Yoga is something I have recently begun practicing over the past few months. And by practicing I mean a free class once a week, and then on my own during the week. I took a beginners yoga class about 3 years ago in college and thoroughly enjoyed it, but was never able to take it again after because it can be expensive. Finding free classes has been a real life changer. If you are looking for free classes I have three places that I know of that you may be able to find near you as well. The first is Lululemon which offers a free yoga class once a week. Next I utilize Athleta which posts various classes on their online schedule and most of the time yoga is available. Lastly, and even more unlikely resource is the Blue Cross Blue Shield insurance office which offers a variety of exercise classes and yoga is a frequent one.
So far I have noticed in a short time I have made quite a bit of progress in a few areas thanks to yoga. I was previously jogging a few times a week (which I still also do) however I did not notice any of these changes until after I begun practicing yoga. The two most obvious changes are in muscular development and flexibility. These both surprised me because I took Tae Kwon Do as a young adult and worked very hard to build muscle and flexibility but was never able to achieve so much in so little time and with only 1 real class a week! I also thought that my running I was building core muscle but let me tell you yoga will show you how much muscle you have yet to develop, the same goes for flexibility.
Besides the physical changes I have seen, I have also noticed mental changes too. I crave yoga. I know that Saturday mornings are my therapy. There is something so beautiful about practicing and ancient body art that is quite therapeutic. The breathing exercises, listening to your body, quiet time and meditation if you are so inclined are wonderful for calming your mind, and bringing your life back into focus. Also seeing yourself progress physically brings its own sense of accomplishment that none can rival. There are also many scholarly research sources that demonstrate the benefits of yoga.
It is shown to be good for anxiety and depression and also for improving the digestion system. Although I could not find any scholarly articles stating its usefulness for balancing womens hormones, it is traditionally used for this. In the same way that yoga stimulates the digestive system it is also thought to stimulate the reproductive system as well and encourage core tone, increased blood flow to the reproductive organs, and just the other day I was in quite a rather odd pose and the instructor mentioned that it was supposed to stimulate the thyroid gland. Overall I highly recommend yoga for men and women of all ages. Perhaps I will post a photo of myself in the weeks/months to come as I work on perfecting my inversions! Have any of you anything to share about your experience with yoga?