Today we celebrate International Day of Yoga, an initiative that brings awareness to the positive impacts yoga has on our physical, mental and spiritual well-being.
To learn a little more about this, we've reached out to expert yogi Stef Wild, who's shared some insights into how various yoga practices benefit our health and well-being.
'Yin' or 'restorative' practices are all about reconnecting our mind with our body, to relieve tension and restore a state of relaxation.
"Restorative yoga works by moving the body's nervous system into the 'rest and digest' mode, and out of the 'flight or fight response', helping reduce the stress hormone cortisol, and all of the consequences that come with living a high-stress lifestyle" - Stef Wild
This form of yoga is all about embracing the power of stillness, using our breath as a tool to bring awareness to our thoughts and feelings, and to let go of any stresses. It focuses more on our mental well-being rather than enhancing our physical abilities.
This style of yoga is more geared towards our physical health. "Styles such as Vinyasa, Hatha and heated yoga benefit our cardiovascular health, muscular strength, balance, flexibility and mobility". However, Stef also made it a key point to highlight that whilst many of us can appreciate that these practices pose more of a physical challenge, it's important to acknowledge how they also strengthen our mind.
"Yoga teachers will often ask questions centred around how we mentally balance stress on our mat, and how we can then use this as a tool to help manage the stresses in our day-to-day lives".
This empowers us to channel the sense of bliss we feel during a yoga flow into other environments and scenarios, completely uniting our body, mind and spirit.
This unity is what yoga is all about (literally, that's what the word yoga means). But Stef reminded us that yoga isn't just about "bringing into alignment our mind, body and spirit". "A true practice of yoga is about bringing total health and harmony into our everyday lives through healthy habits encompassing nutrition, mindset, relationships, cleanliness, personal morals and physical activity".
For Stef personally, she's found that "since diving into the practice and teaching of yoga 5 years ago, [she's] found that [her] upper body strength has improved, core control has increased, and [her] balance and strength has reached new heights. Mentally, [she is] more mindful, meaning [she's] able to catch [her] negative thoughts before they spiral out of control".
After chatting with Stef it's obvious that the health benefits of yoga extend much further than just our physical well-being. Regularly practicing yoga enriches our lives by strengthening the connection between our mind, body and spirit, bringing unity and empowerment to all aspects of our well-being.
If you'd like to find out more, you're also welcome to contact our team.