Have you ever heard of the Rigveda? It is one of the four sacred canonical texts of Hinduism that are known collectively as the Vedas, and it dates to between 1500 and 1200 BC. It is also the earliest known text that includes the term yoga.
Nowadays, you might glimpse that word several times a day, particularly if you are interested in fitness, meditation, or the mind-body connection, but it’s much more likely that you’ll see it in hashtag or handle form. Yoga has evolved over the centuries right along with the people who practice it, and today it is known the world over as a fantastic way to tend to all aspects of one’s health and well-being. But why is yoga so popular? Yoga studio owner and registered yoga instructor Daniele Jarman of Sarasota explains!
- Yoga Can Help You Get Your Sweat On
There’s a popular misconception that yoga involves nothing more than sitting in lotus position and meditating or chanting. The truth is that yoga can be a calorie-torching, strength-building, sweat-inducing workout as challenging as any Crossfit class or boot camp workout.
Whether you are looking for a practice that will push you to your physiological limits, or you want something relaxing and restorative to ease stress at the end of a long, hard day, there is a yoga style to suit your needs.
- Yoga Can Help Boost Your Balance
Another popular notion is that to practice yoga, you have to be able to contort your body like a one-person game of Twister and stand on one foot for hours at a stretch as though you are a Survivor contestant vying for an Immunity Idol. Neither could be further from the truth.
In fact, Danielle Jarman explains, yoga will improve your flexibility and your balance. Practicing regularly increases proprioception, which is a fancy way of describing the awareness of where your body is relative to its surroundings. This, in turn, aids in balance. Although you might wobble in Tree Pose now, incorporating yoga into your life will help you be less shaky as you age.
- Yoga is a Form of Mindful Meditation
One of the most valuable lessons that yoga teaches is breath control. Learning how to breathe deeply, into the diaphragm, at a steady rate, or to achieve different ends will help you off the mat as well as on it. According to Danielle Jarman of Sarasota, who once owned a yoga studio called Exhale, the breath is as foundational to yoga as it is to life itself.
Over the past several years, mindfulness meditation has spent a great deal of time in the public spotlight as a new generation of stressed-out adults begins to seek solutions. Yoga can be considered a form of moving meditation, making it an ideal choice for those who have a particularly difficult time holding still long enough to reap the benefits of meditation.
- Yoga That Is Weight Bearing Builds Strong Bones
Regular exercise is good for muscle strength, but did you know that it also benefits your skeleton? Any type of weight-bearing exercise helps to strengthen your bones, and yoga is no exception. Moreover, yoga’s ability to lower your level of cortisol (aka “the stress hormone”) could help those bones keep their calcium.
- Yoga Is Super Self-Care
If you follow any lifestyle blog or ever pick up a women’s magazine in the grocery store checkout line, you know all about the importance of self-care. The notion of spending Me Time, away from the demands of work, marriage, and raising children has become a buzzword – and an absolute boon to the makers of scented soy candles and bath bombs.
Yoga could be considered the O.G. of self-care. It can be done just about anywhere; while a mat is handy, you technically don’t even need that, let alone any other props or accessories.
And although you could certainly devote hours each day to your practice, even a few minutes spent in sukhasana or utanasana helps relieve stress, rejuvenate your spirit, and restore a sense of equilibrium to your otherwise chaotic schedule.
In short, says Daniele Jarman, yoga is an ideal way for almost anyone to be active. It has a whole host of other benefits besides the ones we’ve outlined today; it is simple enough for beginners while also providing a challenge for even the most experienced yogis; it doesn’t cost anything or require special equipment. There are no prerequisites required for practicing yoga, either, except for the desire to improve physically and mentally.