September is National Yoga Month! To celebrate, we asked Sarah Lane, Health & Wellness Director at our Westside Family YMCA, and her team to share six ways that yoga can help you in your everyday life.
- CULTIVATE AWARENESS OF YOUR BODY AND MIND. Yoga is truly a mind/body experience. When you participate in yoga, you not only move through postures, but you are also encouraged to keep your awareness in the present. Focusing on what you are most immediately presented with – your own body and the way you are breathing – you naturally shift into a space of mindfulness. It’s hard to think of much else when you stay present while practicing, which is one of the reasons why yoga serves as an excellent option for stress relief.
- IMPROVE FLEXIBILITY OF MUSCLES AND SOFT TISSUE. It also improves mobility of joints. Regular stretching helps break down and prevent the build of up of fascia, which limits mobility.
- LEARN TO BREATHE MORE EFFECTIVELY. Yoga instructors will emphasize, speak to and even practice the importance of taking full breaths. This helps us to breathe more effectively and also serves double duty as a calming relaxation technique that you can take with you anywhere, anytime!
- IMPROVE BALANCE. Yoga poses, also referred to as asanas, can be passive and active. In active poses, you will focus on moving into positions and engaging muscles with intention to support each posture.
- INCREASE STRENGTH. This may not be the first thing you think of when you hear “yoga,” but trying positions your body is unfamiliar with will call upon your muscles big and small. You may even find a few you didn’t know about!
- IMPROVE YOUR PATIENCE. Yoga is referred to as a practice and should be approached as such. When coming to the mat, an experienced yogi will notice, acknowledge and accept their body and spirit in its current state. With this care for oneself, each person will move through the practice in a manner that is respectful and appropriate for their current state, without passing judgment.
Across our YMCA locations, we have a variety of yoga classes to help get you started or continue your practice. From Aqua Yoga to Active Yoga, check out our schedules to find a class that will fit your routine.