I was just a regular person. Three years later — I feel like a superhuman. I’ve learned to stand, sit, lie down, and relax in a comfortable manner. I’ve trained my nervous system and subdued my senses. I’ve undergone unbelievable self-improvement and transformation. My deepest gratitude to yoga!
1. Yoga Practice Increased My Energy
Strenuous exercises indeed boost our energy and mood level, but a proper yoga practice does even more. While workouts, such as cardio and aerobics, increase cortisol levels, yoga practice decreases them. Cortisol, often nicknamed the stress hormone, can be great for the body as it helps to control blood sugar levels and regulates our metabolism. But on the other hand, if we are consistently living under pressure, cortisol levels in the blood can rise to dangerous levels that can cause an imbalance in other hormones. It is a linked chain that often leads to serious health issues and mental instabilities, such as anxiety and depression. The emotional and health benefits yield by my regular yoga practice helped me balance my hormonal levels. They also improved my stamina and increased my enjoyment of any other workout that I undertake.
2. Yoga Lowered My Chronic Pain
Yoga practice can reduce chronic pain. Back pain, neck pain, sports injury, whatever it’s that you are facing, it is possible that regular yoga practice can help you deal with it as it did with me. Kinds of yoga, such as Yin or Iyengar, is your practice type. Furthermore, there are various asanas and other yogic practices specially designed to improve certain body parts. No matter if your pain is gross or subtle, numerous studies propel the pain-relieving effects of regular yoga practice, which can further bring improvement in any other workouts you like. Remember, when dealing with chronic pain, better check with your doctor before starting any physical activity to prevent further damage.
3. Yoga Boosts My Sleep
To get the body function at its fullest, we should get a night of proper sleep. Performing even a short yoga practice of as little as twenty minutes before falling asleep has become something like a tradition of mine. Yoga practice can increase melatonin release, leading to more restful sleep, relaxed muscles, and increased energy. Furthermore, gentle pre-sleep yoga practice plays an essential role in my sleep as it relieves everyday stress from my shoulders. Another simple technique that can be done by anyone even in bed is Yoga Nidra. Yes, you read that correctly, in the bed. Practicing Yoga Nidra brings me a sense of profound relaxation during my sleep, which in turn increases my desire and energy for a strenuous morning workout.
4. Yoga Reduced My Impulsivity
Most of us suffer from compulsive behavior in some way or another. Yoga has become my therapy to alleviate tension and stress and also helped me curb even two culprits that have been disturbing not only my workout practice but my health as well — smoking and overeating. But how? — you will ask. Here is how — training yoga increases serotonin levels. This hormone stabilizes our mood, emotions, and feelings of well-being. The deficiency of serotonin is often associated with anxiety and depression — two causes that awaken constant craving for fast serotonin release. Surprisingly, this craving can be satisfied extremely rapidly by both nicotine and simple sugars. Even though they can calm our nervous system in the short term, they often have a long term detrimental impact on our lives. Luckily, being disciplined with well-established yoga practice stabilizes our serotonin levels, plus it teaches us how to control our impulses and manage our senses better. Forget about impulsive shopping, overeating, drinking, or whatever is that it’s dragging you down. Yoga will help you to get yourself together and master your behavior!
5. Yoga Taught Me Discipline
Yoga practices mean to prepare our body for meditation, which requires a lot of self-discipline and self-imposed regulations. Practicing yoga with mindfulness and awareness helped me to go deeper within and eradicate sluggishness and taught me self-restraint, one of the most crucial concepts for success in our lives today. Self-control brings up stability and builds a solid structure in one’s life. By learning to be responsible and respectful to myself, through the practice of yoga, I learned to behave in a consistent and controlled manner, and what can be more beneficial for a good workout than a well-defined and maintained schedule?
6. Yoga Improved My Endurance
Yoga practice, such as Ashtanga or Bikram Yoga, can improve coordination, strength, flexibility, and balance, as long as practiced regularly. Sufficient intense physical activity, such as in Ashtanga Yoga, improves the cardio-respiratory connection, hence uplifting physical endurance. Furthermore, this study released in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research emphasizes muscle improvement when performing yoga asanas in a sequence manner, such as in Bikram Yoga. I’ve been practicing both — Ashtanga and Bikram at home, self-taught. Sometimes is required to maintain in a standing balance position for up to sixty seconds in some postures, while in others is stressed on forceful, controlled isometric contractions of upper- and lower-limb muscles. These yoga practices are very engaging, and everyone can experience improvements in coordination, balance, and increase muscle strength if practicing consistently.
7. Deep Yogic Breathing Calms My Heart-rate
When it comes to anxiety and stress, yogic breathing techniques can bring magic into our life. Our breath is the simplest and fastest manipulator of the autonomic nervous system that regulates body processes such as blood pressure and breathing rate. During and post-workouts, I learned to exert conscious control over my breathing rate through yogic techniques such as deep diaphragmatic breathing. This technique triggers the parasympathetic nervous system and lowers our heart rate almost instantly. Through the stimulation of the vagus nerve, a nerve running from the base of our brain to the abdomen, I’m now able to take control over my respiration and manage stress and anxiety, and even some small nervous crisis. How about that? Plus, breathing techniques improved my lung capacity and efficiency, which allows me to push it through that last set of exercises at the end of my practice that always challenges me.
No more waiting. No more excuses. Become your self-starter, stickup to consistent practice, and you too can improve your health, increase your workout performance, and acquire a peaceful mind.