The Yoga Bug And Why It’s Spreading Fast
The transition from doing yoga ‘so I can touch my toes’ to becoming a yogi.
The vast majority of people start practicing yoga because they feel that it will improve their flexibility. They’re obviously correct, even people who have never stepped foot on a yoga mat know that a yoga practice involves lots of stretching and twisting. Some people want to improve their strength and balance, and yes, there’s a bit of standing on one leg and some super beings even work up to balancing on one hand (I’m nowhere near being one of those…yet! 😉 ). Others start because they haven’t exercised for many years and see it as a gentler and less intimidating option over working out at a gym. They’re correct too, in fact the European Study of Cardiology published findings from the European Journal of Preventative Cardiology, (ref ) which shows that people who practice yoga reap many of the same benefits as people who practice more conventional forms of cardiovascular exercise. The yoga participants in the study decreased their blood pressure, lowered their ‘bad’ cholesterol and reduced their body mass index in line with results you’d expect to achieve working out at the gym. Impressive, right?
Others start a yoga practice because they want to improve their posture, help to heal old injuries, cure their insomnia, feel more energized and reduce fatigue, relieve tension and reduce chronic pain, increase their lung capacity to help with asthma and other breathing difficulties, improve circulation, increase their ability to concentrate and focus, improve IBS and other digestive issues, reduce stress by learning how to breathe diaphragmatically or just reduce stress full stop. Some do it to get that serotonin buzz exercise gives you or maybe just to tighten their buns and guns…and guess what? Yes, yes, yes, yes and you’ve got it, yes!!! Yoga helps with all of that!!!!
So it might seem quite surprising that although yogis do enjoy the benefits of all of the above, it’s so much more that gets them pulling on their stretchiest pants and yoga slogan vests on such a regular basis. Yoga helps us return to homeostasis. It helps us balance and calm ourselves, literally from the inside out. It teaches us to be present, to remain grounded; solid as a rock! It teaches us to appreciate everything that’s special about us and embrace everything we thought wasn’t so special. It teaches us, ‘so what if I can’t stand on my head!’ I’m doing the best I can for me right now’. It teaches us to be kind to ourselves and to others, without judgement and without an agenda. In fact, it teaches us to befriend ourselves.
So maybe that all sounds a bit hippy dippy but what’s wrong with a bit of that in this fast paced, power hungry, dog eat dog world? According to a 2016 Yoga Journal report, 36.7 million people were practicing yoga in the USA…and that was 3 years ago. So clearly, the bug is spreading fast and I’ve actually only touched on the reasons for that. Your reasons might be totally different, but there’s only one way to find out.