World Peace and 6 other reasons you should try Yoga in 2016!
Yes I know there are always fads, phases and trends when it comes to exercise, but after hitting the mat for a year now and moving from one class a week to attending almost every day, sometimes twice a day, yoga is no longer complementary to my physical regime, but has become my fitness mainstay.
Proving just how far I have transcended, I have conquered the obligatory wheel on the beach pose.
More people than ever before are practising yoga and numbers are growing.
Seriously, yoga is not a new craze, it’s been around for thousands of years so why haven’t I noticed/embraced/sampled it before?
(Who remembers slide classes in aerobics? Yes a FAD!)
But just like one of yoga’s mantras is enlightenment, I have come to profoundly know I am hooked.
I follow yoga-themed instagram accounts, a tree pose has overtaken a forward roll as my new party trick and I am even considering yoga retreats as a holiday destination. (Although to be spiritually true to myself I am only looking at those in exotic locations that combine something like snow skiing or drinking cocktails by the beach as well. And no judgement please yogis are without ego.)
I am also buying more yoga tights in ridiculous colours than black running pants.
But I didn’t take up yoga to join the in exercise crowd.
Like many other women (and indeed men) of my generation, sports injuries particularly netball and years of pounding the streets running have taken a toll on my knees (mostly), back (spasmodically) and motivation (haphazardly).
In fact I tried yoga reluctantly, under the stern instruction from my knee doctor and my physio and of the misconception that yoga is to power walking for women what cycling is to golf for blokes at this new age. Trendy.
I was wary of the hippy-like spiritual stereotype, of the belief it was boring and the most physically challenging aspect was chanting.
But take a breath, as I explain why you should at the very least give yourself permission to give yoga a go in 2016.
- You can exercise while lying down.
If you do have a stiff back or sore knees when you wake up, go early and you can lie down before the class starts. In fact sometimes you start the class prone and anytime you feel tired or dizzy or light headed or stuffed you can lie down.
* Of course yoga is about yin and yang so if you are looking for a workout you can make it as tough as your like or choose a studio that suits.
2. It is a new form of active-wear fashion and a new reason to shop.
I started wearing my running gear to yoga, boring black with uncomfortable zippers. But there are soooooo many online businesses selling all forms of tights and shorts and crops and towels and headbands. Some studios even tout their own merchandise. So It’s a whole new world of retail therapy as well.
“Downward dog in your active wear could become a new chant.”
3. You are learning a new language. (I was studying French but c’est la vie.)
Every pose has its own name. They all seem to end in “asa” or ‘unga” and I can’t explain the pride you feel when one of the teachers direct you into one of these “asa” poses and you know what to do without cheating by looking at the person in front (or behind if you are in downward dog).
4. You gain a new understanding/perspective on otherwise unattractive animals- so zen!
Clearly if Disney or Pixar has not yet made a cartoon hero of an animal then they really must be the ones that can’t be cute-ified in big screen colour.
But in yoga they are the stars of the show.
- the lizard
- the pigeon
- the camel
- the crow
And while I may not look cute doing them I am positive I at least appear animated.
5. It’s good for your skin.
Unlike running or hiking or rowing or many of the other exercise altars women my age worship to, yoga is indoors so you don’t have to wear sunscreen and you don’t squint and accumulate wrinkles.(Okay a bit of stretch there, pardon the pun)
The yin (or yang depending on your point of view) is that you can’t skip a class using the “it’s raining” excuse.
6. It helps world peace.
Words like “mindful” and “respectful” are used constantly. Instructors tell you to leave your ego at home, it’s not (supposed to be) competitive and to practice compassion, tolerance, and acceptance and to honour yourself and others.
In this day and age of terrorism and seemingly increasing violence, aren’t these great affirmations to hear daily?
7. It’s good for your sex life.
Really do I need to explain? Did you see the number of animal poses?
Bottomline (in fashionable, colourful, comfy tights) there are now so many forms of yoga finding one to suit shouldn’t be as hard as conquering a wheel.
From POWER conducted by former pro basketballers to HOT held by entrepreneurial young mums at the beach to BIKRAM under the watchful third eye of a healer to FLOW which covers pretty much anything to SUP which is weird but done in water on a paddleboard and within the yogi realm of acceptance.
So it really is the year to practice the latest exercise craze five thousand years in the making. Especially if your doctor advises it.
*(according to 2015 IBIS World report)