The Benefits of Yoga

I don’t like stretching and, in particular, I really don’t like yoga. My regular readers will recall my T25 Focus Challenge where it took me ages to finally try the stretching video. I have always known that stretching is good for me, but I never took it very seriously until now. In my quest to be healthier and take my physical, mental, and emotional well-being into account, I have recently decided to incorporate daily yoga into my fitness routine. I am already noticing improvements, which is a great feeling.

I think the reason that I hate dislike yoga so much is that I’m not very good at it. I’ve had spinal surgery, which means that I’m not exactly the picture of flexibility. I’m also a type A personality and a perfectionist who likes to excel at everything I do. When I find something that I’m not very good at it, I’d rather not do it. However, yoga is something that can actually help my back and even if I will never be doing headstands or other crazy contortions, I can get better (even if better doesn’t mean good).

I have been sticking with yoga DVDs catered to beginners and I’ve been having a lot more success than when I tried to jump right into the many free intermediate level videos online. A few of my favourites are:

  1. Yoga Stretch for Beginners and Beyond
  2. Rodney Yee’s Yoga for Beginners
  3. Biggest Loser: Weight Loss Yoga

I would also highly recommend a yoga block for beginners (like me!).

benefits of yogaThey don’t call it downward dog for nothing!

Why Do Yoga?

The American Osteopathic Association tells us that yoga can help to:

  • Increase flexibility
  • Improve respiration, energy, and vitality
  • Maintain a balanced metabolism
  • Increase muscle strength and tone
  • Support weight reduction
  • Improve cardio and circulatory health
  • Improve athletic performance
  • Offer protection from injury

Do you practice yoga? Dogs make it look so easy!

dog-1133053_640 (2)Disclosure: if you buy any of these products from me, or do any of your amazon.com shopping through my store, my sweet boxer, B, will get some treat money. He thanks you in advance for supporting his cookie addiction and I thank you for supporting my blog.

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38 thoughts on “The Benefits of Yoga

  1. I tried yoga. (Once.) I hated every minute of it. I wish I could get into it. The slow pace and feeling that I wasn’t really doing anything killed it for me. I’m pretty flexible, but my workouts entail a lot more intensity. If I’m not walking out of the gym covered in sweat, I don’t feel like I’ve accomplished a whole lot. Do you have any suggestions for someone like me? I know there are different variations of yoga, but I don’t know even know what kind of class it was that I took… Lol

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I felt the exact same way. My friend DK is a yogi and she told me that if you’re doing the poses correctly, then you should be sweating. She suggested I take a private lesson or go to a class where an instructor could check out my form. I didn’t do that (I’m stubborn), but I did start doing actual yoga videos with great teachers and not the freebies online.

      I find that I do sweat during my flows now and even poses that I used to find easy (because I wasn’t doing them correctly – I just wanted to get through it and be done) make me sweat now. I know that Ashtanga is a fast-paced style of yoga and Bikram would make anyone sweat (“hot yoga”).

      I consider yoga my stretch and meditation time and not my actual workout. I find that it forces me to be present and just focus on the moves that I’m doing and not the next 10 things on my to-do list (which I am guilty of thinking about a LOT). I don’t think I’ll ever love it, but I am finding it helpful overall.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I’ll definitely look into it online. I’ve always been afraid of training myself to do things incorrectly if I learned from a video instead of a person, but I have to say, the teacher in the class I took wasn’t all that helpful 😦 Thanks for the advice and the response!

        Liked by 1 person

    2. I also didn’t like yoga before. But then, I find progress as I continue to practice. Poses will unlock eventually patience is all it takes girls. And a yoga buddie will help you grow to your practice. 😊

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It’s so fulfilling when you can hold on to poses you can’t even imagine doing. If you can be in control with your body, why not with your life. ☺

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  2. Since God is not willing to extend the 24 hour day, I have not CREATED time for yoga. It does offer the benefits you listed. Yoga/flexibility exercises becomes vitally important. It reduces the risks of serious injuries and helps us maintain better functionality. This is something I do have on my future list of activities to incorporate into my life.
    Side Note: As you have mentioned, doing yoga is NOT the same thing as “going through the motions” of doing yoga. Yoga/Stretching requires focus and control. Having the correct mindset creates a huge difference in outcome.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m finding that if I change my mind, I can change a lot of things and have completely different experiences. I used to just rush through yoga flows and be very impatient when the teacher was going too slow (and then my mind would go to all of the things that I needed to get done after the video finally ended).

      Now I actually focus on what I’m doing and try to clear my mind. Yoga is more for my brain than my body and I’m really glad that I added it to my life. I just tack it on to the end of my regular workout and I’m finding that works well.

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  3. I must say that I have been a Beachbody subscriber for almost 6 years now and I love their workouts, I am looking forward to trying the new 22 Hard Corps, but you have hit a nerve with me with the yoga and stretching- those are the videos I usually skip over, until now that I have breached the 40 barrier, I find these stretching videos almost like a hot tub of relief after a good workout.
    Thanks for stretching my view on yoga and those videos I have skipped over in the past!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I am guilty of skipping over the stretch until very recently, so I feel your pain. However, I find that my body and my mind actually crave doing yoga now and, believe, I never thought that I would say that.

      Shaun T’s stretch video in T25 Focus is actually really good and dynamic. I am thinking of doing PiYo next or else the 21 Day Fix. I really love the programs even though they are definitely pricey!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. My wife just finished the 21 day fix and lost 10-15 lbs. I did the exercise videos with her and they were pretty challenging especially with the weights added. We did the T25 and loved the timing of 25 minutes a day- it fits with our lifestyle- I will have to check the stretch video in T25- thanks for the suggestion!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. That’s excellent results that your wife saw, good for her. Did she also follow the meal plan and use those colourful containers? That’s one thing I’m not very excited about, lol.

