Guest Post: Five Reasons to Start Practicing Yoga Today

This is my first ever guest post which is very exciting! It’s from Carolyn Fallon and it’s all about how awesome yoga is. Enjoy! 

© KK

Yoga is an ancient art of physical movements, techniques and mental exercises first used in India over 2,000 years ago. After centuries of refinement and development, Yoga began to spread to regions outside of Central Asia. Today, yoga is one of the leading disciplines taught in the West to help students foster positive mind-body interaction. Here are five of the top reasons why yoga is a great exercise for people of all ages and walks of life.

1) Yoga is a great exercise
When most people think of exercise, they think about pushing the body to its limit and working to exhaustion. Exercise, however, need not be as intensive as it is often portrayed in the media. Supplemented by a modest amount of cardiovascular exercise, yoga is a great cornerstone to a sustainable, enjoyable exercise regimen. Further, its ancient roots ensure that the techniques have been tested for centuries, and students will learn skills that have been constantly improved for thousands of years.

2) Yoga helps with other physical activities
There was a time when many thought that physical benefits of yoga were limited. Stretching, for example, was viewed as only moderately useful for baseball or football players. Recently, however, this mindset is changing, and many are finding that yoga helps athletes compete in sports that seem wholly unrelated to yoga. It is not uncommon to hear about professional athletes in a wide range of sports taking up yoga to improve their performances on the field. Dr. Glen Axelrod of the Center for Orthopedic & Spine Care even claims, “Many professional athletic teams use yoga as an integral part of their training.”

3) Yoga helps ease the ageing process
Falls and poor joint health are two of the dangers of entering middle age and senior years (or your thirties if you are me! Lizzy). By helping improve flexibility, Yoga reduces strain on the body’s joints and muscles. Balance exercises help students learn to balance themselves and avoid potentially dangerous falls. The aging process has unavoidable effects, but many people are too quick to assume that everything they see in the media is unavoidable. By starting and maintaining a regular exercise routine, everyone can help themselves smooth this process as much as possible.

4) Yoga provides mental benefits
While most initially focus on the physical benefits of Yoga, its mental benefits quickly become apparent. Its techniques provide the benefits of meditation in a structured, enjoyable manner. Medical experts have been touting the need for relaxing and slowing down for the past several decades, and Yoga gives its students tools to accomplish this. Students all agree that the mental effects of regular Yoga practice help them navigate their day-to-day lives with grace in addition to improving their general mental state.

5) Yoga is a great social activity
Many students look forward to talking to others who are learning the art. The Yoga community is strong in the West, and there are local groups in almost every region of the United States and Europe. Taking Yoga classes gives students a group of friends with whom they can discuss Yoga and other healthy living ideas. Yoga students often share interests in diet, other forms of exercise and other techniques to improve one’s health, and new students will find a warm and inviting community.

Carolyn Fallon is a 20-something year old with a passion for life, fitness and overall well-being. She is an avid spinner, healthy cooking enthusiast and lover of life. Check out Carolyn’s blog

Frame studio- Shoreditch

At the risk of stalking my yoga teacher I went along to a class she was covering at Frame in Shoreditch last night. I’ve heard a few things about Frame and I’ve been interested in checking it out for a while.

They are fairly new (as far as I know) and are dance and fitness studio rather than a dedicated yoga studio. This kind of approach worries me as I find that Yoga classes at gyms can be a very hit and miss affair. For me, yoga taken out of its context and used just for weight loss totally misses the point. Maybe its many years living in Brighton, or the hippy in me, but I believe that any weight loss or toning is a side effect of yoga and the real benefit is the balancing of the body and the mind and the sense of well being that brings.  If you’re selecting postures and sequences based on how  much weight students will lose, or where they want to tone up, you’re missing out the most beneficial part.

With the above in mind I was fairly apprehensive about what I would find. I was torn between wanting to check the place out because it looked quite cool and wondering how well yoga, a fitness studio and hipsters go together.

I shouldn’t have worried. The studio is a lovely space, high ceilings, lots of light and wooden floors. It was easy to find  and I was impressed with the friendly staff, the massive changing rooms and the overall feel of the place. While the class was only an hour long it was proper yoga rather than a soulless fitness version.

It was lovely to get back to Vinyasa flow after the Budokon I’ve been learning for the past month. It’s so much easier when you know what comes next and already have the sequences lodged in your subconscious. I was enjoying it so much that I totally forgot to worry about my forearm stand and got myself into the posture on  the first go. It was an assisted forearm stand but I found myself thinking that one day I will be able to get into, and hold, the posture on my own.

I wasn’t so keen on the massive mirrors in the room where the class was held but I suppose you need to have those for the dance classes. Luckily I was quite near the back so avoided having to stare at my sweaty face for an hour! The class was much bigger than I’m used to but everyone was very friendly and I didn’t spot even one aloof  hipster.

Yoga classes can be very expensive in London (£10 minimum often as much as £12.00) so I was pleased that my trip coincided with an offer they have on at the moment for 10 days of  yoga for £10. As this is less than I pay for my usual weekly class I was very pleased. Even if I don’t go again I’ve still saved £2.00 – bargain!  After a good look through their timetable I’ve found various classes I’d like to try over the next ten days and I’m rather looking forward to it!

Overall I’m very pleased with my new yoga find.