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5 Reasons to Include Yoga in Your Daily Life

Since I became a yoga instructor, I’ve had a lot of curious friends ask me questions such as: “Can I do yoga even if I can’t touch my toes?” “Yoga isn’t just a girl thing, right?” “I’m overweight, can I still do yoga?”


I’m here to tell you YES!


I’m not sure where the common misconception came from, but you don’t have to be able to touch your toes to benefit from yoga. Yoga is about turning inward to our bodies and overcoming physical and mental challenges within ourselves. With consistency, most people will see improvements in their overall physical flexibility, but the greatest benefit is the decreased stress in the body and mind.


Many men in my life have an aversion to yoga because they feel that it’s only “for women.” That couldn’t be further from the truth. Yoga has a 5,000+ year history, and up until the 1900s, women were not allowed to participate in yoga at all! Men experience the same stressors as women, so yoga is beneficial for everyone.


No matter where you are on your wellness journey, there is a style of yoga for you. For those looking for relaxation, restorative is the way to go. For those with limited mobility, chair yoga is a popular choice. For a cardio-focused class, check out a hot, vinyasa flow or power yoga class. For a deep stretch into the fascial tissue, explore yin yoga. Weight, limitations and abilities do not hinder your experience with yoga - you can start anywhere at any time.


See below for 5 reasons to start yoga today!


1. Increased Flexibility

Even though we talked about not needing to touch our toes to do yoga, one of the benefits is actually being able to touch your toes! Yoga allows us to release our muscles by accessing our parasympathetic nervous system (“rest and digest”) and signaling that we’re safe. We learn to find flexibility in our yoga poses by deep breathing and feeling your muscles release. Increased flexibility, especially in the spine, significantly decreases the risk of injury.


2. Proper Breathing

Before yoga, I didn’t realize how poorly I was breathing. Even inhaling for 4 counts and exhaling for 4 counts has made such a difference with the tension and stress I was feeling in my body. Proper breathing, from the top of my chest down to my lower belly, has allowed me to truly release negative thoughts and emotions that I was physically holding onto. Now, when I find myself in a stressful situation, I go back to that 4-count breath.


3. Improved Mood

There’s a reason that yoga is a $12.8 billion industry in the US - it makes people feel amazing! The practice of yoga is firmly rooted in science. When practiced, yoga poses, meditation and deep breathing help to release dopamine, serotonin, endorphins and oxytocin, feel-good chemicals in our brain. Attending yoga at a studio also strengthens friendships and community. Personal growth overall is something that makes us feel fulfilled.


4. Enhanced Mindset

Yoga isn’t just about doing poses (also called asanas) and breathing; it’s also about meditation. Meditation is simple: set a timer (you can start with 2-5 minutes), close your eyes, and focus on the inhale and exhale of your breath. Meditation allows us to observe our inner dialogue without interacting with it. We learn to let go of toxic thought patterns, judgements, and intrusive thoughts. In their place, we find peace of mind, compassion, and empathy for ourselves and others.


5. Supports Cardiovascular Health

The combination of the physical practice of yoga with meditation and breathwork supports the health of our heart. Deep breathing slows down our heart rate, asanas burn calories and encourage blood circulation in our bodies, and a healthy diet decreases plaque and build-up in our arteries.


Over time and with a consistent yoga practice (1-3 times per week), you’ll begin to notice changes in yourself, both physically and mentally. These positive changes will spread to other areas of your life, including your relationships, hobbies and career.


With the 5 reasons listed above, I challenge you to take 5 yoga classes–enjoy!


You can email me at juliaflores1214@gmail.com for a private 1:1 virtual yoga session.

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