In a culture that seems to move at hyperspeed with multitasking being the ultimate skill to distinguish a successful person, the idea of slowing down can feel absurd… if not outright terrifying. We feel as though we can’t or shouldn’t slow down, and that seeps into how we treat our fitness and wellness routine. As such, millions of people are missing out on the benefits of an ancient mind-body practice — yoga.
We All Need More Yoga
Don’t roll your eyes or groan, you hardcore HIIT addicts! For one, not all yoga practices were created equally, and there’s a ton of variety (which we’ll get to). And to boot, there are so many ways it may improve your wellbeing, mood, and beyond — sometimes just knowing the extent of the benefits is enough to change your mind.
Whether your interest has been piqued but you just haven’t tried it yet, or you’re new to yoga and want to learn more, or you’re set in your boot camping, cardio blasting ways (thankyouverymuch) but know you could probably stand to do a Vinyasa or two — we’ve got some info you’re gonna want to see.
Benefits of Yoga
For those of you who are type-A, super driven, can’t slow down for anything: What if we told you yoga is the ultimate answer to “optimized wellness”? If you think about it, yoga covers a lot of bases all at once, which can then fuel how you perform in other workouts.
One study from 2011 concluded that “yogic practices enhance muscular strength and body flexibility, promote and improve respiratory and cardiovascular function, promote recovery from and treatment of addiction, reduce stress, anxiety, depression, and chronic pain, improve sleep patterns, and enhance overall well-being and quality of life.”
Before we get into how to start a yoga practice, consider a small handful of benefits from this mind-body exercise (we promise you’ll thank us).
It’s An Energy Giver
If fatigue has been getting in the way of your daily runs or weekday Tabata, consider taking a 10-minute yoga session in the morning. It’s been shown in studies that brief yoga sessions can improve brain function and boost energy! Consider it an extra couple shots of espresso that won’t leave you jittery, wired, or assaulting your adrenal glands.
It’s a Mood Booster
Time and time again, studies find that yoga is a great part of a stress management plan. And, if your routine is 100-percent high-intensity insanity, you could be leaving your body flooded with stress hormones like cortisol, so balance it out with mood managing, stress-relieving yoga.
It’s The Ideal Active Recovery Workout
If you’re the never-miss-a-Monday type, make sure you also never miss a Sunday yoga session. A dissertation from the University of Montana found that yoga was ideal for helping NCAA athletes recover from their training.
It’s a Performance Enhancer
For those of you who still don’t want to break away from your intense training program, know that you could take your performance to the next level with yoga. It may help improve your flexibility and balance, increase your VO2 max, and generally improve your heart health, leading to stronger overall physical health.
Want to get stronger in the gym? Sprinkle in a bit of this Ayurvedic magic.
Types of Yoga
Also, consider that not all yoga is incense, Om chanting, and Shiva sculptures. While it’s important to remember and honor the cultural and spiritual roots of yoga, this practice has also bloomed into a magnificent family of workout styles, including modern adaptations that lend itself to a more “fitnessy” vibe, rather than spiritual practice (take yoga sculpt, for instance).
Additionally, there’s no set time you have to practice; it can be for two hours, it can be for 10 minutes. Seriously, ten minutes is less time than you spend scrolling through Instagram sooo….
Gentle, Pre-Bed, Super Quick Yoga
Head to the FitOn app’s before bed section to find stretching, and simple yoga flows that are between 2 and 12 minutes. We know you’re busy, we know life is crazy… but you have two minutes. You do. We promise.
Higher Intensity, Full-Body Flows
Working on setting better boundaries, managing stress, and listening to your body? Try classes that help you connect with your brain and body simultaneously. The FitOn Feel Better Yoga, Simple Flow, Rise & Shine Yoga, and Heart Opening Flow will help you do just that.
How to Start a Yoga Practice
If you’re intimidated by yoga, or just downright not into it (but trying to give it a go), start small. Like we said, you can literally start with a two-minute practice before bed. From there, see if you can build to five or six minutes, eventually getting to 10 or 15.
If you’re a little more open, consider sliding one class a week into your schedule, or keeping it light throughout the week (ie, 10 minutes a day every morning).
Also, be sure to check out a variety of styles of yoga; give each kind of class a go, and be sure to try different instructors to make sure it’s the right fit for your personality and vibe.
You might think you hated a Vinyasa flow class, but in reality, you just didn’t jive with the teacher. Try another! If that doesn’t work, try Power Sculpt or even Seated Yoga. Keep going until it clicks.
There’s Something For Everyone
There are SO many more options (this is just a sampling!) So, head to FitOn’s yoga section in the app to try a number of styles and class-lengths. Whether you’re looking to balance, tone, strengthen, find peace, or slow down, there’s a yoga style for everyone.