Whether you’re looking to improve your posture, build your confidence or boost your mood, the health benefits of yoga are endless.
Yoga is one of my favorite forms of exercise but that wasn’t always the case. In fact, I never stepped foot on a yoga mat for the first 25 years of my life. My love affair with yoga began eight years ago, shortly after I embarked on my weight loss journey. For the first time in my life, I was working out regularly by going to Curves three days a week. Since that left me with four open days, I decided to pick up a cheap Yoga for Beginners DVD that I could do from my apartment any time of day, any day of the week. The rest was history and I was hooked almost immediately.
Whether you’re a seasoned yogi or interested in learning more, here are nine reasons why I make it a priority to practice yoga regularly. Like anything, it typically takes about six weeks to form a new habit so I encourage you to give it a try and stick with it. Before you know it, you’ll be doing #YogaEveryDamnDay too.
Why practice yoga daily?
Opportunity to Unplug: In the world of technology and social media, it can be hard to unplug. Yoga is one full hour of being completely tuned out and disconnected from the never-ending social media hamster wheel and I absolutely love it. Guess what I’m thinking about when I’m doing the frog pose? Hint: Not Twitter. Pictured above at the #ChiTownRetreat with two of my favs: Monique and Lynn.
Prevents Injury: As much as I wish I could do #YogaEveryDamnDay, the truth is, I like to do a wide variety of exercises to avoid boredom. That means some days are spent doing wall squats or kettlebell swings while other days I go to kickboxing or boot camp. All of this wear and tear on my muscles actually causes them to shorten and tighten which, if not properly stretched and lengthened, can cause injury. Yoga helps to gently elongate and strengthen muscles which increases blood circulation and helps prevent injury.
Encourages Mindful Eating: At the beginning of my weight loss journey, tracking every bite of food I ate and counting every calorie burned from exercise was, hands down, the reason for my success. Now that I’m at a healthy weight and in maintenance mode, I rely more and more on mindful eating and being aware of my body’s natural cues. Practicing yoga has helped me learn how to slow down and be more in tune with my body’s natural hunger signals.
Increases Flexibility: While I was born with a good amount of flexibility (I’ve always been able to do the splits), that doesn’t mean that I want to lose it as I age. Interestingly enough, science hasn’t yet proved that yoga itself increases flexibility; rather, yoga trains the nervous system to allow yourself to relax enough to enjoy a deeper stretch.
Mood Booster: One of my yoga instructors said it perfectly recently after class: “Hopefully all of you are leaving in a better mood than you came in with an hour ago.” I’ve never left yoga in a bad mood, ever. I won’t bore you with medical studies but research suggests that practicing yoga causes the brain to produce certain chemicals that help reduce anxiety and improve your mood.
Better Posture: Whether you sit at a desk all day or spend too much time checking your cell phone, chances are we can all use a little reminder to keep those shoulders back and sit up straight. Not only does improved posture makes you look taller and slimmer but it is better on your spine. When I am at my desk or sitting anywhere for a long period of time, I always use a BackJoy cushion which helps tilt the hips upright for better posture.
Improves Bone Health: Believe it or not, after the age of 30 we begin to lose bone mass slowly as we age. To help keep our bones healthy and prevent Osteoporosis, practicing yoga is an effective weight-bearing exercise to promote bone growth which helps fight against the inevitable bone loss over time. However, unlike running and various other weight-bearing exercises, yoga doesn’t stress the joints or damaged cartilage.
Builds Confidence: Let’s face it, you feel pretty badass when you finally nail a pose that took months and months of practice (or years in the case of the flying bird pose above!) Yoga requires patience and acceptance of the fact that if you’re not falling on your face every once in a while, you’re not growing. This self-acceptance and sense of accomplishment with each advancement is a huge confidence booster.
Quiets the Mind: One of the most valuable lessons you’ll learn from practicing yoga is learning how to breathe properly. Of course, learning proper breathing techniques is only possible if you slow down and force the brain to be still. This sense of calm and peace that I experience during yoga is pretty much the exact opposite of the rest of my day spent working from home juggling client deadlines with my one and three-year-olds crawling on my lap. Yoga is my me time and I cherish every single quiet second.
So now that I’ve shared a few reasons why I practice yoga regularly, I want to hear from all of you. Why do you practice yoga? If you’ve never experienced yoga before, why do you look forward to trying it out? I’d love to hear from you. And be sure to tag @TheLemonBowl on Instagram if you are sharing any yoga photos!
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29 thoughts on “9 Reasons Why I Practice Yoga”
I love yoga, but for some reason do not make the time to practice regularly. I find myself wanting to lay on the couch instead. Any suggestions for making myself practice, even if it’s just a few postures for 20 minutes regularly?
