Mind, body and soul: The benefits of yoga
Sports Editor Henry Hood explains why we should all find time to practice yoga.
Can you touch your toes?
I imagine you’re either surprised people can’t, or secretly ashamed you’ve got the flexibility of a pensioner.
Yoga has a strange reputation. I’m sure anyone who sees the word instantly thinks of gurus, meditation and strange green power shakes. But as someone who has done it for over two years now in the comfort of my pigsty of a bedroom, I can assure you it doesn’t have to be like that.
Do you ever find your back gets sore after sitting down all day, or maybe your muscles ache for days after you do a workout? Yoga can help solve this, but the trick is to do it every day.
Everyone knows exercise releases endorphins, and so does yoga, so it’s my very own coffee surrogate.
Ten minutes a day is enough if you stick to it consistently, and supposedly it only takes a month of doing something to make it part of your natural routine. And hold your horses, because before you even dare think you don’t have time to 10 mins a day, go look at your screen time on your phone. Most people I’ve asked have at least three hours, most of which involves mindlessly scrolling through social media. Hell, I do it too.
And you don’t even need to book a class with an instructor in a gym. There’s endless swathes of yoga instructors on YouTube, although if you’re confused on who to pick, I’ve been watching Yoga with Kassandra for the last two years. Either way, you can pick and choose the muscle group you want to stretch, or the length of the video, or the difficulty level. There’s even ‘chair yoga’ for older people or anyone who finds full body stretching too tricky at first.
Now, my routine is to get up in the morning, munch some cereal then do my yoga. I don’t let my day properly start without my yoga. I’m probably addicted, but I’m not surprised. Everyone knows exercise releases endorphins, and so does yoga, so it’s my very own coffee surrogate.
I don’t let my day properly start without my yoga. I’m probably addicted, but I’m not surprised.
Yoga is also great to practice mindfulness too. As students, the days always filled with too many things to worry about. Yoga, as well as any physical activity, is great for getting your thoughts out of your head and into your body. Your mind is forced to concentrate on controlling your limbs into specific yoga positions, instead of wandering and flicking through endless intrusive thoughts and anxieties.
Your limbs also do genuinely feel stretched afterwards. It is alarming as a twenty year old guy that I feel younger after my yoga. I find climbing up the stairs just that bit easier and my limbs just feel less stiff.
Now, go do some yoga. Who knows, maybe in two years you’ll be raving to everyone (whether they asked about it or not) about how good yoga is, just like I am now.