If it’s been around for at least 5,000 years and still going strong, there must be something to it. If you read last week’s article, you’ll remember that yoga is about getting to know yourself and creating a healthy mind, body and spirit. Of course, not all yoga is created equal and you have to find the style that works for you. However, EVERY BODY can do yoga. AND, you DON’T have to be flexible to do yoga. You don’t even have to be able to sit cross-legged. If you haven’t found the right class or teacher yet, keep searching. It’s well worth the effort and trial and error.
In the beginning, yoga can feel intimidating. However, the benefits of yoga can show up after your first class. Let’s take a look.
After One Class
One class might have you feeling all kinds of sensations – physical, mental and even emotional. That’s the amazing thing about yoga – it covers all bases. Sometimes whether you want it to or not!
You might feel like a fish out of water in your first yoga class. After class, your emotions might be all over the place from overwhelmed, to relaxed, to feeling at peace. You might even feel sore. You probably moved in ways you haven’t in the past.
After Two-Four Classes
A few classes in you might notice your mind starts to take a break. You can really feel your breath and you start to notice yourself begin to open, soften and feel spacious.
By your fourth class you’ve figured out how to breathe and move your body with your breath. The practice doesn’t feel so foreign. You might even notice you’re sleeping better.
After A Month
If you’ve taken this on and are heading to practice 2-3x per week (with a teacher or on your own at home), you might notice some shifts in how you handle stress. You might find yourself doing yogic breathing during a difficult moment or just doing a few “yogic stretches” during your day. You might discover you aren’t carrying your shoulders around your ears or clenching your teeth. Of course, all this doesn’t mean you won’t still get stressed, but you are retraining your mind and body to navigate stress differently.
You will also notice changes in your body at this point – increased flexibility, strength and balance.
Also, don’t be surprised if you start to crave yoga or miss it when you don’t do it.
A year in, and possibly before, you might find yourself taking your yoga off the mat. Yoga is starting to become your lifestyle from how you breathe, pause, relax, care for yourself and others.
Your physical body might feel different. You might be sleeping better than ever. You might manage your stress, anxiety, and depression with more ease. You might have reduced or alleviated chronic pain in your body. Your self-esteem and self-confidence may have also changed for the better. And the benefits continue the longer you practice.
Bottom line, practicing yoga consistently you will:
- Learn to let go of what no longer serves you
- Increase your self-confidence and self-esteem
- Become conscious of how you breathe
- Sleep better or more deeply
- Have less frequent aches and pains
- Know yourself better