29 Sep Back to the Mat
If you’ve been in a yoga rut lately, or just need a little inspiration to keep making it to your mat, read on!
Most of us initially come to yoga for physical fitness, which is absolutely an outcome, especially at Power Living. But the blessings of a regular yoga practice reach far beyond the physical, and it’s in times like these that our reasons for practicing, and continuing to practice, shine a light on yoga’s multiple benefits.
It is more important than ever to do things that bring us back to centre and equanimity. So how can practicing yoga help us through these times of isolation, lockdowns, and increased screen time? While we can’t wait to reopen our studio doors to you, you don’t need a serene studio to experience these benefits.
Strong, Vibrant Bodies
If you think of yoga as simply stretching, think again. Our classes focus on strengthening and increasing our active range of motion. In yoga, most postures require co-contraction of opposing muscle groups that not only act to stabilise joints but will also strengthen muscles in a lengthened or stretched state, where muscles tend to be weaker. In other words, Power Living yoga helps improve strength through the full range of motion of our joints, promoting physical health and longevity.
Another notable benefit of practicing yoga is that it assists in maintaining bone density, which gradually decreases as we age. When we move our body against the force of gravity, strengthening our bones’ composition by encouraging more calcium deposits.
Aside from contributing to the strength of our bones, muscles, and the mobility of our joints, yoga also has deeper benefits right down to the cellular level. In his book Anatomy trains, Thomas W. Myers looks at the fascial tissue that envelopes our entire body, made of elastic and collagen. His research shines a light on how yoga helps to remodel, heal and hydrate this tissue. From helping to relieve physical tension, to aiding in our cell’s movement of vital nutrients, the benefits of taking care of this fascial tissue are enormous! You can take a deep dive into Anatomy Trains theory in our upcoming Yin Yoga Training
Calm, Serene Minds
Breath is also an integral part of the yoga practice. While breathing is an automatic and unconscious function of the body, by bringing our awareness to the breath, this allows us to tap into the nervous system and help regulate both our body and our mind.
Holding postures whilst maintaining a slow, deep breath cadence results in:
- A decrease in blood pressure and heart rate.
- Triggers a positive effect on our parasympathetic nervous system, which calms and soothes the body, along with stimulating digestion.
- Stress is passed onto the deeper muscles that support the organs.
- The internal organs are stimulated resulting in increased metabolism, better blood and nutrient circulation, and the removal of toxins.
When we anchor the mind to our breath this helps us access the part of ourselves that is peaceful, focused, and calm. This has great benefits for our body and mind, even when we’re off the mat. We want to make decisions in life from this state of being.
This is why we practice – not just to feel calm and centred when everything is going well, but to be able to find our calm and centre in the midst of the wildest storms. So keep showing up on your mat, even if for now it’s online yoga classes. Never underestimate the power of this beautiful practice to strengthen your mental health alongside all its physical and physiological benefits.