3 Ways Yoga Can Change Your Life

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Published: May 6, 2014

Yoga is popularly known as a relaxing form of exercise that can help improve muscle tone and flexibility.

The word “Yoga” means to yoke, and the practice of yoga is the practice of yoking the mind and the body. For the journey towards a healthy life, this connection is imperative. Why? Because when you are fully present in your body, you are more likely to spot areas of imbalance that affect your life, your work, and your health.

The slow movements in a yoga practice mixed in with short bursts of flow is the perfect way to examine how you react to uncomfortable situations. Change, towards a healthier lifestyle in particular, is one of the most uncomfortable situations we human beings face because it means that we have to acknowledge that something is not quite right, to begin with.

Here are three ways in which yoga can help you build the healthy lifestyle you desire.

You are permitted to slow down

A healthy lifestyle is about balance. Our society puts a premium on productivity, and slowing down for the sake of it doesn’t fit into the productivity ethos. Taking up yoga is a way to slow down while still being productive. This is because you are taking the time to engage in an exercise while satisfying your need for relaxation.

It’s easy to get started with our highlight of yoga studios in Nigeria, yoga DVD recommendations and more. Keep reading.

Yoga methods such as Hatha, Restorative, and Yin Yoga are taken at a slower pace than the more popular Power Yoga. This slower pace can help you practice slowing down when you just want to add something to your already packed to-do list. Slowing down in this way can add the much-needed balance to a healthy lifestyle regimen that consists of HIIT and jogging.

Your brain takes a backseat

Our brains are amazing organs that we cannot live without, but sometimes our thoughts get in our way. The primary reason for difficult-looking yoga poses is to get you out of your head. Trying to execute an inversion like headstand will be next to impossible and downright dangerous if you are focused on your fear of falling. Such poses require your complete and utter focus on your body and your breath, and in these situations that is the only purpose for which your brain is required.

yoga can change your life

Bottom line when you are practicing yoga, your body takes center stage. When you are trying to change your lifestyle connecting with your body is critical, and a regular yoga practice will help you learn how to do so when needed. Knowing your body will reduce the odds of you eating when you are not hungry or pushing past your limits in your exercise class in a way that will hurt you and sideline your progress towards your goals.

You have the opportunity to break barriers

While it can be slow-paced, a yoga practice offers you the opportunity to cultivate mastery. Yoga is one of those movement methodologies that is accessible to everyone – advanced practitioners and beginners can find a home in the same class. This is because there is a modification for everything, whether it is a modification to make a pose more or less challenging.

Being able to achieve poses that you might have thought were impossible can bolster your confidence to break barriers in other areas of your lives, and breaking barriers can help you realize that you can reach the lifestyle goals that you set for yourself.

 Yoga can help you handle high stress like a monk, and it can also help you finally realize that taking up running to lose weight is not as impossible as you once thought.

A good start

If you can’t make your way to a yoga class today, you can still reap the stress-relieving benefits of yoga by focusing on the core of every practice – your breath.

Take some time, even if it is only five minutes, to sit in a quiet space, close your eyes, and focus on breathing in and out through your nose. You can take this further by counting in your mind as you breathe, so breathe in for four counts and breathe out for four counts. When you are done with your chosen time, slowly return to normal breathing and open your eyes. That is all you have to do.

Breathing in this manner can have a calming effect on your nervous system and this effect along with conscious movement is what helps relieve stress. So start with the breath, and then take it a step further by finding a class to help you move consciously.

Yoga Studios

Lagos: Chi Yoga

Abuja: Express Hot Yoga

Recommended Yoga DVDs

  • Cameron Shane: Budokon Beginning Practice – This is a combination of meditation, yoga, and martial arts for those who are not quite sold on a straight yoga class. It is short, sweet, and will sweat you out. There are three follow up DVDs should you be interested in further exploration. Available on Amazon.
  • Shiva Rae: Daily Energy – This is a DVD by one of the top yoga teachers in the U.S. Her 20 minute sessions in this DVD are a goldmine for busy women and she has some great, creative sequences. Occasionally spotted on Jumia and also available on Amazon.
  • Bryan Kest: Power Yoga Complete Collection –  Don’t let the Power Yoga name discourage you as it is a very accessible DVD and he offers modifications where possible. If you have at least 50 minutes to practice, he is your guy. The DVD has three levels that will allow you to grow your practice as you get stronger. Just start at Level One and progress. Occasionally spotted on Jumia and also available on Amazon.

One more …

  •  Yogaglo.com: If you have internet access that is fast enough to stream video, Yogaglo is the perfect way to start a yoga practice at home. They have a huge variety of teachers and yoga styles to explore and you can search for classes based on durations ranging from 5 minutes to 2 hours and levels start from beginner all the way to advanced. The upside is you can try it for free for 15 days.

To learn more about different types of yoga, read Hatha, Vinyasa, Hot Yoga: Making Sense of It All

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About Ejiro Ogenyi

EJ (Ejiroghene) is a Lifestyle Coach and owner of the Team by EJ Ogenyi LLC. She helps busy women lose weight without taking their eyes off their other priorities - their families, their careers, their wallets, and their lives. She is a Certified Personal Trainer and Nutrition Coach and she enjoys bringing her skills and her experience losing weight herself to the awesome task of helping her clients create healthy lives and bodies that they absolutely love. She is also a wife and mama to a beautiful little boy.

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