Of the more than 20 million Americans who practice yoga, more than a third have less than a year’s worth of experience. It’s a safe bet, then, that most of those new to yoga have yet to discover the benefits of a daily yoga practice.
It takes commitment to have a daily yoga practice. You have to set aside the time. You have to be open to explore. You have to know what you want to accomplish. If you’re like most Americans, however, you may not even know what you want for dinner.
What Do You Want from Yoga?
When most people think of yoga, they think of the physical practice — what yogis call asana. They view yoga as a way to increase flexibility while toning muscles, or as an alternative to jogging, aerobics or taking care of a six-year-old. While it’s true that yoga can help you get the physical activity you need week to week, it can do much, much more… if you let it.
Yoga provides mental as well as physical benefits. It can help you regulate your emotions. It can help you become more aware of who you truly are. But it takes a daily yoga practice to achieve these results.
Practice Every Day
It pays to be loyal to your yoga practice. If you make yoga a consistent part of your life, you’ll find yourself looking forward to your time on the mat. Here are just a few of the benefits you’ll get from a daily yoga practice:
- Better overall health. Doing yoga every day can help you overcome and prevent physical issues like obesity, chronic fatigue and osteoporosis. It can have a positive influence on your respiratory, digestive and circulatory systems. A regular yoga practice not only can improve your overall health, but it also can boost your immunity.
- Stress management. A daily yoga practice can help you combat depression, manage your stress level, and relax your nerves. Yoga teaches relaxation, which has an enormous effect on your mental and emotional health.
- Lower heart disease risks. Not surprisingly, yoga is good for your heart. If you practice yoga every day, your heart responds by getting stronger and more resistant to heart disease symptoms.
- Improved arthritis symptoms. A consistent yoga practice can help ease the painful symptoms of arthritis. Yoga’s gentle movement is great arthritis therapy, especially if you apply heat to your affected joints afterward.
- Relief from chronic back pain. A daily yoga practice can naturally and gradually decrease your back pain while increasing your spinal flexibility. You may feel relief in as little as one week.
- Improved memory. Yoga helps you clear your mind, which not only reduces mental stress, but also improves your memory. Less clutter means more space to remember the important things.
- Diabetes management. Doing specific yoga postures every day can lower your blood sugar. In addition, yoga stimulates nerve impulses in your body, slowing the damaging effects of the disease.
- Insomnia help. A daily yoga practice helps you sleep — not because it wipes you out, in fact just the opposite: Restful yoga postures help your body relax, which in turn helps you fall asleep.
- Asthma symptoms relief. Yoga incorporates breath-work called pranayama. If practiced every day, certain pranayama exercises actually can decrease the instances of an asthma attack and ease the symptoms of the disease.
- Increased fertility. Studies have proven that, for women, a daily yoga practice can enhance the chances of conception. Along with counseling from an experienced, licensed doctor, yoga is becoming an accepted alternative to more invasive fertility procedures.
So get on your mat every day. Start by making a commitment for one week. That’s often all it takes to start experiencing the benefits for yourself. Whether you’re in a class following a teacher, at home following a DVD, or in a hotel following your intuition, a daily yoga practice delivers so many benefits, you’ll wonder why you didn’t start years ago.