I bet that you, the person who is reading this right now, have at some point in your life thought about starting yoga. This might be because it interests you, has benefits for you or maybe because it was advised by your doctor. I myself, have been thinking of starting because of its benefits for my back and joints, but because of not having any guidance or motivation I keep coming up with excuses to not actually start, yet. So in this article I will be telling you about all the good things about yoga, as well as the negative aspects to it, in an effort to try to make myself and you start this ancient practice!
To start off, yoga comes in many different types, all targeting different aspects of your body and mind. It’s a practice that involves physical poses, concentration/meditation, breathing and philosophy. It has a variety of benefits for both your mental and your physical wellbeing.
There are six different types of yoga:
- Hatha yoga: focuses on physical and mental health aspects.
- Raja yoga: mainly focuses on meditation and discipline, involving the eight limbs of yoga, which is everything yoga includes: posture, breathing, concentration and more
- Karma yoga: the word karma might be familiar to you, and it’s exactly what you think. This form paves a way to a future free from negativity and selfishness.
- Bhakti yoga: focusses on positivity and how to channel emotions and how to be accepting and tolerant.
- Jnana yoga: this one is all about wisdom and intellect through study.
- Tantra yoga: focuses on rituals, ceremonies or consummation of relationships.
As you can see, there are many types to pick from, so surely there is one that fits you. Otherwise you can always combine practices from a few to achieve your goals. All forms of yoga work with positions for improving strength, balance and flexibility. The slow movements and breath control increase blood flow to warm up the muscles and holding those positions can build strength without having to lift any weights.
Due to yoga building strength and warming up your muscles, it will even help you with your back pain. Everyone spends their days inside, looking at screens, sitting down and not minding your posture. This results in back pain, and it hurts like a b*tch. I myself struggle with this and so it’s also the reason I have been contemplating on doing yoga. Next to building up your back muscles it also stretches them correctly. Because of this same reason it also helps with your painful joints and even arthritis symptoms! How great is that?
Next to these physical benefits, it also gives you mental benefits, due to meditation and concentration training you will notice you’ll become less stressed and will be less likely to get a headache from having to repeat your words to someone who genuinely did not hear them the first time.
Then because of this lack of stress, you’ll benefit your heart condition and also your capability to focus on one thing at a time, maybe even improving your grades in school. And this all will make you sleep like a baby. Yoga might be very difficult to practice at first and will tire you out, but not in a bad way. The holding of the positions and focus might be challenging but it will also give you energy for the day, that is why it is also advised to do in the morning or early evening.
When you first think about yoga you might consider joining a group or a gym class. This, however, might also scare you. Maybe you don’t want to practice with other people, but you would like the support of a teacher. But you don’t have to worry too much, there are a variety of videos on YouTube that can lead you through the process of a yoga class while you do it on your own without anyone around you. And if you really want help, but don’t want to do it in a group setting, you can always find people online in the yoga community to help you out with your questions. Or you could drag one of your friends into the journey of becoming more aware of things going on in your body and nullifying pain. The only things you need are a yoga mat, comfortable clothing you can move in and the will to start. There are also other objects you could use with yoga, but these are not mandatory and you can go without them.
Another part of yoga is meditation. This might not interest you at all but it’s able to give you peace of mind whenever you need it. It’s designed to create peace and quiet in your mind, so you will be able to focus on the present instead of the past or future. It sounds very spiritual, which it is. Even if it does not interest you a lot, I do recommend giving it a shot! Even apart from doing yoga, it might help during exam weeks or other busy periods to take a second to listen to yourself and breathe.
There aren’t many negative sides to yoga, but they still exist. There’s the quote of “I’m not into spirituality, so yoga isn’t for me”, but as mentioned before: there are many different types of yoga, and if you want to focus on positions instead of meditation, you can!
Some negative effects are:
- Spraining your ankle
- Pulling a muscle
- Neck, knee, back, wrist pain
These might seem to work against what you wanted to work towards, but it is easily avoidable. All of these effects take place due to lack of concentration, and correct posture. What helps is making sure you do it correctly and do it often, you need to build up the strength and also you need to get used to it. Adding to that, make sure not to over-do it and don’t start with an extreme yoga session when you haven’t done it before. All in all, there aren’t a lot of negative aspects, and those that are can be avoided easily with the correct mindset and being aware of your posture. The fact there are so many different types of yoga intrigues me and I hope it also interests you enough to start practicing it.
Written by Anne Van Spaendonck
also another source: my boyfriends mom lol