Do you have a certain activity that always seems to put you back at peace or is your way of grounding yourself? I know for some people, like my husband, running is their form of stress relief. I completely understand why since you are able to zone out listening to music, going over your day, or just enjoying the sounds of the world around you. Personally, I have tried running, but all I think about is “When will this be over?” Obviously it is not the exercise for me! For me, yoga is my perfect way to unwind. I am by no means an expert yogi, but it is consistently the perfect way to relax and destress.
Below are a few of the amazing benefits of yoga and reasons why I keep coming back to yoga.
- Quiets my mind. The 30-60 minutes that I focus on my yoga practice allows me to meditate and focus on creating a calm space both internally and externally. One big aspect of yoga is connecting your breathe with your movement. When you start to connect with your breathe, or breath consciously, it brings you into the present. This allows you to let go of the stressors and distractions that are affecting you. For me, yoga is the one thing I continually come back to help release tension and stress when I am feeling it all over.
- Relieves pain. Ever since I had my daughter, I occasionally have issues with pain in my hip and lower back. Since I started doing yoga regularly, I don’t have the flare ups that I had prior.
- Increases flexibility and mobility: Being more flexible helps to reduce injury and can make it easier to engage in physical activity. I think this is partly why my lower back and hip feel better. I am stretching and increasing mobility to all areas of my body to take the strain off my lower back.
- Makes me feel stronger. Yoga is a full-body exercise. By challenging myself to attempt various strength poses, like crow or grasshopper, I have been able to see just how much stronger I feel with each practice.
- I sleep better: I think a big part of why I sleep better is due to #1. I am able to calm my mind, along with other rituals, and reduce my stress. Pair that mental relaxation with physical activity and you have the perfect combination for a good night sleep!
- Makes me feel like a kid: Yoga has challenged me and encouraged me to try new things. I love picking a yoga pose and working on getting it down. For poses like grasshopper, it can be hard to twist your body and engage your muscles in the right way. I have definitely fallen over attempting new things, but I always giggle and keep trying. One day I would love to do a press up handstand, but until I get there I love attempting handstands or headstands whenever I can!
- You can do it anywhere! I practice entirely at home and have never actually been to a yoga studio. I love that all I really need is a little guidance and a yoga mat. I like the ability I get at home to choose my time to practice and just be with my thoughts. Sometimes that means practicing while cartoons are going in the background, but I also like that my daughter sees my challenging myself in different ways.
If you have been thinking of starting yoga, but don’t know where to start I wanted to share a few websites, books, and Instagram accounts to get you started.
Yoga by Candace: I had tried a yoga in the past, but it wasn’t until I came across Candace’s site a couple years ago, that I really developed a love for it. I like how calm her instruction is during her videos. She also has some great 30 day programs on her site that are free of charge. Each day is different, whether it is restorative, a power flow, or even a HIIT workout. My hope one day is to be able to be a part of one of her yoga retreats she hosts.
Yoga with Adriene: Adriene is another yoga instructor who has some 30 day programs. My husband actually started a 30 day program of hers to help with stretching and flexibility after running. He would never stretch after his long runs and this is helped him focus on the importance of that. Adriene is so encouraging and adds in a little humor to her videos, which makes it easy to keep coming back to her.
Boho Beautiful Life: A great inspirational account following Mark and Juliana, a traveling couple. They share yoga videos from the most beautiful locations, along with tips for living a positive life. (check out their YouTube channel, here).
Yogoskenz: Kenzie is a self taught yogi. She shares her daily yoga flows that are beautiful to watch. She created an e-guide that combines fitness and yoga together. The workouts are only 20 minutes, but in that 20 minutes you work hard! There is always a yoga sequence that corresponds to that day’s workout.
UpsideDownMama, Coffee and Rainbows, and Erin Kelly Art: I watch their flows daily for inspiration on what I hope to be able to do one day! Erin Kelly also has a YouTube video that is very informative.
Namaslay by Candace Moore: This is the same Candace from Yoga by Candace above. I have loved reading about her journey to yoga and the major health scare she overcame. This book is basically an encyclopedia of yoga poses, with instruction, some personal stories, and some yoga sequences. It is so incredibly informative!
Close to Om by Andrea Marcum: This is a book that provides great advice for your practice both on and off the mat. She incorporates stories from her real life to help you relate.
I am always looking for new yoga inspiration. Please share who you follow in the comments below!