Did you know … that yoga is Australia’s fastest growing fitness activity? As of June 2016, one in ten Australians (age 14+) practice yoga. In fact, these days there are more Australians practicing yoga, than there are Australians playing soccer, cricket, golf or tennis. Whether it means fifteen minutes at home before heading off for work; or a class at a local gym or recreation center; ongoing practice at a yoga studio; or traveling to attend one of the hundreds of yoga retreats offered every year – Australians as a whole are loving their yoga!
And – truth be told – it’s not only in Australia. Though yoga has its origins in ancient India, here in the 21st century its influence is now worldwide. In short: not only in Asia and Australia, but also throughout Europe, North America, South America and Africa, yoga is all the rage!
Nevertheless, you might be asking: Can yoga work as a distraction to quitting smoking?
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The short- and long-term benefits of this ancient practice are indisputable (more on this below) – but to still have doubts about whether or not it’s right for you is perfectly legitimate. And the only way to really know is, of course, to give it a go: to attend a few classes, and see how it feels. What might also help, however, is to clear up some common misconceptions about what a yoga practice is and is not.
Common Misconceptions About Yoga
1. You have to be flexible to practice yoga. To say that yoga requires a flexible body is kind of like saying that only healthy people are allowed to check into a hospital: it’s confusing a result for a requirement. Over time, yoga practice will have the result of increasing both physical and mental flexibility. Being flexible already is not a requirement! An intelligent yoga practice is of benefit to any and all body types.
2. Yoga is only for the young. Actually, yoga practice is one of the best anti-aging pro-longevity activities on the planet. Regardless of your physical age, yoga will support the health and wellbeing of your body, along with mental-emotional joie de vivre. Being "young at heart" and having childlike enthusiasm is what makes us ageless!
3. Yoga is mostly about having a healthy body. While yoga does improve physical health, its mental-emotional benefits are just as profound. And, at its deepest levels, it also supports the unfolding of spiritual insight. Yoga benefits us at all levels of our being!
4. Yoga is not a good workout. There are many different styles of yoga, some of which are very rigorous, physically – with lots of flowing dance-like or martial-arts-like movements and challenging poses. Other styles of yoga are more gentle, quiet and introspective. And some are designed specifically for people recovering from illness or injury. In other words, yoga can be a great cardiovascular workout; a great strength-and-flexibility workout; and deeply healing – depending on what you want.
5. Yoga is only for women. While it’s true that in many yoga classes the majority of students currently are women, the profound benefits of yoga are available equally to men and women. So guys … what exactly are you waiting for?!
6. Yoga is only for flakey, hippie, woo-woo types. Don’t be fooled by the Sanskrit name – “yoga” – whose English translation could be rendered simply as: union with our highest potential. Certainly the desire to unfold our deepest potential transcends personality “type.” It’s for everyone!
Physical, Mental & Emotional Benefits Of Yoga that can help you quit smoking
Okay, now that we’ve debunked some of the misconceptions about yoga – let’s have a closer look at its impressive array of proven benefits: the fruits of an intelligent practice.
The physical benefits of a regular yoga practice include:
- Improved balance
- Increased flexibility
- Increased energy and stamina
- Increased muscle strength and tone
- Reduction or elimination of chronic pain
- Balanced metabolism
- Weight stabilizing at an optimal level
- Positive effects on the cardiovascular, respiratory, digestive, endocrine, immune and central nervous systems
- Improved athletic performance
- Protection from injury
- Partial reversing of the aging process: restoring a youthfully vibrant body
The mental-emotional benefits of a regular yoga practice include:
- Stress relief & relaxation
- Emotional harmony
- Improved concentration
- Better sleep
- Mental clarity
- Calmness & contentment
- Improved insight & creativity
- Equanimity in the face of challenging circumstances
All this sounds pretty good, wouldn’t you say? :)
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