        I also like the look of the Hammer and Chisel program (one of the instructors is from the 21 Day Fix).

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Yes she followed the meal plan everyday and for every meal- so the system works for sure, it is definitely a change in the way you view food! I haven’t heard of the Hammer and Chisel program but will have a look!

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  4. I started my yoga practice about 2 years ago.
    It’s a love/hate relationship.
    I continue to do it because of the mental benefits I receive from it. I have learned to accept my shortcomings and realize the hardships of others.
    Yoga is so much more than stretching your body. It helps you use your breath to get through difficult poses, and that transitions to breathing through difficult life situations.
    It also plays a big part in improving bedroom activities! 😊
    I hope you reconsider it and give it another try!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I am actually practicing daily at the moment and I agree with all of the benefits that you listed – it’s more mental than physical for me, which is a part of my well-being that I had been neglecting. I still *hate* it, but I force myself to do it.

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  5. I did a semester of yoga and quite enjoyed it but have since given it up. These days I prefer zumba which I know is the complete opposite but it energises me and releases tension, so I guess in a way it’s doing a similar thing to yoga.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Great post. I actually asked for the Rodney Yee DVD for Christmas and received it plus a yoga mat!! I started, only to have the stupid sciatic stuff flare up. I WILL slowly start again. You have confirmed everything my sister in law has been telling me about how good it is for you and how good you feel from doing yoga. Thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I have had back surgey, so I understand your pain. When I’m having flare-ups, it’s hard to do anything (even walk!), so working out is impossible. I wasn’t a believer, but it really does make a difference.

      Keep me posted on how you make out! πŸ™‚

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  7. In my experience, Yoga is hard for some people because you spend so much time just stretching in one position. But it is so beneficial and helps me destress to such a great degree. However, I used to to do Pilates which is exercise based of yoga, but you are moving more and working your core to a greater degree. I suggest starting with that or if you want to do yoga, you can do PIlates infused yoga. Both are great. Thanks for the honest post.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I actually do both pilates and yoga. I feel that pilates is more of a workout and yoga is more for my mind and stretching out after a workout. I think that both are important but I definitely enjoy pilates a lot more!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. What!! I absolutely LOVE LOVE LOVE yoga ❀ But I hated it too before I learned how to do it, and I only really like to do head stands now hahaha

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Yoga is something I found good to get into as you age and muscles start yo shrink and lose their flexibility. I started in my late 50’s and my body just said “yes! yes!” Not only did it help amazingly with my circulation problems and overal health but at 64 I recently had a doctor examine my knee (a long term problem) she looked amazed as my hip pivoted with ease and asked, “Do you do yoga!” I felt good lol!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I’ve read a lot of stories of people who recovered (this way even one’s who couldn’t walk) before due to injury etc. Every case is different but rushing blood and oxygen the the area (which is what yoga does naturally) is sure to help. Good luck! (You should see how amazingly flexible the old folks are in China due to their yoga, Tai chi etc.)

        Liked by 1 person

  10. i should… heh heh… i’m glad to hear you’re having success at it! like anything, it just takes work to get to where you want. the best thing i find about yoga is that you are only ever competing with yourself–it’s always about doing just a bit more than you were previously able to do. good luck and happy to hear things are going well!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s why I like doing yoga alone at home. I found when I was doing classes, I would look around and see people doing the poses better than I could ever dream of doing them. It’s much better to compete with yourself!

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      1. lol! eventually that doesn’t bother you anymore. i did classes and thought like that for a long time but told the instructor to correct/adjust me during sessions and as i was improving, i felt better about it and it didn’t bother me anymore, to see others bent like pretzels and me looking like a 2×4.

        Liked by 1 person

  11. When my back issues were starting to get worse, I decided to try and give yoga a try. I started right in with hot yoga, which is NOT a good choice for beginners and the trainer was not very good at realizing I was a beginner and I ended up leaving half way through because I was scared of injuring myself from not doing a pose correctly (which is very important). So I decided to start out slow and go to classes for restorative yoga and yoga for backs. I think these are REALLY good for beginners because you really don’t do very many intense poses and almost all of them are on the floor. I find these help get you mentally into yoga which I feel like for me that’s what yoga does best–is help bring your mind and body together. After I did a few of those classes I decided to try a class at my gym that was a mix of Tai Chi, pilates and yoga mixed together. To this day I completely LOVE this class. But I have to admit that after the first class when laying in the last 15 minutes of meditation, I burst out crying. It was such a release for me. I think that is when I fell in love with yoga. I still can’t do any of the head/hand stands or crazy holds and twists, but I now do it to clear my head and see how deep I can hold a pose. When you can really loosen up and relax and focus on how powerful your body really is and see what it can do it changes everything. But for some people it’s a very black and white thing–you love it or hate it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I definitely can’t handle hot yoga. Not only do I not really like yoga, but I hate being hot, lol. I agree that it is more mental than physical, which is something I need to focus on. It’s great to read that you’ve had success…there is hope for me, too! πŸ™‚

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  12. FWIW I started doing yoga around 35 or so years ago. My girlfriend at the time taught it, so I became a practicioner. I was hooked from the first session. The biggest thing I got from it was the breath control. I was astonished that by slowing my breathing I could calm myself down. I swear I have used that lesson every day of my life since then. I am only an intermittent yoga practicioner now but will still put on a DVD and spend 40 minutes to an hour at it. The second best thing about yoga for me is the relaxation afterward. I always feel like a new person at the end of that.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The power of breath is really astounding. There are times when I think there is no way that I can push my body further, and my breathing allows me to. I agree though that yoga is mostly for my mind!

      Thank you for reading πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

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