The third lockdown forced us back indoors and a lack of sunshine invites us under cosy blankets rather than for a morning jog. Maintaining physical activity (and mental wellness), can quickly become challenging. But there is an all-in-one solution that will help you take care of your body and mind at the comfort of your own four walls – at-home yoga practice.
I have been bitten by the yoga bug during the first lockdown; sceptical at first, but deeply in love with it a couple of asanas later. Today I want to tell you about only a few of yoga’s numerous benefits.
1. Perks of controlled breathing
For a long time, I thought that yoga is mainly about doing complicated poses and being immensely flexible. It was only when I began to do yoga regularly that I understood that controlled breathing, not twisting yourself into a pretzel, is the epicentre of a good practice. We all breathe to exist, but not many of us draw attention to the way we breathe. When exercised with awareness, it can support you during stressful situations or boost your energy.
For example, ujjayi pranayama (an ‘ocean breath’) allows you to truly tune in into the sound of your breath and relax. It also helps to let go of any physical tension you may hold. Kapalabhati pranayama (a ‘breath of fire’), on the contrary, can be used as an energy shot. This series of short, sharp exhales and passive inhales, can awaken your mind and involve your lower abs, helping you warm up to ace another day. For instruction to those and more techniques visit here.
2. A healthy routine
Setting a daily routine can be beneficial in coping with anxiety or depression. Yoga can be a perfect addition to it, to either greet or finish each day. Many 30-day yoga challenge videos can be found on YouTube; they can help you get into a habit and motivate you to keep going.
Making space in your schedule for a 20 or 30-minute yoga flow can reward you with a feeling of accomplishment and stability – something that we all crave nowadays. It also comes in handy when your muscles need loosening up from hours spent at the desk. Moreover, yoga lowers your cortisol levels and provides your body with more oxytocin and endorphins. 20 minutes of your day for so many benefits do not seem like a huge price to pay!
3. A perfect self-love course
At-home yoga practice allows you for comfort and intimacy that may be absent during yoga classes in public spaces. It is a time when you can utterly focus on yourself. Adjust poses to your capabilities and focus on how thus poses and breathing makes you feel. The equipment you have or outfit you choose does not matter as much as the kindness and understanding yoga provides you with. Yes, you will struggle. Yes, you will stumble and fall sometimes. But you have to remember that yoga is a practice, and like everything in life, it requires time, attention and kindness to allow you to thrive in it. It is a journey of self-awareness, patience and self-appreciation, as well as a great way to gradually build your physical strength.
It is exciting to keep a track on how your mind and body change in parallel to each other – every day with yoga is different but equally enriching.
If you bought into an idea of becoming a yogi, visit the links below for further inspiration!
Taster Session with the UoL Yoga Society: