The Benefits of Yoga for Mind, Body, and Spirit: Why You Should Start Practising Today
Yoga has become increasingly popular over the years due to its numerous benefits for the mind, body, and spirit. Practising yoga can lead to a healthier and happier life, and we are big fans of introducing this into our lives, so here are the benefits of yoga for the mind and body so you can enjoy this practice too!
What is yoga?
Yoga is a physical, mental, and spiritual practice that originated in ancient India. It involves a series of postures, breathing exercises, and meditation techniques that are designed to promote physical and mental well-being. The practice has gained popularity in recent years, with more and more people discovering its benefits and it becoming more accessible in online formats.
Benefits for the Mind
One of the main benefits of yoga is its ability to improve mental health. Practising yoga can reduce stress, anxiety, and depression, and improve mental clarity. Studies have shown that regular yoga practice can decrease cortisol levels, the hormone associated with stress, and increase serotonin levels, the hormone associated with happiness. Additionally, practising yoga can improve sleep quality and reduce symptoms of insomnia.
Benefits for the Body
Yoga also has numerous benefits for the body. It can increase flexibility, strength, and balance. Regular practice can also improve cardiovascular health, reduce inflammation, and lower blood pressure. Yoga has been shown to help with chronic pain conditions such as lower back pain and arthritis, and can also improve bone density, which can reduce the risk of osteoporosis.
Benefits for the Spirit
Yoga has numerous benefits for the spirit, including increased mindfulness, a sense of purpose, and a connection to a higher power. One of the primary spiritual benefits of yoga is increased mindfulness. Mindfulness is the practice of being fully present and engaged in the current moment. Through practising yoga, individuals can develop greater awareness of their thoughts and emotions and learn to observe them without judgement. This can help individuals develop greater self-awareness, a deeper connection with themselves, and increased mindfulness in their everyday lives.
Yoga can also help individuals connect with a higher power or sense of spirituality. Although yoga is often associated with Eastern spiritual traditions, such as Hinduism and Buddhism, individuals do not need to subscribe to a particular religious or spiritual tradition to benefit from yoga's spiritual aspects. Yoga can help individuals develop a greater sense of purpose and meaning in their lives and connect with something greater than themselves.
Many yogis report experiencing spiritual benefits from their yoga practice. For example, some individuals report feeling a greater sense of inner peace and connection to the world around them. Others report feeling more in touch with their emotions and a greater sense of compassion for themselves and others.
Additional Benefits of Yoga
In addition to the benefits to the mind, body and spirit, practising yoga also has numerous other benefits.
Improved sleep is one benefit of yoga that is often overlooked. Research has shown that practising yoga can improve the quality and quantity of sleep, making it a useful tool for individuals with insomnia or other sleep disorders.
Yoga can also be effective in reducing anxiety and stress. Yoga's focus on breath and movement can help individuals feel more relaxed and calm, and research has shown that regular yoga practice can reduce levels of stress hormones in the body.
Finally, practising yoga can improve breathing and respiratory function. Many yoga poses involve deep breathing exercises, which can help increase lung capacity and improve respiratory health.
Benefits reported by Made By Coopers founders
Clare and Darren, co-founders of Made By Coopers have been practicing yoga for over 10 years and developed a deeper understanding during a 3 month trip spent in India a few years back. Clare first used yoga as a tool to heal from anxiety disorder, whilst Darren used yoga for over all health and improved sleep.
'We regularly practice as a way of maintaining flexibility, strength and balance, whilst also using yoga as a spiritual practice and a way to improve harmony within. We feel more connection to the world around us and more in touch with our emotions. Yoga also moves stuck energy around the body and gets us out of our heads and more into our hearts.'
Made By Coopers - Yoga Connection
Yoga is a big part of the Made By Coopers brand. The aromatherapy products all work well with yoga and mediation practice and many yoga teachers around the country use the room sprays or essential oils as part of their yoga practice. For example frankincense essential oil, helps you feel more grounded and relaxed, and on a spiritual level can help you connect with your higher self. So, the Calm or Sleepy Head range make perfect additions to yoga practice.
Find our team’s essentials here: Accessories For Sleep, Relaxation & Yoga
The most important thing to bring to a yoga class is your mat, but here's our edit for a 'Yogi Tool Kit'...
Types of yoga and their specific benefits
There are many different types of yoga, each with its own unique benefits.
Hatha yoga is a gentle form of yoga that focuses on basic postures and breathing techniques, making it a great option for beginners. Most yoga centres and ashrams in India, traditionally teach Hatha yoga.
Vinyasa Flow yoga is a more vigorous form of yoga that focuses on flowing movements and is great for individuals looking to build strength and flexibility. This also helps energy flow around the body more freely.
Restorative yoga is a gentle form of yoga that involves holding poses for extended periods of time, making it a great option for individuals looking to reduce stress and increase relaxation.
How to Get Started with Yoga
If you're interested in starting a yoga practice, there are several ways to get started. You can search for local yoga venues online or use a yoga app to find classes near you. You can also ask friends or family members for recommendations (we’ve got lots too!) You can also find sequences through sites like YouTube and dedicated apps, which if you're not ready to attend a class, you can use to start a home practice to build confidence. During a typical yoga class, you can expect to practise a series of postures and breathing exercises, ending with a relaxation or meditation practice.
Yoga offers a wide range of benefits for the mind, body, and spirit. Scientific research has supported its effectiveness in reducing stress, improving mental clarity, increasing flexibility and strength, and promoting better sleep and breathing. Additionally, yoga can provide spiritual benefits, such as increased mindfulness and connection to a higher power. With so many types of yoga available, from gentle Hatha yoga to vigorous Vinyasa, there is a yoga practice suitable for everyone. Whether you attend a class or start a home practice, incorporating yoga into your routine can lead to a healthier, more balanced, and more fulfilling life.