So I’ll be the first to say that I really didn’t understand the hype with yoga.  It always seemed to me that people did it when they wanted an off day from the gym or wanted to get a good stretch from a hard workout the day before, But after trying a yoga class through classpass last year I realized just how wrong I was.  Yoga is way harder than a lot of people think. I by no means am a yogi, but it’s definitely something I love to do now and am hoping to get better at.  

Between the health benefits and how much it helps me stay focused and get balanced in the middle of a lot of stress, it has become something I try to incorporate into my schedule at least once a week. Especially now in the midst of a job transition, moving apartments, my sister’s recent engagement and summer vacations, yoga has been something I can always rely on to help me relax, destress, and re-center myself. There are so many benefits that I really feel like everyone should be doing it, even if just a little bit here and there.

It improves your balance and posture | A huge part of practicing yoga is learning how to control your body better and feel where all your muscles are. You also have to hold poses for long periods of time, and some of those poses require a lot of steady balance on one foot or on your hands. Most people sit all day for their jobs, so their posture is poor and their balance is wanting. Yoga can help correct some of that.

It helps you sleep better | When you’ve spent time stretching your muscles, you sleep better at night. Especially for people with chronic insomnia, a preliminary study has shown that people who practice yoga get more sleep and better sleep after practicing.

It improves cognition | Believe it or not, certain yoga poses help your brain function better. Regular exercise will help the hippocampus retain its volume. The hippocampus is the part of the brain that does a lot of memory and reasoning.

It relieves pain | For people with chronic muscle pain or constant back pain, some low-intensity yoga can help stretch sore muscles and alleviate that pain. Yoga is not as concerned with calorie-burning as it is with getting in touch with your body. All the slow, methodic stretching may activate some otherwise dormant muscles and release the tension that causes pain.

It’ll better your whole lifestyle | Once you start doing yoga, the rest of your life habits will start to fall into place. You’ll start to adapt the good, healthful lifestyles that are promoted during your classes and effortlessly begin to start eating and drinking better.  

It improves your muscle tone and flexibility | Ask any professional athlete, and most will tell you they have yoga incorporated into their rigorous workout routines to improve flexibility and make sure all of their muscles work together properly. People who practice yoga regularly build up a lot of endurance, stamina, and core strength.