We asked local yoga expert and Halston yoga teacher, Pam Fairclough to give us 5 (there are many more!) reasons why you should give yoga a go. Read on below to hear her persuasive points…
1. Yoga Improves Flexibility
So many people say to me “I’m not flexible enough to do yoga – I can’t even touch my toes!” and my response is “that’s why it would be good for you to try yoga!”
Contrary to what many people believe yoga does not have to involve complex contortions of your body or extreme stretches such as the splits. The style of yoga that I teach (which is hatha based) aims to achieve a healthy level of mobility in joints and muscles in a safe way. Our lifestyle, occupations, sporting activities or just advancing years can result in some parts of our body becoming tight and inflexible. This can cause discomfort in the affected area, but also put stress on other parts of our body. Yoga helps us to identify and address these tight spots safely and effectively, making it easier for you continue to do what you love to do.
2. Yoga Builds Strength In Your Muscles & Bones!
The strength building benefits of yoga are often overlooked. Many of the yoga poses that we do in class are designed to build strength in our muscles and bones whilst lengthening other muscles at the same time. All just using our own body weight – no need for any equipment!
Maintaining healthy strong bones is important as we age if we are to avoid osteoporosis and easily breakable bones. This is a particular issue for women who are more prone to osteoporosis.
3. Yoga Improves Balance
A balanced (no pun intended!) yoga class will always include one or more simple balance – mostly standing, but sometimes seated or kneeling. Practising balancing helps to develop your proprioception – the ability to feel where your body parts are in relation to space. People with bad posture or bad functional movement often have poor proprioception, potentially making them less effective in their hobbies or sporting activities and more prone to avoidable falls.
4. Yoga Increases Your Body Awareness
Practising yoga in a mindful way i.e. focusing on your breathing and where you are feeling the muscle engagement will help you to become more familiar with your body. You may for example identify unhealthy breathing habits, poor postural habits or where you unconsciously hold tension in your body. We can work on these issues in the yoga class, however with this new insight you can work on addressing these issues outside of the class too. You may even discover something about your mind as the way that we practice yoga and the thoughts in our heads as we do so can often be a reflection of how we live our life!
5. Yoga Relaxes Your System & Makes You Happier
Yoga encourages you to relax, slow down your breath and be in the moment, focusing on whatever pose you are in. Slowing down impacts on our nervous system, shifting the balance from our often over-engaged sympathetic nervous system (fight or flight mode) to the parasympathetic nervous system (calm and relaxed mode). This is why you should leave your yoga class feeling happy and relaxed!