Blog, Special, Yoga
Five Beautiful Benefits of Yoga Practice
What is Yoga?
Yoga means union, a reference to the state of body-mind-spirit harmony sought through various disciplines, such as postures and mediation, all designed to harmonize one’s body and mind, and access a state of unity and wholeness.
Wait… say WHAT?!!
Sometimes an explanation such as that can turn people away from yoga.
We may think, “that sounds like something for hippies,” or “I don’t want to sit, chant, and talk about weird, chakra thingies.”
Do not fret.
To simplify it, Yoga is not about being able to stand on your head, twisting yourself into a pretzel, and/or seeing colours radiate from your neighbour’s head.
That said, it is important to understand Yoga is not solely about physical activity, and one certainly need not be in peak fitness and flexibility to do Yoga.
Most importantly, Yoga is not a competition; I always ask my students to “leave their ego at the entrance,” and not to worry what anyone else is doing on their mat. When you can do that, you can enhance your practice.
“A flower does not think of competing with the flower next to it, it just blooms.”
Benefits of a regular Yoga practice
One can practice yoga for physical benefits, psychological benefits, or both. Yoga is an on-going practice to improve both physical and mental health, to let go, and to find calm in our everyday, busy lives.
Here are 5 benefits of Yoga practice:
1) Regulates body weight
Although you may not burn as many calories doing yoga as high-intensity interval training, yoga has a way of regulating your body weight and can restore the hormonal balance in your body.
Yoga lowers cortisol levels and lessens the nervous system’s “fight or flight” reaction.
This in turn aides in reducing stress: one of the main culprits contributing to obesity as well as other diseases.
With this, we are less likely to overeat or crave “comfort food” to suppress unpleasant emotions.
2) Mental Health is Greatly Enhanced
There is such an abundance of psychological benefits to Yoga.
To name a few, those who practice yoga often have less anxiety, less stress, and less hostility.
A regular yoga practice can be a wonderful release for the mind and emotions, which in turn lowers depressive states, and increases compassion and forgiveness for yourself and others.
Your motivation increases, self-actualization increases, as well as overall mood and sense of well-being.
3) Increased Flexibility
People often tell me, “I can’t do yoga. I’m not flexible – I can’t even touch my toes!”
That’s the point!
You need not start off being flexible for Yoga – this is what Yoga brings to you with time.
Little by little, you will increase your flexibility, and when you do, you greatly decrease your risk of injury.
An effective, flexibility training program can improve your physical performance and help reduce risk of injury.
By improving your range of motion, your body begins to require less energy to make movements and you will have more flexible joints, thus lessening the likelihood of injuries sustained during workouts or any other time.
4) Yoga Enhances Memory & Cognitive Functioning
It may seem strange that a practice which involves breathing and stretching can enhance your cognitive functioning, but people with a regular yoga practice become better at learning, have increased memory capacity, and retain high levels of concentration.
Many of these benefits are attributed to meditation – arguably the goal of all yogic practice – as we work to clear the mind of all excess thought, and pinpoint our focus on our breath and/or current feelings and surroundings.
Over time, this will help you at school or on the job by improving brain function.
5) You can do it anywhere
You don’t need a dimly-lit, sacred space blessed by monks with burning incense and chanting in the background.
You can roll out your mat in your bedroom, back yard, or carry it with you on holiday.
Do you even need a yoga mat?
For some yoga exercises, yes, it is highly recommended for your comfort and safety.
However, I have done yoga while sitting at a desk.
Yoga is not always standing in lunges and having bare feet.
The breath is key, and you can do controlled, mindful breathing exercises anywhere, even when sitting in standstill traffic… though I strongly advice keeping your eyes open if you’re the driver.
Yoga Classes at Qamea
What should I expect in a session?
Qamea Resort offers daily, 1-hour Vinyasa (or “flow”) yoga sessions every morning and afternoon in our beautiful, open-air yoga sala near the beach.
During your practice, you will be surrounded in the smells of our rich fauna, as well as soothing sounds from the birds and the ocean waves.
Though you will often experience some of the same postures and movements in each class, there is no set pattern or routine, which gives each class a unique feel.
The instructor will tailor the class for the level of participants, while still offering modifications for those new to yoga, as well as advanced options for those with an established yoga practice.
Private Yoga Sessions
Don’t want to practice in front of others? Qamea offers private, 1-hour classes that can be held in the regular yoga sala or in the comfort of your own bure.
Want to give Yoga a try or want to keep on your regular practice during your holiday?
Contact our resort when you book, or connect with us if you have any questions for our Yoga instructors.
Just remember: Yoga is not about touching your toes; it is what you learn on the journey down.