meditation

6 Reasons Why You Should Try Yoga

There are numerous reasons why people practice yoga: flexibility, strength, stress relief, spiritual practices or health reasons. Often times, after an extended period of consistent practice, ones reason for coming to the mat changes... mine definitely did. Being active my whole life, I spent hours stretching before and after dance practices, rock climbing and snowboarding. Eventually my stretching became a ritual, something I'd look forward to every morning. I began incorporating some meditation and through time, my stretching regimen turned into a yoga practice. This quickly became an addiction. I felt SO good afterwards - mentally and physically. Spiritually, I felt I was discovering a new part of myself and the world. My "social goggles" were removed and I found connection that I felt I'd been missing for a long time. I now practice daily and reap the fruits on all levels. 

The health, mental and spiritual benefits are very real. Whatever your reason is for coming to the mat, be proud of it and be open to receiving much more than you may expect. 

Here are some of the most significant reasons why you should try a yoga practice if you've not yet.

- Stress Relief

While an unfortunate reality of the majority of the population includes stress, there are many ways to lessen its impact on your mind, body and spirit, one of which is yoga! You've definitely heard a yoga teacher saying "focus on your breathing" or "come back to your breath", but what you may not notice is the impact this has on you. When you focus on your breathing, you're focusing on what you're doing right now, not worrying about what may be or what happened in the past. For example, during a balance posture, you must be in the present moment and focus on your breath otherwise you will fall over. That is what mindfulness practices and through being mindful, you'll notice all of the unnecessary stressors that exist which you can simply let go of. 

- Variety

There are so many different types of yoga! Depending on what you'd like to focus your practice on (mindful movement, spirituality, fitness and health, meditation, relaxation, stretching, strengthening, cardiovascular), you're sure to find a style of yoga that satisfies your needs.

- Improves posture, balance, flexibility and strength. 

Yoga is a beautiful dance of balance: sitting meditation and mindful movement, yin and yang, strength and relaxation, forward folds and back bends. With each asana (posture) you're challenging both mind and body. Beginners: fear not, there are many postures to get you started in your practice. Through time and a consistent schedule, you'll notice great improvements in all aspects of your physical being.

- Better sleep.

Restorative yoga and yoga nidra are perfect before-bed classes. Deep breathing and meditation before going to sleep can significantly improve quality and length of sleep. There are many postures you can practice in bed too: Viparita Karani (legs on the wall pose), seated forward fold, knees to chest, supine butterfly, reclining spinal twist and fish pose! Don't forget to breathe! 

- You'll feel better.

Whether it's a boost of self-love or a more optimistic perspective on the outer world, a consistent yoga practice with a teacher that suits your needs and matches your energy can do wonders to your mental and spiritual well-being. Certain yoga poses make you feel truly powerful (Warrior series, or that post-savasana bliss, anyone?). Setting an intention before a class can have great effects too: focus on leaving the room better than when you entered or perhaps focus the rest of your day towards being of service to others and spreading love and positivity.

- You'll love yourself more!

As you move through each asana, you will notice all of the extraordinary little things your body does for you on a daily basis! Many yoga classes are in groups however yoga is, at its root, an individual practice. When you spend time focusing on moving with your breath, you'll begin to realize how powerful your body truly is - even if you're not able to do a handstand or any crazy inversions, notice the beauty and power in "simple" daily tasks such as walking, eating, breathing, talking and thinking. Your body is truly a magnificent creation.


Yoga is an ancient practice, stretching back thousands of years. The word itself means "union" - to the divine, to nature, to others, to your body, your mind, your spirit. Yoga has so much to offer to each individual's needs, you just have to be brave enough to open your mind to the possibility of receiving more than you think.

~ <3 ~

 

 

Beating Anger 101

What is anger and where does it come from? Let’s take a quick overlook and see what it is that gets our blood boiling and how we can tame it.

Example #1: You’re working at your desk on an extremely important project. A colleague or family member walks by and simply HAS to talk to you, completely disrupting your chain of thought. You get mad - can’t they see you’re trying to get something done?

Example #2: You have plans to meet a friend and they cancel last minute. You get mad - don’t they know how excited you were to go out or see them and now you can't. 

Example #3: You have a spectacular job interview and are sure you’re getting hired… but you don’t. You get mad - don’t they know how hard you worked to get the interview for your dream job!?

