My first encounters with yoga happened when I was young. I built up years of first-hand experience feeling the powerful positive change a yoga session can make. Every class I took left me feeling terrific. I was more focused, more confident, and stronger.
I was taking classes two or three times a week by the time I was in college. Yet, it was after having undertaken yoga teacher training in Bali and teaching yoga for a full seven years, I finally listened to my body and built a daily practice routine for myself. The turning point was realizing that I always felt worse – physically and mentally – on the days I didn’t practice yoga.
Learn from my mistakes! Put together a daily practice sooner rather than later! If you’ve experienced that great high that comes from a productive yoga class, take steps to bring that into your daily life. Don’t wait until you’re struggling with insomnia or recovering from an injury to unlock the benefits of daily yoga practice.
What Are The Benefits?
Because I believe so strongly in the benefits of home practice, I’ve taken the time to outline them one by one:
1) Home yoga practice costs you nothing!
2) You can build an effective daily practice without any sort of special equipment. You don’t need a special environment, either; yoga works on the floor, on a rug, or on the grass in your backyard. That means your practice is portable, too; even when you’re on a trip you can keep up with yoga.
3) You can practice yoga wearing practically anything. Climb out of bed and go straight to it in your pyjamas! Special shoes or pricey yoga clothes are not required.
4) Your personal daily routine can (and should!) be tailored to your specific needs. Set your own pace and concentrate on the poses that are most effective for you. You can even vary things day-by-day based on how you feel.
5) Yoga is a terrific productivity booster. If you think that yoga won’t fit into an already-busy schedule, please, just try getting up early for a half hour of practice. The long-lasting boost it gives you will make your whole day easier to manage.
6) Daily practice elevates your energy levels, too. Practising first thing in the morning will stimulate blood flow and increase your oxygen intake. These physical benefits will give you more energy to face the rest of your day.
7) Practising yoga regularly makes it easier to maintain a healthy sleep cycle. Yoga practice focuses your attention on the present and helps you let go of stress. This, in turn, reduces your level of cortisol and keeps stressful distractions from keeping you awake when it’s time to sleep.
8) Daily yoga practice also boosts your immune system. This is another benefit of its cortisol-reducing effects. Yoga further helps you resist diseases by keeping your lymphatic system drained and stimulating the key organs (lungs, heart, kidneys, etc.) that clear your body of harmful pathogens.
9) Yoga practice is terrific for keeping your joints strong and flexible. This is particularly important as the effects of ageing take hold. Strengthening your joints with yoga reduces your chances of injuring yourself and can limit the severity of injuries you do suffer.
10) Yoga is great for your feet. If you work a fairly sedentary job and keep your feet captive in shoes all day, you may be putting yourself at risk for all sorts of irritating or debilitating foot problems. Examples include pronated ankles, flat feet, plantar fasciitis, shin splints, and pain in your knees. Yoga can help prevent all of these issues!
11) Regular yoga practice can be a strong weapon against anxiety. Mindful breath work and mental focus can protect you against anxiety all day, not just while you’re practising.
12) Your yoga practice sessions set an excellent posture precedent to carry into your day. Better posture will reduce the amount of tension you hold in your neck and back. Yoga keeps your head up throughout your day.
13) Your daily yoga session is a perfect way to get the “me time” we all need. A quiet, contemplative time set aside just for yourself can be vitally important, especially if your job involves lots of social interaction. Regular, restorative yoga tops up your supply of energy for working with other people.
14) Last and best of all, daily yoga practice can give you a powerful sense of purpose. Integrate motivation with your daily session by starting off each day with a firm intention. This need not be anything grand; even a simple intention to be more present and mindful can make your day more purposeful.