What is yoga and what are the benefits?

Here's your need-to-know about the celebrity-loved workout...

what is yoga

by Emily Hirst |
Published on

We all know those people that have seriously got their lives together, right? Journaling, daily green smoothies and a gruelling fitness regime with room for chic outfits and an elegant glow.

We’d be lying if we said that we weren’t a teensy bit jealous of those who actually have the time for wellness in between the throws of working a 9-5 or navigating a hectic social life (that’s a job in itself, tbh).

But, we are here to tell you that yoga is the practice that you need to squeeze into your already crammed schedule. And we promise that there is so much more to it than nailing that perfect pose or shopping for the most stylish athleisure.

Even if imposter syndrome is rearing its ugly head, remember that you deserve time for self-care and mindfulness - regardless of your ability or whether you’re unconvinced into unearthing that long-forgotten sports bra.

You’ll see that the benefits speak for themselves…

What is yoga?

Yoga is a spiritual practice that has become popular with those looking to incorporate self-discovery with physical well-being.

We chatted to an expert in the field, Josie Da Bank, who is a Yoga practitioner and co-founder of the beloved UK festival, Camp Bestival.

She explained: “Yoga is an ancient spiritual practice from India, in Sanskrit Yoga means to unite. To unite the breath with a posture however simple and slow.

“Most importantly Yoga helps to settle the mind and the nervous system which is so often needed these days - as we live our lives in fight or flight mode.”

What are its benefits?

Yoga has a whole host of benefits, integral to both your physical and mental health.

The practice can even improve sleep, strengthen your core,relieve the symptoms of menopause and reduce period pain.

Josie detailed: “There are many more health benefits such as strength and flexibility but the most important point is not how flexible you are, it's how soft you can become inside by breathing with movement.

“After a yoga practice, we are in a much better place to meditate. I can’t stress how much a daily yoga and meditation practice can help with mental health.”

What are the different types of yoga?

There are various types of yoga, with a range of adaptations to suit every ability.

Josie spotlights her favourites: “There are Hundreds of types of Yoga, everywhere you go in the world you seem to cross paths with a new variation. My favourite practises are Kundalini, Vinyasa flow, Yin and slow and controlled Hatha.”

How does yoga help promote wellness/help with mental health?

Yoga is often praised for its positive impact on mental well-being, but there is a scientific explanation.

Okay, here’s the sciencey bit: because yoga is a low-impact exercise, it can lower stress hormones whilst increasing beneficial brain chemicals like endorphins. An increase in the production of these feel-good chemicals typically helps improve our overall mood and can decrease the effects of anxiety.

Josie highlighted that the practice of Yoga can relieve anxiety and our daily stresses, adding: “It slowly eats away at the overloaded worry we carry.”

She went on to win us over with this explanation: “Yoga makes every cell of your body sing. The breath you create nourishes you on the inside and out, it reaches cells in your body that no other exercise can.”

What’s not to love? BRB, off to invest in a yoga mat.

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