What does each scenario have in common? You. You’re getting angry because things aren’t going the way you want them to. Each person inflicting anger in the above scenarios simply had other plans for themselves than you did… and that’s ok. Your universe is not theirs and theirs is not your own. 

How to let go of anger? Change your point of view and expand your compassion. Try to see why others are doing what they do - why is it something important to someone? What are people going through? What sort of difficulties are they facing? 

I won’t lie to you, I was guilty of having had a short temper with certain scenarios and certain people. I’d get frustrated because they wouldn’t behave a certain way I thought they ought to. The root of my anger and frustration was my inability to see why people acted the way they did. As I grew - mentally and physically, I learned to study my emotions as they unfolded. I learned to guide my thoughts from “they should not be acting like that” to “what makes someone act in that way… what is going on in their world to make them behave like that”?

I’m feeling frustrated? Ok. Deep breath… what is causing this feeling? Why am I so angry? How can I change the situation I find myself in? If I cannot change the setting, how can I change my reaction to the events? Reevaluate the situation and challenge yourself to understand rather than react. In doing so, you’re putting space between yourself and the object of your irritation. Take a few deep breaths. Calm your mind. Rethink your reactions. Beat your anger.

Tips to make time for yoga every day!

“ I don’t have enough time.” Does this sentence sound familiar? A large amount of people use this excuse for dozens of things, one of which is a reason to not practice yoga daily. Most of us who have taken a yoga class know that feeling of pure bliss we experience after walking out of a yoga class. We also know the immense benefits we reap from a daily and continuous yoga practice. So why don’t we “have time” for this blissful practice?

Though we’d like to aim for a full one to two hour class each day, even a 10 minute flow after crawling out of bed in the mornings or right before heading back at night can improve your health, mood and ensure you a more stress-free week. 

  1. If you don’t have time, make time. 
  • You’re not practicing yoga for anyone else’s benefit other than your own. You practice because something deep within you craves it - your mind, your body, your soul… or simply because you know it’s something healthy for your body. Ask yourself, why do you practice yoga? Use your answer to this question as your inspiration to make time forward practice. 

2) Keep your yoga mat handy. 

  • If you’re practicing after waking up or before going to sleep, keep your mat near your bed. Perhaps leave it open right beside your bed so that it’s waiting for you when the time comes to practice. Do you practice in your living room? Leave it on your couch so it’s in your way before settling down on your couch in the afternoon. 

3) Do yoga in bed!

  • Before you go to sleep or right after your alarm goes off in the morning try a few of these postures!
  • Sit facing a wall, lie back and slide your legs up the wall, moving closer to or further from the wall depending on how your legs are feeling. Relax your arms out to your side and breath deeply. If you’ve got discomfort in your hips, try placing a pillow beneath your hips!
  • Seated spinal twist! Seated side stretch! Pigeon! Seated forward fold (perhaps resting your chest on a set of pillows)! Childs pose! Supine butterfly! Supine twist! Happy baby! Fish! Knees-to-chest! Savasana - maybe not in the mornings…

4) Plan your flow! 

- If you’re not wanting to think of a new flow each day, plan a simple flow that’s at your level or find an online video, there are literally thousands on youtube!

5) Be understanding.

  • If you don’t make it to the mat every day, be kind to yourself. Sometimes we get thrown more than we can hold and juggling becomes difficult. Practicing yoga off the mat is equally as important as practicing the physical postures. Practicing stress-management, controlled breathing and a let-it-go attitude are all examples of what yoga is about: finding steadiness of mind in each action of our day. 

6) Practice breathing throughout the day.

- Seems silly right, we all breathe without even thinking about it. What I mean is I want you to truly breathe throughout the day. Be aware of your breathing during times of stress, notice your breathing before a big presentation or performance, is it short, hollow or ragged? Take a moment to inhale, deepest you have all day, and exhale long and steady. Repeat this as many times as you feel needed and notice your body, mind and spirit begin to relax and calm. 

If there’s only one thing you take away from this article, let it be this last part. Begin to see your life as a yoga pose, specifically Warrior lll. The first time you rise up into the posture, you may stumble over and fall, but you get right back into it and keep fighting for your balance. Just because you fell over once, that doesn’t mean you stop trying the posture altogether. Life is like that… we trip and we stumble. Maybe not aways with grace, but we should always keep fighting for our balance and keep on breathing through the challenges.