10 Reasons to Start Your Yoga Journey in 2020
Yoga is more than simply a health trend—it’s a lifestyle. When you take up this practice, it can completely transform your everyday life for the better. As the new year is upon us, you may have been thinking about giving it a whirl. Here’s not one, but ten reasons you should.
1. Yoga impacts every area of your life
“Starting Yoga might possibly be one of the best decisions you make in 2020,” explains Michael James Wong, expert yoga teacher, founder of @justbreathe and author. “Why? Because the benefits of the practice will support every aspect of your life physically, mentally, emotionally and energetically.”
“Yoga works on many levels, and if you can be brave enough to give it a go, you may just find that your body feels better, your mind calmer and your levels of stress and tension dramatically reduce. I’m a big believer in the practice and how it can benefit people in so many different ways and for each person. For so many, the hardest part is just starting, after that the practice will do the rest and you’ll experience value in getting on the mat.”
2. It might change you (for the better!)
Hoping for a positive change this new year? “The practice of yoga is one that truly changes you,” says Camille Vidal, expert and founder of La Maison Wellness “First you might connect more with the physical part of the asana the poses, but quickly you see how much of a positive impact the practice will have on your body and your mind. Yoga allows you to have the time and space to check in with yourself and connect.”
3. It may boost your brain power
Need a way to give your brain a boost? Put down the sudoku and pick up a yoga mat instead. Practising yoga regularly may help to improve your brain functions, according to new research from experts at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
The study found that people who take part in yoga typically did well on brain-based tests and were able to manage their emotions better than the control group. Starting yoga could make you sharper and smarter when it comes to thinking. You might say it’s a win-win situation. Further research in this area is needed to determine its full effects.
4. It will help you slow down
Let’s be honest—the modern world is a busy and hectic place. You may feel as though you’re pulled from pillar to post, in a bid to get through your daily tasks. With that in mind, taking a moment to simply be still is of great value. Yoga can help you do just that.
“When I was introduced to yoga it challenged me to slow down, to be thoughtful with my time, intentional with my focus. Throughout my life this has been the greatest learning and growth. The physical side of yoga has kept me fit and healthy, the spiritual side of the practice has allowed me to shift my perspective to the things that are worth my time and energy,” says Michael James Wong.
5. It gives your life balance
“My yoga journey started over ten years ago and was primarily a physical practice to balance out the very ‘yang’ lifestyle; teaching HIIT and high octane fitness, a modelling career which saw me travel around Europe and internationally—all of which took its toll on my body,” explains Charlotte Holmes, renowned yoga trainer and fitness influencer.
“I accidentally went to my first ever class at 20 years old and hated the fact I wasn’t very bendy or flexible! I was hooked because my ego urged me to be better. Initially the practice was a good way for me to stretch out, check out and slow down.”
6. It helps increase your self-awareness
Building your sense of self is often a life-long journey. If this is an issue that you’ve toyed with in the past, starting a new practice of yoga could be key to your success. Getting in tune with your inner self through the exercise could have a series of real benefits.
“The practice of yoga will give you the opportunity to become more self aware and this self-awareness will be the foundation of your growth allowing you to become your true self and to feel good in your body and your head,” explains Camille Vidal.
7. It may make you happier
We all feel low from time-to-time and managing your moods can be tough. While emotional ups and downs are natural, there are ways in which you can help yourself. Research from the Boston University Medical Center suggests that simply practicing yoga poses on a regular basis can help balance people’s moods and reduce levels of anxiety.
Around 13% of British adults will develop anxiety at some point during their life, according to the latest statistics. Starting your yoga journey could be one way to start managing the problem. Of course, if you are concerned about mental health issues, speak to a doctor who can give you expert advice on what to do next.
8. It could empower and ground you
Ready to unleash your power and become more grounded? These are some of the most unexpected benefits of starting your yoga journey. As you learn more about this activity and practice regularly, you may notice a transformation in the way that you feel.
“When yoga came into my life it became a part of me, giving me the tools I needed to go on a journey of feeling at home within myself,” says Camille Vidal. “The practice allows me to feel, to be, grounding me and anchoring me to the now. It’s a beautiful and powerful practice that makes you feel free and is fun to share with others.”
9. It could even support heart health
Keeping your heart healthy is a top priority. While eating well and exercising regularly is one piece of the puzzle, adding yoga to your routine could also help. With that in mind, starting a new regime of yoga may be one way to protect your heart as you age.
Research from Inderscience Publishers suggests that the heart rate variability is higher in people who frequently practice yoga than those who don’t do it at all. The higher this rate is in people, the more likely they are to have a healthy heart. Put simply, this finding could mean that yoga boosts and supports your cardiovascular health.
10. It has a long-lasting impact
Yoga is for life, not just for January! “Yoga is a practice that can unveil personal benefits in so many ways, the real practice of yoga is not what is done on the yoga mat and in the studio, but how it has long lasting impact on the rest of our lives,” says Michael James Wong. “It integrates into every aspect of our lives and when practiced, with the right focus and intention will have a remarkable uplift to everyday life.”
“We stretch and move the body, not so we can contort into shapes and poses, but rather so we can catch the bus, tie our shoes, get out of bed without pain in the morning and spend time playing with our pets and loved ones. We calm the mind not so we can sit for hours in a quiet room, but so we can be less affected by stress, strain and disdain.”