer than 30 days to finish, but that’s okay.

So get ready to learn a lot about yourself, to relax, and to join in on the amazing powers of Yoga.

Reflections on “Making a (Temporary) Change”

This past week from Monday to Friday I decided to make a change. I didn’t use any social media, I didn’t text, I meditated, and I didn’t eat meat. Here are my reflections on my week:

1. No Social Media

For the whole week I shut off all of my notifications, sounds, little red numbers that pop up next to the app – everything. I cannot begin to express how great of an experience this was. The most important takeaway for me was that those little, tiny, red numbers on the top corner of the app are extremely addictive and infectious. At least for me, every time I get that notification, I would immediately feel like I had to check it, even just so that pesky red button would go away. Turning all of these off was an amazing experience. I had absolutely no urge to go on these sites because I had no idea what notifications I had, and what was going on. And I didn’t care.

I’ve realized that I really don’t have a reliance on social media, but I have an unbreakable urge to go on these apps and sites the SECOND I am alone or in an uncomfortable situation. Not using social media allowed me to break that habit and actually enjoy what was around me. I would suggest everyone to do this. Even for a day. It has been one day back on social media and I already want to turn off the notifications again. It makes you feel so much more relaxed and allows you to check these apps on your own time. 

2. No Texting

I was a little disappointed with this aspect of the week. While I didn’t text anyone, I did check messages in case there was anything urgent I needed to call the person back about. I really enjoyed calling people and having people call me. I like talking on the phone so much better than texting because it’s more personal and meaningful to me, but I did discover the importance of easy and quick communication. Many times I had something quick I wanted to say that would be something to text but I couldn’t and if I called I either would know the person is busy or it would just be a bother. Moving forward I definitely see the convenience of texting but I will try to turn off the notifications more and answer them more on my own time. If something is so important and urgent, I see no reason why not to call.

3. Mediation

Meditation has always been important to me. Taking some time to really center yourself and just relax. I tended to meditate at the end of the day before bed. I have problems slowing down my mind when I try to sleep, so this did wonders for calming myself down and getting ready to fall asleep. Instead of reflecting on my day, I was relaxing body and letting calmness overcome me. It was extremely helpful and I will continue to make these 5 and 10 minute mediations a part of my daily routine.

4. Vegetarianism

This aspect of my week was to learn about other people’s perspectives and remind myself that I am doing all of this to learn and grow. All I can say is that this part was really tough. I without a doubt could not survive as a vegetarian. While I have heard that the first few weeks are the hardest, it was miserable. I felt tired the entire week, sleep didn’t recover me as well as it did before – I would wake up feeling just as tired as when I went to bed and not refreshed at all. I craved meat, not because of the taste as much as I just wanted sustainable energy again. I felt that if I ate some meat I would be energized the way I did before I stopped. I was eating tofu, kale, quinoa, falafel, carrots and hummus, peanut butter, eggs; just about everything that was healthy and vegetarian (because it is very easy to be an unhealthy vegetarian) and I still felt hungry every hour and tired all of the time. My performance in the gym didn’t suffer at all because it was only a week, but I did have to drink coffee more or take preworkout more than usual during this week because I was so exhausted. Definitely won’t be doing this part again any time soon but it was a very enlightening experience. Though I find myself questioning those who are vegetarian just because even more now, but again, maybe if this was a 3 week experiment I might have felt better.

All in all I did enjoy this experience. I am definitely going to be implementing some things I learned and absolutely making some changes in my lifestyle because of what I was able to discover. It was a very calming and interesting week and just one of the ways I plan on testing myself in the near future.