Hi Jacquie! I would try doing a 20 minute routine that you find on YouTube for free or through Apple TV/On Demand. You can also buy DVD’s at Costco or on Amazon! If you just know you only have to do 20 minutes you should be able to get through it. Keep it up for several weeks and it will become a habit. You’ll start craving it!
Aside from the obvious health benefits, you don’t need to actually go to a gym or an ashram to practice yoga. All you need is enough room and a mat, and you are ready to go. It takes some discipline to get the ball rolling in the beginning but after that its a breeze.
I’ve recently started yoga, Liz, working one-on-one with a teacher for relief from recent hip and spine issues that have kept me from my regular exercise routine. At 66, I’m finally learning to relax and be patient with myself as I incorporate yoga practice into my life. It is helping the pain somewhat and I definitely feel more centered. Thanks for a great blog. I love reading your posts. Maybe I’ll finally get my blog started; several of the pieces are in place and I’m working on the rest. Stay tuned!
Oh this is music to my ears! Thank you so much for your kind words. I’m so thrilled to hear you’ve benefited from yoga practice! My mom is also in her 60’s with chronic back pain. She’s never felt better since we started going to yoga together ever week. Keep me posted on your blog!!
You are inspiring me to get back into my practice!! I’ve been so far behind and out of the game. Thanks Liz!
Oh girl you must get back to it!! The stress relief alone is worth it!!
I’m still more of a yoga dabbler than a routine yogi, but what’s kept my interest in it is how it speeds up my running recovery. Right now I’m enjoying the social aspects of it — there are pop-up groups around my city that allow me to step outside my usual friend zone while actually helping out my health.
Those are all such great reasons!! I especially love your point about it speeding up running recovery. I really think yoga can benefit every other exercise and wish everyone would try it at least once!
your poses are impressive and you look healthy and strong! I have come to love yoga, thanks to my dau;ghter who picks me up in the morning to go. as a chronic pain patient I am very happy with the
relief it provides along with the increased flexibility.
I love you so much Mom!!
I am NOT flexible, but that’s another reason I love yoga! It has helped relieve the aches in my back that probably came from tightness, plus it’s firmed up muscles I never knew I had :) Off to put a BackJoy cushion in my cart!!!
You will LOVE the back joy!! I sit on it every day!!
Fantastic reasons and it’s motivation that I needed! My husband and I have been strongly thinking about starting to do yoga. I use to take yoga classes when we lived at the Military base but that’s been a few years. My cousin is in love with it and I’m sure it would do me some good!
Oh you must start taking it again Angie! It’s such an incredible, low impact exercise and is ideal for all fitness levels. The mood boosting and stress relief of it alone is worth it!
Hey, I have been planning to start Yoga for many years but somehow I keep procastinating. I have started Zumba and do it regularly but still struggle with lower back ache.
Would you recommend the dvd you mentioned to beginners or going to a class is best?
If you have access to a class, I highly suggest it! The teacher can help you achieve proper form for each move which will help you get strong without any injury. If not, the DVD is really great too!
Namaste, my friend! I am obsessed with yoga, and it is pretty much my go-to exercise. Amen to all you shared! And great job with crow pose ;-)
I’ve sprinkled some of my yoga stories in my recipe posts, maybe some day I will devote more time to writing about it.
Thank you so much girl! Wish you still lived in Michigan and we could go together!!
I just love The Lemon Bowl in so many ways and now YOGA, too! I love my yoga practice. I’ve let the number of times I do it slip, but rarely miss my Friday morning class. Now to getting back to my home practices. Thanks for the motivation.
I’m so glad I could provide motivation Jane!! Keep me posted on your progress!
You are a rock star, my friend!
Thank you so much Kristen!! xoxo
I might enjoy trying yoga, but I’m not sure this old body would ever be able to get into any of the poses you’ve posted photos of! I am way less flexible than I used to be, and all too frequently find myself discovering that lack of flexibility. I would have to start out with something extremely simple… I do like the idea of something that quiets the mind, as that is something I have no skill at. Increasing flexibility, as well as strength would also be desirable. I guess if I can learn to climb rocks I could learn yoga.
There are women in their 70s in my class every week Susan! There are incredible modifications for every single move thanks to tools like blocks and modified poses. That yoga for beginners DVD is a great start!
Thanks, Liz. That’s great news for me since I just turned 70 a month ago. Now all I have to do (besides getting the DVD and learning how to use the player) is find some motivation. I’ll need to wait till we get home from the beach because we don’t have a DVD player here. That happens to be true, but ain’t it a great excuse? :-)
You can also find free Yoga workouts on YouTube!
Let me just say that I love following you on IG and this is the first time I’ve stopped by your blog. I love it! Thank you for sharing your yoga journey with us. I actually just started practicing yoga last week, so I’m REALLY new to it. I’m hoping that it helps me to relax and find some inner peace. :)
Oh my goodness thank you so much for stopping by!! I’m so glad you started Yoga!! I hope you love it!!! Stick with it! :)