20 Reasons to Practice Yoga Online
Sep 26, 2018 | RUTH STEEL
1. It helps you live in the present with all that is around you.
Most of us spend the majority our time thinking about the past or the future (regretting, worrying, scheduling), or checking out completely into the land of social media. Many of the benefits of yoga stem from the ability to unplug and focus on what’s going on in your body and in your life right now. Happiness can only be found here as all we have is now. And whilst that’s all well and good in that one class a week at your local gym that you all too often, guilt trip yourself for not using enough. Being present at home, with all that’s around you, including partners, children, animals, friends, stress, noise & energy, can be harder than it sounds but Yoga online can offer a motivational helping hand to encourage your self-discipline for self-love.
2. It helps with stress relief at home where you need it most.
Yoga reduces perceived stress and anxiety, which in turn reduces the physical effects of stress on the body. By encouraging relaxation, yoga helps to lower the levels of the stress hormones such as cortisol. Related benefits include lowering blood pressure and heart rate, improving digestion and boosting the immune system. What is the point in gaining all these benefits in the gym or Yoga studio, then losing them as soon as you walk through the front door, look in the mirror & say something unkind to yourself reverting to that unproductive frame of mind. Yoga online helps you adopt a more positive frame of mind & provides opportunity to find your peaceful space in your own home & where ever you go.
3. More restful sleep.
When we are less stressed we sleep better, and vice versa. Physical activity and mental relaxation fuel this worthy cycle. A variety of studies have shown that yoga can improve sleep quality and quantity in people struggling with insomnia. Other studies have shown similar results in other groups of people, including cancer survivors and postmenopausal women. Have you ever practiced Yoga from the comfort of you own bed? With Yoga online, you can take this one step further, relax & enjoy being safely guided through a gentle practice on the Mat, on your bed as well as utilizing every available floor/wall space and items of furniture in your home, for the benefit of your health & well-being.
4. It will make you stronger mentally & physically
Yoga is a full-body workout, targeting all the muscles of the body with both static holds and dynamic movement. You’re supporting your own body weight, building functional strength in areas where you really need it as well as strengthening & calming the mind. This is strength with purpose. To gain maximum benefit from a Yoga practice. It’s much better to practice, little and often throughout your day rather than one 90-minute class a week and wondering why there is no real progression or noticeable change in mindset, physical ability or lifestyle. In my own experience, Yoga online has opened my mind to get creative with the space you live in daily and to utilize it more often, lengthening the spine & hamstrings whilst waiting for the kettle to boil, using every seated moment as an opportunity to practice a simple hip opening pose. Practicing Pranayama & meditation whilst doing the chores you loathe can completely alter your experience of life.
5. It can help relieve chronic pain
Studies suggest that practicing yoga reduces pain for people with conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis, autoimmune diseases, and hypertension as well as arthritis, back and neck pain, and other chronic conditions. If you’re worried about your ability or think you need to be flexible to practice or gain the benefits of Yoga, you are very much mistaken. When my Mother Debbie was diagnosed with Cancer, the last thing she would have wanted to do is go to a Yoga class surrounded by seemingly able-bodied practitioners. To make it even easier to practice where ever you feel comfortable, and with safe guidance that is tailored to your personal needs, have you considered Yoga online?
6. You will gain flexibility AND mobility
People often talk about flexibility, but what’s MOST important is mobility - the functional flexibility that makes it easier for you to complete everyday movements and tasks that require kneeling, bending and reaching - or maybe just sitting more comfortably at work/in an airplane seat if you frequently travel. Yoga increases mobility so that you can bring more ease to your daily movement and don’t feel so stuck in your body. There is a quote I love by Sadhguru – “The body is a machine that gets better with use.” Never has that been truer in our society today and ‘Old Age’ is no longer an adequate excuse for lessening mobility.
7. It helps the body detoxify and aids in organ function
Physical activity increases the motility and mobility of the organs and muscles, allowing them to perform their natural detoxification process. Pranayama breathing exercises enhance the function of the lungs. Sweating speeds up the cleaning apparatus of the body. With an alarming increase in toxins being consumed orally through animal products as well as through the skin with harmful chemicals via cleaning products & toiletries, it is no wonder that there is such an increase in cancer patients all over the world. We’ve always known that smoking is harmful for the body but if you consider that eating meat and absorbing harmful chemicals is JUST as dangerous, there is all-the-more reason to detoxify the body as often as one can.
8. Gain a sense of inner calm
Yoga quietens the intricate mind. At the very beginning of the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali is Sutra 1.2: Yoga chitta vrtti nirodha, or “Yoga is the stilling (regulation, quieting) of the turnings of the mind.” Yoga teaches us how to step back from our busy thoughts and maintain a state of inner calm.
9. It reminds you to breathe!
Our breath and emotions are very much connected. Yoga brings awareness and control to our breath patterns, allowing us to notice when our emotions are affecting our breath, and using the breath to calm our emotions. Sometimes a deep breath is what separates you from saying something you will regret! The more you can connect with your breath, the clearer you think, even in difficult situations. A rather jovial friend once said to me, “Learn to breathe? I’ve been breathing all my life, I think I’ve got it down.” Whilst this is true, consider that the breath is both subconscious, as it continues keeping you alive all by itself but also can be conscious as we can choose to inhale more deeply, hold & retain the breath and exhale with awareness & control. Were you aware of the last 10 breaths you took? Pay attention to the next 10, without changing the breath…it may be harder than you think to keep the mind centered on the breath alone.
