Tis I, Tamanda a.k.a. Angasa’s not talked about enough best friend. (Seriously, you would think she would at least try to constantly mention what a wonderful ray of sunshine I am in almost all her posts but alas she just loves hogging the spotlight.)
Anyway, every once in a while Ngasa needs to tell the world about something wonderful everybody should partake in but which she herself is clueless about. So she asks someone like me, who is only half as clueless as she is, to write a guest post.
So without wasting time, here are seven reasons why you should take up yoga (seven because that’s my favourite number, but otherwise there are just so many that I am lazy to do).
I honestly believe that everybody’s ultimate goal in life should be to flawlessly jump into the splits (that and total world domination obviously, but I digress.) It’s really sad and frustrating when I hear people say that they can’t start yoga because they aren’t “flexible enough.” I always have to enter mini-lecture mode and tell them (with as much patience as I can muster) that is all the more reason why they should start yoga. When I first started practicing my hips were so tight that even sitting cross-legged for less than 3 minutes would get extremely uncomfortable. Now however, if I have a good pair of socks on, I can jump straight into the splits with very minimal pain. It’s not as flawless as it should be but I know with more practice my hips will be able to flat pancake on the ground.
This time last year if somebody had told me that I would be able to just do a headstand anytime and anywhere I pleased, I would have probably asked them to share me whatever they were smoking. By that time, I was only like two weeks into my yoga practice and my core was too weak to lift my legs up from the ground. Another month down the line I was finally able to do a poorly aligned headstand- for like two seconds before my weak hands got tired and I would come crashing down rather tragically. Now, a year later, I can hold a headstand for half an hour if I am dedicated enough and don’t get a head rush. I am now working on handstands (and falling rather tragically with these as well.)
3. You get a good bod, (or at least realize your current bod has always been good enough.)
I used to have a lot of insecurities with my body despite everyone telling me it’s a pretty good one. i won’t lie, I am still a bit body conscious but it’s really really hard to remember what you find wrong with your body when you are legit supporting your entire body weight on your head and forearms. Every time I get into poses or do a routine I am reminded about what a complete soft but kickbutt war machine my body is, and the muscle toning is just an added bonus.
4. It reminds you how to breathe
I know what you’re thinking, if you are reading this then you are already breathing. But take a minute to notice how hunched up your shoulders are, how clenched your jaw is and how shallow your breath is. All those are signs of your body being stressed. Yoga teaches you how to relax. One of the key points of yoga is that full expression of any pose is the freedom of inhale and exhale. During practice, the only time you are doing any pose correctly is if you can deeply inhale and exhale regardless of how great your alignment is. The deeper you breathe the more your body settles down, the more it gets comfortable, and the more you release all that pent up tension. Remember, deep breaths are little love notes to your body.
5. It brings your mind and body in sync (some might even add soul)
Doing yoga has made me more in tune with my body. As somebody who also does weight lifting and (on extremely good days) cardio, I can confidently say none of those have made me feel as connected to my body as yoga has. I regularly stop or skip a lot of days of weights and cardio (don’t look at me like that) and even if I feel lousy when I do stop, I don’t feel as uncomfortable as I do when I skip days of yoga. Yoga literally opens up spaces in your body. It helps you pinpoint exact places of sensations in your body. When you skip yoga practice you can literally feel your body tensing up, all the places that you opened up start to close and all your mind can tell you is that you need a good yoga stretch to release it.
6. It teaches you to be gentle with yourself
Remember what I said about breathing? Yeah it’s going to apply here. If you can’t comfortably breath in your pose then you need to back up. Yoga doesn’t push you hard into getting better instead it encourages the art of soft and slow releases. It reminds you that your body is different every day and every single day and that you need to be patient and gentle with just how far you can push yourself.
7. It brings you back into the present moment
Okay, so all the reasons I have mentioned this far are not why I started yoga- I just sort of noticed them after I had already started. I started yoga because I was looking ways to distract my breaking heart from my break up from the love of my life back then. And weirdly enough, yoga was a good distraction indeed. With every practice I forgot about a little each time. Yoga encourages you to forever live in the current moment (and not in times when your heart was ripped out of your chest cavity). It reminds you that you cannot breathe or practice in the past nor can you do so in the future. It tethers you to the present when your mind starts to wander. It’s a gentle reminder that all you have now.
All right Ngasa’s lovelies, I’ve done what I can to convince you to try yoga out. What do you think? Share your thoughts in the comments. And now for my final trick – the splits!