new yoga teacher
How to Overcome Self-Doubt as a New Yoga Teacher
January 13, 2015

Going to the Mat: 5 Reasons You Should Do Yoga

Whether you’re in it for the whole mind-body-spirit experience or just looking to round out your workout routine, yoga has something for everyone.

All too often, people say, “I want to try yoga. It seems great, but I’m just not flexible.” Well, that is the first reason to get your butt to a yoga class, and we’ve got a few more to get you going, too.

1. Increase flexibility.

Practicing yoga on a regular basis will give you flexibility. You might not be doing a split after a few months of practice, but you’ll be surprised at how much your muscles have loosened up. Stretched, pliable muscles are ideal because they help to prevent injuries. Better than that, yoga is a great anti-ager! As we get older, our fascia (connective tissue) gets tighter. Keeping muscles, and in turn fascia, loose will help to keep your muscles young.

2. Improve your mood.

If you’re stressed from work, family, or your personal life, yoga can help. If you’re depressed and looking for a way to get back on track, yoga can help. If you’re already in a good mood and have no complaints, yoga can still help!

Stress activates your sympathetic nervous system—that’s the one that triggers your “fight or flight” response. Unfortunately, our bodies don’t know the difference between a bear trying to eat us and someone cutting us off in traffic. A stress reaction is a stress reaction. Yoga turns that off by activating your parasympathetic nervous system. Think of it as a reset switch. Done regularly, you’ll find that you’re not just in a better mood during and after class, but also throughout your day.

3. Round out your workout routine.

Are you a runner? A CrossFitter? A tennis player? No matter which exercise you prefer, activity results in tight muscles; and by building your flexibility, yoga helps you to stretch out those tight muscles. It’s also important to incorporate some low-impact, isometric training into your exercise regimen.

4. Build strength.

After growing your practice a bit, you’ll notice you can hold poses longer than you did before. Once you start working on more advanced poses, like inversions and arm balances, you’ll notice a major improvement in your upper body strength. Poses like Astavakrasana and Koundinyasana require significant core, chest, and arm strength, all of which you’ll build as you practice.

5. Sleep better, longer.

Studies have shown that a nightly yoga practice will not only help you fall asleep faster, but also stay asleep, therefore getting a better night’s rest. Although you shouldn’t practice a vigorous sequence before bed, there are poses that are sure to help. Try attending a restorative night class at your local studio, for example. Restorative yoga is a gentler style that can be great for sleep if practiced in the evening.

These are just a few of the ways yoga can improve your life. A regular practice can also help you adjust your posture, inspire you to eat better, and give you a sense of community through the connections you make in class. The list goes on and on, but you’ll never know unless you actually try to do yoga! So swing by your local studio and take advantage of new student pricing.

Jennifer Minchin
Jennifer Minchin
Jennifer Minchin is a lover of yoga, words, and a good challenge. After 13 years of a dedicated yoga practice, she continued her journey with a 200-hour teacher training. She has always been drawn to more challenging classes, believing that you can find tremendous personal insight and courage when working at your edge. She believes that yoga is a path to transformation and a great healer. She hopes to share her love of yoga, and what she has learned in her studies, through her writing. Jennifer resides in Hoboken, New Jersey.