I think we all, at some point in our life, have been told the numerous benefits that yoga practice can have on our health and wellbeing. It is often stereotyped as ‘Yoga isn’t manly enough’ or ‘Yoga is only for flexible, skinny and young people’. Rest assured that these stereotypes are not true and from my personal experience of practising yoga for many years, it has helped me to improve my mental health and wellbeing in so many ways.
When I first began attending yoga classes, I started as a total beginner. The main goal for me was to explore the numerous mental health benefits yoga could provide.As a former athlete, I often get asked about the good time’s sport gave me and the highs of being a British Olympian. Which, don’t get me wrong, is great! But life as an athlete wasn’t always straight forward and there were lows too. Being a professional athlete can be stressful both physically and mentally.
Yoga is a natural anti-depressant remedy that can help boost your mental health. For me, this is achieved through the self-awareness aspect of the practice. When I first began exploring the benefits of yoga through classes, it gave me a greater understanding of my body and my state of mind. Whether I felt negative, confused, or positive, yoga helped me develop a clear mindset for the pathway I wanted to achieve next.
As you well know, like all of us, life isn’t always plain sailing. There are often times, where stress and tension can play a role during the day. I’m certainly not perfect and I accept that there are going to be highs and lows with everything I do. Remember, its only natural and we’re only ‘human’! That’s why I chose to take yoga seriously, as a remedy and with its proven ability to improve general wellbeing and lower stress levels, it’s perfect! I have found that mind-body practices like yoga, where the focus is on deep, restful breathing, allow your body to relax and create a state of deep rest and calm.
I also found that yoga taught me to self-study. Whether it was physically or mentally, the practice helped me to create clarity in certain parts of my life at any one time. All it requires me to do is breathe, relax and maintain a positive posture.
Give it a go! Start by practising yoga at a time that suits your lifestyle. If you are fortunate enough to be a member of a gym, ask if there are classes available as they are great as you try it with like-minded beginners like yourself. But if you don’t feel comfortable with doing yoga around a group to start with, go online! There are some awesome Youtube instructors that not only teach yoga in ‘baby steps’ but also talk to you about why yoga could benefit you. Here are a few online options to choose from that are my favourites -
- Youtube - Yoga with Adriene
- Youtube - SarahBethYoga
Why not try them and see which one you like best 😁
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