Why bother with Yoga?

April 4, 2018 9:29 am Published by Leave your thoughts

Better flexibility. Increased muscle tone. Mindfulness. New friendships. Greater energy. Weight loss. The list of benefits of yoga is huge! Some people take up yoga to recover from an injury, or to prevent one. Others do it to gather strength for the stressful day ahead of them. Behind every person carrying a yoga mat, there’s an interesting reason for trying it. Here’s one such story.

Yoga has many benefits - here's one story.

Why bother with yoga? We look at one person’s story.

Alix is the mother of two small boys, in Glasgow. She was introduced to yoga by a friend and found it fitted in well to a life already busy with work and childcare demands. She explained why and how it works for her.

An energetic workout

First of all, Alix finds yoga a great workout:

‘It’s hard work. Everyone is red-faced and sweating by the end.’

Yoga isn’t just about contorting your body into different poses – depending on the type of yoga you go in for, it can be as energetic as any other kind of exercise.

Incredibly relaxing

The strange thing, Alix continues, is that as well as being energetic, yoga is ‘incredibly relaxing’. She puts this down to the fact that it’s a workout for your mind as well as your body: it leaves you feeling washed clean of the stresses you went in with, renewed and ready for new challenges.

‘The class is tricky enough and fast-paced enough that you have to concentrate on it the whole time, thus not thinking about all the distracting thoughts our minds are crowded with every day. And whilst it’s a distraction, rather than pure meditation, it brings your focus to your body and to what you are doing with it here and now.’

The focusing element of it all is vital:

‘If I don’t fully commit to it and “zone out”, I wobble all over the place. When I empty my mind (which I find VERY hard to do), I can do all sorts of poses for ages – it’s amazing.’

Vagal tone: less stress

For Alix, the most interesting aspect has been the benefits that continue long after the class has finished. She found that doing yoga not only relaxed and focused her during the class, but carried her through the week in a regulated, positive frame of mind. She puts this down to ‘vagal tone’.

‘It’s the tone of your vagal nerve, which influences the release of hormones. Positive vagal tone is associated with improved digestion and lowered stress levels.’

It turned out to have a positive impact for her home life, too:

‘Vagal tone can help children as well – particularly in how they respond to stress or being told off.’

Scapa Fest offers a children's programme of yoga

Yoga has real benefits for children, too

Alix is the marketing manager for Scapa Fest, a three-day festival of yoga and adventure in the highlands of Scotland. It’s our kind of festival – set in beautifully wild scenery, environmentally aware, and full of energy, mindfulness and a desire to reconnect with the natural world. It’s for experts and beginners alike, and for all the family too, with a full kids’ programme . If you’re beginning to think that yoga could be for you, why not check out their website?

 

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This post was written by Yzanne

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