FIVE *FREAKIN AWESOME* responses that every yogi can give to the next person who asks why you’re going to yoga....again
1 Because I freakin’ deserve it!
I work hard, seriously. We all do, no matter if we have a desk job, or a stay at home parent. We all work long hours, take difficult phone calls, email, try hard to keep calm when we face challenging situations, dealing with different personalities of colleagues, resolving conflict, writing reports, cleaning up after everyone else...and the list goes on. Everyone has different ways they relax or find their reward. Some people prefer to go out and party, some will love dancing until the early hours of the morning. But some of us love our time on the mat, or in meditation. So when I work my butt off in my professional life, I’m going to need to find something to help me chill out at the end of the day. If that means I have one hour a day on the mat, I’ll darn-well seize the opportunity! Namaste!
2 Others will benefit from me feeling more relaxed...
After I practice, I will be calm, relaxed and open to anything else you want us to do together. My levels of oxytocins will be soaring, and the feel-good endorphins that will be floating around inside me will be so amazing that I’m likely to say yes to anything else you suggest for the following few hours (although I probably should’t have told you that....)
3 Yoga is a kick-ass way to feel happy!
Not only can yoga make us feel fantastically joyous, but a a regular practice can reduce your heart rate and blood pressure, increase lung capacity, and help treat conditions such as anxiety, insomnia, and particularly, depression.
The evidence is growing week by week, that yoga works just as effectively as antidepressants in some situations. In a study(Article A) at India’s National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences, 137 individuals with non-suicidal depression were offered three treatment options: yoga with an antidepressant, yoga alone, or an antidepressant alone. Although more than half chose the latter, 26% opted for yoga plus medication, and 17% opted for yoga alone.
Both yoga groups took part in 12 sessions over the course of a month, each led by a yoga therapist with a graduate degree in that discipline. A couple of booster sessions were provided over the next two months as well. Plus, the yoga groups were encouraged to practice daily at home.
All three treatment groups were less depressed by the study’s end, but the two yoga groups were doing better than the medication alone group. Because participants weren’t randomly assigned to their groups, however, it’s impossible to draw firm conclusions about the relative merits of yoga and antidepressants. Perhaps the most motivated individuals—and therefore those most likely to recover—were more apt to sign up for yoga practice. Article A:: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24049201
4 Yoga is scientifically proven to keep my mind sharp
In research presented at the November 2013 Annual Meeting of the Society for Neuroscience in San Diego, Changal Villemure and Catherine Bushnell (National Center for Complimentary and Alternative Medicine in Bethesda) explain that yoga is scientifically proven to alter your state of mind in a positive way. The outcomes from MRI scans showed that the people who regularly practiced yoga had more gray matter (brain cells) that those who were the control subject.
Yogis had larger brain volume in the somatosensory cortex, which contains a mental map of our body, the superior parietal cortex, involved in directing attention, and the visual cortex, which Villemure postulates might have been bolstered by visualization techniques. The hippocampus, a region critical to dampening stress, was also enlarged in practitioners, as were the precuneus and the posterior cingulate cortex, areas key to our concept of self. All these brain areas could be engaged by elements of yoga practice, Villemure says. The yogis dedicated on average about 70 percent of their practice to physical postures, about 20 percent to meditation and 10 percent to breath work, typical of most Western yoga routines.
5 You really don’t want to bump into me, when I've missed my yoga class
Just trust me on that one. Namaste!
PHOTOS BY NICHOLA TUCKER PHOTOGRAPHY
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Dee Reynolds owns a multi-award winning yoga and holistic wellness studio in the stunning wine region, McLaren Vale, in South Australia. Dee has a passion for developing and presenting yoga-based self-esteem building programs for adults and children, which have resulted in winning regional, state and national awards for her entrepreneurship Dee is widely acclaimed for her business mentoring courses. On a personal level, yoga has sustained Dee and kept her mind and body strong as she battles an incurable, chronic and degenerative disease – young onset parkinsons disease. Whilst Dee finds peace in arm balances and inversions, she struggles to walk. She calls it “the magic of the mat”.