A regular Yoga practice will change your body. It’s the simple rule of cause and effect, Yoga is the ‘cause’ and the changes you experience are the ‘effect’. But you’ve asked: HOW will Yoga change your body, and let’s add in mind for that matter!
There really are so many amazing changes to be experienced from Yoga, whether you do Yin Yoga, Hot Yoga or Vinyasa (there are many types of Yoga!). There will be different effects for someone who practices Yoga long term or just every now and then. Ok let’s make a list…
How Will Yoga Change Your Body?
Improve your Flexibility
Improving your flexibility will help you feel a deeper sense of comfort within your body. It’s not about doing the splits just to share a picture on Instagram. It’s about feeling good in your body. The movements in a Yoga class help to stretch your amazing muscles and create more mobility in your joints. Less stiffness? Yes please!
Build Strength and Muscle Tone
But Yoga isn’t just about getting bendy! Yoga can and will build your strength… and muscle tone just comes along with that. But in our opinions, feeling stronger is way more important than “tone”.
If you want to build glute strength, then get into Yoga poses like Warrior II, Chair Pose and Goddess Pose. Hello, amazing butt workout!
Read more about using Yoga as a Strength Workout.
Improve your Balance
Yes, a Tree Pose or Dancer’s Pose looks pretty, but you don’t balance in Yoga just for fun or for the pretty factor. Actively working on your balance will help you when you need it most.
For example, when you trip off the curb onto the road, instead of stumbling and potentially falling over, you are more likely to be able to catch your balance and land on your feet.
It’s never nice to fall over, but as we age it becomes even more important to reduce falls and work on our balance. Bones can become more brittle and a minor stumble can lead to a broken pelvis in an elderly person and this can lead to an array of health issues or even death.
Balance is a longevity practice and Yoga is the perfect method to improve your balance.
Better Posture with Less Back Pain
You probably sit too much! Are we wrong? Well then you’re an exception, go you! Yoga is a perfect method to undo the issues created by too much sitting. Issues like rounded posture, tech neck, headaches, back pain, shortened hip flexors, hip pain and more!
In our MerryBody Classes, we make a real point to add more of the movements that counter this. Lots of twists, hip stretches, heart opening movement and chest stretching. There is nothing better than flowing through a heart opening Yoga sequence after spending a few too many hours at your desk.
This isn’t just important for your everyday comfort or because great posture looks lovely. Sedentary living (sitting too much) is on the rise and it ain’t great because “too much sitting may be a risk factor for early death and chronic disease, such as diabetes and heart disease.”
Alright, we’re ready to get up and do Yoga now!
Yoga helps you feel more connected to yourself and this in turn helps you feel more connected to others. This is because the practice of Yoga is a practice of presence. The goal is to let go of thoughts of the future and past, to simply focus on your breath and the movement.
Even just the fact that you’re not on your phone or computer during this time is amazing. These digital distractions are known for creating a feeling of disconnection. If you struggle with a phone or social media addiction, practising Yoga every day might just be the game changer for you! If you’re practising at home, you need to be sure to place your phone in another room or put it on do not disturb. Self-discipline is key!
Increase Joy Levels
All movement and exercise will trigger a chemical reaction within your body. Hormones and neurotransmitters like dopamine, oxytocin, serotonin and endorphins are released and this goes on to create feelings of happiness, pleasure and love. For us, this knowledge really works as a key motivator to ensure we exercise and do Yoga regularly. But also, we just enjoy the actual practice of Yoga, when you do something you love, you will experience some sense of joy. If you don’t love Yoga, try some other form of exercise!
Decrease Stress Levels
This relates to the above point, as you already know, Yoga helps you feel more Joy so this naturally means you’ll feel less stress. However, there is more science behind it!
Yoga helps you get out of the Sympathetic Nervous System (SNS), which is the fight, flight or freeze stress response. The SNS is a very important and natural function of the body when there is actually a stressful situation. It’s great for times of actual danger, it will potentially help you run faster, fight better. But it’s not so good when you are triggering it while replying to emails.
Have you ever felt yourself trying to power through your emails, teeth gritted, a little sweaty, heart rate faster than normal? Yeh, that’s not necessary… ok!
But how does Yoga get you out of the SNS? In all Yoga classes, you’ll notice the importance of the breath. You could do a breathing meditation (pranayama) at the start or end of a class. You might hear your Yoga teacher constantly remind you to inhale and exhale. This focus on breathing helps your body get into the Parasympathetic Nervous System. This is the state the body needs to be in to rest and recover. This is where important bodily functions, like digestion, can operate optimally! This is where you will feel less stress!
Brain Health Booster
We’re not doctors but we did talk to an occupational therapist who specialises in brain health and it was fascinating! Did you know Yoga can help boost your memory and potentially prevent brain diseases like dementia? You can tune into our chat over here.
A Tool for Mental Health
Yoga is one of the most accessible tools to help you care for your mental health. You simply roll out your mat at home and within 5 minutes you can shift your state. It’s a method to decrease stress and anxiety and a way to promote joy. It’s an exercise that can improve physical and mind health. All of these amazing benefits of Yoga contribute to the state of your mental health.
Of course, Yoga is not to replace any expert help you may need, it’s a great tool to use alongside anything else recommended to you.
Can you Lose Weight with Yoga?
Here at MerryBody we look at weight loss from a different perspective. We’re not against weight loss, not at all! However, we are deeply against diet culture and HOW many fitness businesses use it to market their products.
We have been victims of diet culture, we’ve also promoted diet culture. Now we are aware of it and we do not wish to be part of it, for the benefit of our own mental health and also for the betterment of society.
Diet culture sucks, we go into more detail over here.
OK, what now? Well, naturally it’s time for you to do some Yoga! Schedule in your next class! If you’re not sure where to begin, why not start with one of our MerryBody classes! Here’s a free class.
If you love the class then the next step is to download the MerryBody app and begin your 7 day trial. Inside the App you’ll have instant access to hundreds of classes. You can try multiple forms of Yoga, Slow Flow, Vinyasa, Yin and Pranayama (meditation and breathwork). We also have Pilates and Barre classes too! Find out more information over here!
If you have more questions about Yoga, get in touch!
Emma + Carla