What Yoga Does To Your Body And The Benefits Of It, According To Professionals
I'm sure that most of us have heard about the benefits of stretching, yoga, flexibility and or mindfulness. But why are they so important and how can these healthy lifestyle choices actually make us feel better?
We decided to reach out and ask some professionals what they thought. We figured they could shine a little light on what works, why, how it's influenced their own lives and what they think it can offer you.
One theme we noticed from everyone we asked was ....
That creating a healthy routine can improve your day to day dramatically.
People are creatures of habit. Habits are things that we do, without even thinking about. Think about some that you may have.
Do you check your phone as soon as you wake up?
Do you drink a coffee in the morning?
Do you link to Bluetooth as soon as you get in a car?
Do you check the fridge again after you looked in it 5 minutes ago?
Usually, habits are triggered. Maybe by a sound, something visual, or by an action. Habits are a little impulsive and almost autonomous. However, when you string habits together you form routines.
Routines are powerful.
Creating a healthy routine for your morning is one of the best things that you can do to improve your day to day. This is something we believe in deeply at Vearthy. Taking simple steps to take a little extra care of yourself can go a long way! And it doesn't have to be anything crazy. Taking a second to think about one or two extra things you can do for yourself in the morning is one of the easiest things you can do to set your day up for success.
Make sure the first thing you drink is water!
Keep your phone on airplane mode for the first and last 30 minutes of your day.
Open the windows, let in some fresh air and light.
Take a second to stretch it out!
To touch on this last point a little more, we spoke with various stretching professionals across Canada, and this is what they had to say.
Dr Virginia Russell - Heal Yoga
" Morning routines are my favourite! Best time to practice and way to start your day! Before plugging into social media or even interacting with others - it’s a perfect time to check in with yourself.
I think now more than ever, becoming in touch with our bodies is paramount. Learning to listen and respond to our needs - whether they be spiritual, emotional, or physical. Yoga can be an incredible way to slow down, go inside, and listen. Helping to regulate our nervous systems using breath, movement, and mindfulness.
Yoga saved my life. Allowing for surrender, learning to listen to what my body is telling me, and finding God within me and loving her fiercely. It is my passion and an absolute pleasure to help others learn to move, breath, and meditate from a place of love. For themselves, others and as a collective. I truly believe that healing is a collective venture."
Heal Yoga is an infrared-heated yoga studio located in Terrace, BC. and offer group yoga classes, private sessions, and special events.
Greg Pember - Yoga with Greg
One of the major benefits of stretching is the immediate relief that comes from elongating tense or shortened muscles tissue. Stretching gives us that immediate sense of space where there wasn’t space before.
When we stretch, we increase the elasticity of our muscles, training our body’s capacity to bounce back towards equilibrium after movement. This is so important because it builds our body’s resiliency so that we can continue to express movement in a strong, healthy way as we age.
Anytime we become intimate with the sensations that come as a result of stretching, we deepen our understanding of and connection to our body. Sensation is the language of our body, so the more we tune into and listen to the sensations that arise, such as those we receive when stretching, the more we understand ourselves and the intricate world of our body. Ultimately, movement and stretching will help you connect to the most real thing about you: Your body right now. "
Greg is a professional yoga instructor who offers online classes, runs retreats in Costa Rica and will be offering a 200 Hour Yoga Teacher Training course in the near future.
Kristyn Rose Foster - Kristyn Rose Yoga
" What comes to mind when you think of deep rest? Perhaps it’s a full body sensation of feeling at peace, a sense of wholeness, clarity in the mind, or an overall sense of well-being. Instead, for many of us we feel depleted, worn out, burnt out, deflated, or exhausted. Can you relate?
We live in a world defined by a culture and a fast-paced rhythm that is not conducive to honor these moments of deep rest. Whether it’s when we go to sleep at night or even creating that architecture of time during the day just to find those little moments of silence or stillness. How often do you pause, close your eyes, and notice your breath? Most of us go most of lives without ever noticing it. We think we are born to work hard and long hours and make the most of our days and time by achieving material goods, money, and friendship to find success. But what is all of that if at home in our bodies, we are completely off-balance and exhausted? How can we go about enjoying these things we work so hard for in this life?
A good night’s rest is necessary for us to turn off the thinking mind and give the body permission to tap into its inherent intelligence to heal in those deeper brainwave states. You can think of it like charging your internal battery or turning off your internal computer so it can reset and reboot. A busy lifestyle constantly in motion leaves us in a never-ending sympathetic state of ‘fight or flight’ which then makes it difficult to tip the scale into the parasympathetic division of ‘rest and digest’. So even when we are going to bed at night, our bodies struggle to relax naturally and get that good night’s rest.
For me, it’s important to find balance by incorporating those moments of nourishment, rest and rejuvenation throughout the day and during our waking state. Whether it’s stepping onto my mat each morning for a gentle yoga flow practice to let go of tension, weaving in soothing breathwork to awaken or even to calm the mind (“the monkey brain”), curling up under the tree in my backyard with a good book (self-study), taking a walk on the beach, a cold ocean plunge, or foraging for mushrooms and medicinal plants in the forest. It’s all about finding balance. But my favourite would be leaning into a non-sleep deep rest meditation, also known as ‘yoga nidra’, a wakeful form of deep sleep where just 30 minutes is the equivalent to 3 hours of deep restful sleep. You can think of it like your best afternoon nap! With practice, that yummy feel-good feeling you get when you first wake up in the morning happens more naturally and more often. So what brings you a deep sense of peace and calm throughout your day? What ignites that sense of well-being from within? What’s your medicine? Whatever it might be, use it as a stepping stone towards contributing to a good night’s rest; the foundation for you to live a whole and abundant life, a life you want to create.
It’s time to take care of yourself first. We are born on this earth to thrive, not to just survive. Find those pockets of perfect stillness and silence, whether you’re crawling into your cozy bed at night, your perfect nest, or fueling your day by taking time for those moments of wakeful rest. Because you deserve it and you are worthy of it. "
Kristyn hosts yoga in the park, personal classes and yoga nidra classes in Victoria on Vancouver Island. To get in contact with her, check out her instagram or send her an email and sign up for a class.
Tessa Rae - Tessa Rae Yoga
" When I was 20, I had retired dancing due to knee and back pain and started yoga for exercise. Within a year of consistent practice of active stretching and core stabilization I had totally improved if not healed the symptoms I had become so familiar with living with. In the process of becoming pain free, I also found a healthy resource to check in with myself, relieve stress from my day, asses what needs may be unmet, and really transform the trajectory of my mental health.
Physically, regular stretching can be a game changer for improving posture, preventing or healing injuries, pain tolerance, and increasing your graceful mobility. Our bodies are energy, and when there is tension there are blockages in the circuit, so we can feel sluggish, heavy, unmotivated, and tense. We have to slow down to stretch, therefore we are potentially regulating our nervous system and practicing self awareness- keys to thriving mental health. Funny how slowing down and checking in with ourselves can create more energy. Over time consistent stretching creates empowerment, comfort, release, and a safe place to be with yourself. It sparks so much joy to see a room full of students ages 50+ flowing from pose to pose, balancing and being totally adaptable. This is a beautiful thing and it is accessible to all at any stage in life with an appropriate guide. "