As a practice, yoga has SO many benefits, it can help us feel more relaxed, it’s a way to calm the mind, lengthen our muscles, reduce stress, increase flexibility and strength, but one not so obvious benefit is that it actually enables us to love our bodies more, which is fantastic! Not entirely convinced? Here’s five ways that yoga can help you to fall in love with your body.
- YOGA BRINGS YOUR ATTENTION INWARDS
Yoga is not just a physical practice, in fact, it is so much more, and the mindful awareness that you cultivate when you take up the practice is arguably like no other. It allows you to really draw your attention inwards towards yourself, forgetting about expectations that you or anyone else have put onto yourself. Through being mindful we start to realise that there is so much more to life than worrying about things such as social media or even how we look, and this in turn starts to allow us to accept our bodies for what they are, in that moment.
- YOGA GIVES YOU PERMISSION TO NOT BE PERFECT
As a practice, nobody is ‘good’ at yoga; in yoga there is no ‘good’ or ‘bad’. There’s a reason it’s called a ‘yoga practice’ and not a ‘yoga perfection’. Even for the most weathered yogis there are always things to improve upon and this realisation that we will probably never be perfect gives us the permission to realise that our bodies are amazing just as they are, and we can then start to appreciate them and all that they do for us every single day.
- YOU CAN GET FIT WITHOUT THERE BEING AN EMPHASIS ON WEIGHT LOSS / COMPETITION
There’s no doubt that yoga changes your body; it increases our muscular endurance as well as our ability to hold our body weight and also lengthens our muscles through stretching. In yoga the emphasis is usually on how the posture feels or even how you feel in yourself, never on how you look or how well you are doing the posture, there’s no aim to get big glutes, washboard abs or to beat the person next to you- it’s all internal. This way of addressing exercise takes the pressure away from comparing yourself to others and will lead to creating a stronger love for your own body.
- YOGA IMPROVES YOUR POSTURE WHICH INCREASES CONFIDENCE + HAPPINESS
Yoga teaches us to lengthen our spine and really stand up nice and tall, it also increases core strength as well as the strength of the muscles around our shoulder blades and stretches our chest muscles, drawing the shoulders back, all of this leading to better posture. And having better posture has been shown to improve our confidence and happiness in various research, which can only lead to loving your body more as a result!
- IT OPENS THE DOOR TO SO MUCH MORE
A yoga practice opens the door to so much more than just increased flexibility- it enables us to learn self awareness. Through doing the physical ‘asana’ practice, we start to learn about different aspects of yoga and quite often people learn far more about themselves and start to increase their sense of self, which in turn helps us to see how incredible the bodies that we’ve been given are and thus helps us to really truly love our bodies and our selves much more easily! How perfect is that?!