10. You enhance proprioception
We only get one body to live in, shouldn’t you get to know it better? Yoga has you turn your mind inward to what your body is feeling right now. Where are your legs and arms? What are they doing? Which muscles are active or passive This practice develops your skills of proprioception, which in turn leads to better posture, balance and far less injuries.
11. You will build your self confidence
Yoga requires you to challenge yourself. You will struggle at first, sweat, probably fall over more than once and gain the odd juicy bruise that comes with balancing on the hands. And guess what: no matter how you look and feel in your practice or how many poses you fall out of, no one is going to judge you and you’ll always feel great afterwards! Most importantly, if you dedicate yourself to practicing daily, even if it’s just 10 minutes of meditation, you will see improvement. Together, these experiences build confidence to take on challenges beyond the mat and accept all that simply is, in life.
12. It helps with weight management
Yoga is exercise, and you do burn calories doing yoga. But even less vigorous styles of yoga can help you control your weight by reducing stress, bringing mindfulness to your whole lifestyle including eating habits, and providing a heightened sense of well-being and self-esteem. We have two homes on this earth - one is your place of residence, the other is your physical body. Ask yourself, which one is more important to maintain & look after?
13. You become a part of an ancient community
Although Yoga is a personal practice - no one can put in the hard work required but you - When we practice yoga, we become a part of a two-thousand-year-old tradition that gives us tools for enriching our lives with philosophical and spiritual, as well as health enhancing practices. That solo practice, suddenly feels a lot more connected not only to yourself but all others & the world around you, positively altering perception of life.
14. It will improve your posture
By combining core strengthening with mobility and proprioception, yoga can help improve posture. Better posture reduces anxiety, improves productivity, reduces back pain, and helps you breath better throughout each day.
15. You will encourage an attitude of gratitude
By clearing your mind and bringing awareness to your body and its capabilities, you can experience just how much you have to be grateful for in your life. Many yogis begin and end their practices by dedicating their time on the mat to someone or something important to them. I think we can all agree that the world could use a little more gratitude & kindness?
During my Yoga teacher training in India, a teacher said to us, “For a positive person, anything is possible.” I remember thinking, ‘You’ve obviously not been through what I have’ - following an abusive relationship then the death of my wonderful Mother. I was in that negative head space that I’m sure you can relate to, but the thing is, the more I opened and learned of others pain & trauma, I realised that we all experience suffering & it’s an integral part of life. More so than ever, I am grateful for all that I have, each nourishing breath I take and each walking step with my working legs! These simple subconscious things are gifts, taken too early from some and never given at all to others.
16. It can be liberating and help unlock stuck emotions
Your practice is a safe space to work through emotions you maybe haven’t let yourself address directly or didn’t even know you needed to address previously. Sometimes breath and Asana can trigger crying or irritation, laughter or joy. That’s totally normal, so don’t try to rein it in, lean into it and consider it productive (and cheap) therapy. A wonderful and wise teacher called Rupda says: 'I would rather FEEL my emotions than let the subconscious store them in the body.' This is so incredibly true and over the years I've become aware of my personal experience with grief, fear & trauma directly correlating to my neck & back, storing incredible tension whenever I am blocking and not releasing these emotions.
17. It helps with concentration
Distraction and ‘multi-tasking’ are some of the challenges of our time along with the demands & pressures of social media. Concentration is shifting your focus from many things at once to one singular thing at a time. Observing your body, breath and emotions through a yoga practice teaches you to focus your mind on one thing. It is proven that as you observe your breath, it will slow down, and that as the breath slows down, the mind will follow suit. Over time practicing focus will shift you into a peaceful but aware state, which will recharge the mind and can help enhance your mental ability and creativity.
18. Deeper breathing reduces stress, depression and inflammation
In addition to being relaxing, deep breathing has been proven to physiologically impact the heart, brain, digestion and immune system. Deep breathing also alkalinizes the body, keeping it balanced in its naturally slightly alkalinized state which in turn, lessens our chances of developing cancer and other illnesses.
19. You will become more playful
Practicing yoga encourages us to approach new and challenging situations with curiosity and playfulness instead of ego and frustration. As adults we tend to lose our sense of play and rarely attempt new things, like balancing on our hands or our head. Taking on physical, mental and emotional challenges as part of a daily ‘practice’ instead of a ‘performance’ - helps us tune in, once again, to our ‘child mind’ - where we are less goal-oriented and more present from moment to moment.
20. You will have better sex!
Studies have found that a consistent yoga practice significantly increases levels of testosterone in the blood, which is in turn correlates with increased sexual desire and activity in both men and women. Other studies have shown links between yoga and a variety of satisfaction aspects in the bedroom, including confidence, connection and performance. I ask you, what else requires rhythmic breath, movement & intention than sex and finally - raise your hand - those of you who still think Yoga is just for women!? #realmendoyoga
There are 2 billion people who practice Yoga around the world, because it works! Yoga can be such a compelling practice for discovering new friendships, new perspectives and new communities. Go out and explore. Find inspirational teachers and be inspired by your fellow practitioners. There is a global community of yogis waiting for you.