Five reasons to add yoga to your day

yoga pic

At REIZE headquarters we may appear to be adrenaline junkies because of all the action sports we associate ourselves with but from time to time we like to slow things down, relax and just drift away from the fast pace of the world. We know life can get hectic and cause major stress, which is why we love to take time out of our days to do activities we enjoy and one of those activities is yoga. Whilst we do enjoy practicing yoga and know it is beneficial to our bodies in some way we are honest enough to admit that we don’t know the actual benefits or the ways yoga actually helps in our everyday lives, so we caught up with someone who does.

Elise Campbell is one of Southern Sydney’s leading yoga instructors and has been practicing and teaching yoga for over six years at her studio in Sylvania, Yoga Align Australia. We caught up with Elise to help explain some of the benefits of consistent yoga practice.

What are some of the main benefits from practicing yoga consistently?

The benefits of consistent yoga practice are numerous. The beauty of yoga is that it meets many different needs. People come to yoga for all types of reasons and usually find that they have those needs met, and then end up benefiting from the practice in ways they didn't even expect. The reason I'm so passionate about it is because it improves my quality of life in so many ways, physical, physiological, mental, and spiritual.

Here is a basic list of five benefits...

1) Strength: Yoga makes you strong in a way that means your whole body has to work together in an effort to support itself in all kinds of unusual positions. This kind of strength is about muscular endurance, core and communication between your brain and your big toe, your brain and your fingertips, and everything in-between! For a muscle to function at peak performance, it must not only need the ability to tense and fire, but also the ability to completely relax. So sometimes being strong is also about being soft. Hard, hard, hard all the time is not good and I think this is a huge misconception in the fitness industry.

2) Flexibility: This is an obvious one when it comes to yoga. Most people judge flexibility as whether or not one can touch their toes. As a yoga teacher I hear this all the time, but did you know there are 360 joints in the human body? That's 360 places where flexibility either does or does not occur in you. Flexibility is the key to feeling light, youthful, having good movement, and is a key factor for my next point...

3) Posture, and injury management and prevention: Yoga creates movement and length in the spine by utilising poses that enhance the spines four main ways of moving: forward bend, back bend, side bend and twist. Yoga will also work on all the joints and enhance their range of movement, lengthen tight muscles, draw blood to injured areas, and have you standing taller and prouder. Yoga will not only create the pathways to good posture, but also give you an idea of how you should be standing, walking, and sitting.

4) Relaxation: Yoga creates a mechanism for handling stress, on and off the yoga mat. It does this by encouraging relaxation in an artificially induced, semi-stressful situation (a yoga pose). Your yoga practice is a time for you to be alone with yourself, to work through whatever may arise while you're practicing, in order to deal with it, heal it, and let it go. What I'm referring to may be physical pain, or mental pain, but usually both!

5) Increased energy and blood flow: Yoga is all about circulating energy and consciousness through the body. This creates warmth, increases energy levels and makes you feel whole and nourished. It does this mainly by increasing blood flow to all parts of the body including the extremities of the body, the internal organs, and the brain. It also increases oxygen transfer at the cellular level by using breath control, via a process known as the Bohr effect.

Do you feel that not enough people practice Yoga in society? Why or Why not?

Of course, as a yoga teacher, I don't think enough people practice yoga! Although yoga is an ancient method, I think it is even more important in today's world that more people practice because it is so effective at combating the effects of modern living, in particular increased stress levels, and more problematic stresses our bodies accrue due to the effects of sitting in chairs and sedentary lifestyle.

It is my genuine belief that the world would be a better place if EVERYONE practiced yoga. Why? Because yoga makes you healthier, happier and more energetic. Therefore, when you finish your yoga practice, you go out into the world and you are nicer to people, you work harder, are more passionate, make better decisions for yourself, others and the planet. A naive view? Perhaps, but try the yoga for yourself and see!

In today's society life is set at such a fast pace what are some ways to help allow for people to practice Yoga and how long should they attempt to practice for?

I believe that everyone should do some amount of yoga, six days per week. Maybe this means they can only get to class once or twice a week, then on the other days, they do some at-home practice for 20 minutes or more each time. There are so many YouTube channels and yoga DVDs out there for this exact purpose. Once you create this habit in your body and in your life, it won't be an effort, you will actually crave the yoga!

Yoga definitely has numerous benefits as outlined by Elise and here at REIZE we will definitely endeavor to fit more of it into our days. We would like to thank Elise Campbell for taking the time to answer our questions and give a shout out to everyone to head down to her studio Yoga Align Australia located in Sylvania in Sydney’s Sutherland Shire. Elise has more than a half a decade of experience and is one of the most genuine and passionate yoga instructors we have crossed paths with. Keep living the REIZE life and stay healthy and don’t forget to get into yoga.

Written by Jake Bond