Here are 3 benefits of a daily Yoga Asana practice that I have experienced; and perhaps some of them are not quite so expected.
Yoga has been such a healing process, and truly a natural medicine for me; I am so grateful for Yoga, for all the amazing Yogis out there on the internet that have taught me so many things, and to myself for allowing space for Yoga in my life.
Improved mind-body communication.
I used to be incredibly clumsy. You would often hear the phrase “oh Krista!” ringing around the household. As well as the clattering, crashing sounds of the thing/things breaking around me.
I knew that I was not innately clumsy; when I put my mind to it I could do things that involved balance and coordination. However, walking around daily life I was sort of like a zombie: my brain would take a holiday. Of course I still have moments of this, but since I began practicing daily it happens a lot less.
When we practice Yoga we increase our bodily awareness. We are encouraged to be more present in our bodies, to avoid injury, and increase effectiveness and enjoyment of the poses. You become more and more accustomed to being present on the mat with the awareness in the body. And, as so often happens, the things we gain on our mats come with us in to our daily lives; you start paying more attention off of the mat as well.
Yoga “can engage and calm your mind and nerves and can be the physiological medium between your mind and body.” wikihow.com/Improve-Mind-Body-Connection-with-Yoga
I have high-arch feet, higher on one foot than the other. This causes the pressure on the foot to be channelled into the middle of the sole, rather than being evenly distributed across it. This caused a painful callus to develop in the centre of my right foot. My mother, who’s a podiatrist, said that I would probably have this painful eye-sore for the rest of my life.
I no longer have these calluses. It seems as though I may have been able, through Yoga, to change the bio-mechanics of my feet. In Yoga we actively spread our feet wide on the mat to help increase the surface area of the foot. Also, when we press down in to the feet, we activate the entirety of the foot and the standing leg, which allows for increased stability.
Strengthening and toning muscles in this way has perhaps allowed me to free up my entire foot for use. Thus, allowing for a more even distribution of pressure, rather than some parts of the foot working a lot harder than others.
“Yoga gives feet a healthy workout that they rarely get any other way. “You couldn’t ask for a better set of tools to reawaken the feet,” says teacher Rodney Yee.” yogajournal.com
Bye-bye back pain (pretty much)
In my late-teens/early twenties I went to a lot of different specialists: Osteopaths, Chiropractors, Acupuncture, sports injury massage. I was always suffering from some kind of back problem or other, in all parts of my back.
3 years after starting a daily practice, I have no particular back pain to speak of! Nor, have I had any of the back pain I used to have in quite some time. I even managed to survive 6 weeks of pot-washing without any back pain. I was standing at a sink for 8 hours at a time sometimes!
I still get twinges, the odd ache and pain, but If I wake up feeling sore in some place, then I work it out on the mat. I target it with poses that stretch that area, and always end up feeling better after. My practice helps me combat of the stresses and strains of daily-life. For example, I now sit for long hours of the day at a computer.
They say you are only as young as your spine is flexible. That has yet to be tested for me personally, but there are plenty of older people out there doing Yoga. Ballroom dancing, 99-year-old Yoga teacher, Tao Porchon-Lynch @taoporchonlynch, is a good example. She may just be an exceptional specimen, i’ll just have to wait and find out!
These are some of the more drastic benefits that I can think of, but they are just small selection of the many other benefits I have experienced from a daily practice.
What benefits, or permanent changes for the better, have you experienced in your practice? Do you feel inspired to get on your mat?