Most of us humans have heard of or experienced Yoga in some shape or form. You may already be a seasoned yogi who has mastered the Downward Dog or claimed your spiritual gangster creds. For others, perhaps this is where the lingering curiosity or even the fear of trying yoga stops and your journey begins.
If you don’t already know, yoga is more amazing than the Instagram posts of super-flexible yogis, tighter than overpriced Lululemon pants, and yummier than Kombucha or coconut water.
The word yoga is derived from the Sanskrit word yuj, which means to yoke or bind. It is often interpreted to mean “union”—the yoking of all the powers of body, mind and soul.
Other than the obvious benefits of yoga such as increased flexibility, balance, strength and relaxation, here are 5 amazing reasons why yoga is so badass:
1. Chill, Homie. Stress, as you know, can cause major issues in the body such muscle tension, digestive problems, insomnia, etc. The breath (Pranayama) is our life force – our energy. By simply deepening our breath while in a seated position, yogis can physically start to deliver oxygen to the right muscles. This simple practice helps release tension, improves blood circulation, and calms our mental state. Other types of breathing include Nadi Shodhana (Alternating Nostril), Ujjayi (Victorious) and Kapalbhati (Fire Breathing).
2. Be a sexy beast in the sheets. Practicing yoga will make you a better lover… in bed. Period. Firstly, you will become more flexible – enough said! More importantly, yogis are more in tuned with their body. With a regular asana (yoga posture) practice, yogis start to become more confident, comfortable and accepting of their body. Yoga increases blood flow into the genital areas, which is important for arousal and erections. Women who practice experience more powerful orgasms as a result of strengthening the moola bandah (pelvic floor). Yoga poses that help open the heart include Bound Angle Pose (Baddha Konasana), Cobra (Bhujangasana) or Boat (Navasana).
3. MVP, Baby. Increase your athletic abilities with yoga. This is a no-brainer. It is no secret that pro football teams include yoga into their training regimens. Did you know that Super Bowl XLVIII-winning Seattle Seahawks made yoga a mandatory part of their training program ahead of their championship season? They did. These poses, along with deep breathing, not only helps athletes with strength, balance and flexibility, but also reduces the risk of injury.
4. Helps keep you honest. I’m not going to lie. Yoga can be challenging. In class, my students roll their eyes at me, walk out of class, or simply give up. Yoga is your waking up call! And waking up sucks! Yoga can be brutally honest. Yogis don’t always bliss out on every challenge. When things get tough and challenging, this is growth – for new space or a pathway to change. Honor and notice these changes. This is what keeps yogis humble, grateful and honest.
5. Hook up (optional). Connecting with other yogis is about being human, about feeling, uniting and feeding off of each other’s energy. Yoga helps you experience each other more openly and honestly with compassion, grace and empathy on and off the mat.
You don’t need to be flexible, a vegetarian or need Lululemon pants to practice yoga. All you need is a yoga mat, an open mind and an open heart. Start the journey to get to the destination. Above all enjoy your journey! Namaste.