the cork yoga kit including a yoga wheel yogablocks and a yoga mat

An ancient practice, Yoga has been around for thousands of years. And it has developed so much since its inception – through philosophy, meditation, religion and practice.

Today, Yoga is extremely popular and there are so many different types too. One class can be completely different from the next, and what you take from each session can also be different.

Yoga is also very personal and that’s why so many people turn to it. When you lead a busy lifestyle that includes a hectic schedule, a long commute, a young family or a stressful job, coming home and sitting in front of the TV just doesn’t cut it. You need an outlet – something that gives you a space to breathe as well as time to focus on yourself.

And if you’re not already revelling in the benefits of Yoga, January is the perfect time to start. Even if you’re not into making new year’s resolutions, it’s a great time to think about the year ahead and what you’d like to get out of it.

Benefits of Yoga

Yoga has something for everyone. Whether you want to dive straight in, retreats and all, use it as a way to supplement your training or simply do it to combat the stresses and strains of daily life.

Step one? Get yourself kitted out with one of our Yoga Starter Kits. Not only eco-friendly, but cork is also non-slip and carries antibacterial properties which is great when you use your mat every day.

Step two? Keep reading to find out why we love Yoga so much and just how many benefits you could be getting from having it in your life.

1) Develop strength

There’s no doubt about it, Yoga is fantastic for building strength. Especially when you progress to handstands. And strength is so important for daily life as well as your functional fitness levels, making it all the more important to keep it up.

2) Be more flexible

Yoga takes a lot of practice and it can be years before you get to some of the more advanced poses. But the regular stretching does wonders for your joint and muscle flexibility. Especially if you do Bikram Yoga (hot Yoga) as the heat really helps you to push your flexibility a little further.

Doing regular stretching like this is ideal for those who do a lot of strength training or running, as these types of exercises can cause muscles to tighten up which in turn can cause pain or injury. So, Yoga is also great as a supplementary exercise.

young woman bending around a yoga wheel with her back and using her hands above her head

3) Rehabilitate

Old injuries and stiff joints can get worse when they’re left unattended. So, more often than not, it’s important to keep everything moving. Yoga works the whole body and addresses the subtleties that might be causing you an issue. It’s also very slow and progressive so you can work your muscles and joints gently and stop where you feel comfortable.

4) De-stress

A big theme that runs throughout Yoga is liberation. The more meditative side of the ancient practice is about doing away with all the thoughts that are running around your head and freeing your mind. Of course, this takes years of training, but that doesn’t mean we can’t benefit from practising. Yoga can be incredibly mindful too which can be beneficial for anyone suffering from depression or anxiety.

5) Stay motivated

Unlike something high-impact such as HIIT, Yoga is something you can do every day. And it doesn’t need to be a full hour either. Ten minutes in the morning is a great way to start your day and is a great way of looking after stuff joints and tight muscles. Little and often will also help you to build strength and progress your poses.

young woman using orange yoga support pads

6) Get a new outlook on life

Another part of Yoga is about looking at things from a different perspective. Inversions are positions where your heart is above your head and are also great for allowing you to contemplate the world from a new angle. They’re great for meditation and helping to lift your mood too.

7) Make new friends

Yoga’s popularity means that it’s a great place to meet new friends. And this means that it becomes more than just a regular class. You can go, stretch and then afterwards, go for a coffee, have a chat and simply experience new things. It’s wonderful for bringing people together – especially those with similar interests – and is definitely another reason to take it up in the New Year.

8) Improve your posture

So many of us spend all day sat at desks in front of a computer screen, which can lead to all sorts of problems. It would seem that almost everyone has some sort of issue in their back or shoulders. Because Yoga works on your core strength and flexibility, it really helps you become more aware of your posture. And by building strength in your back, you’ll be more comfortable sitting up straight and helping to prevent issues from sitting poorly.

young woman leaning her hand against a yoga block for posture and control

9) Prepare for the future

Muscle strength and joint flexibility is not only important for everyday life but it’s also important for helping to prevent any issues further down the line. The older we get, the more prone we are to injury. But by building up strength, we can stay balanced and in good working order.

10) Stay healthy

For many, Yoga isn’t just a regular fitness class, it’s a way of life. It teaches us to be mindful and take care of our bodies. Not just by stretching and strengthening, but it also helps us to think about what we put into our bodies as well as take time out to meditate. Our mental health is just as important as our physical health and finding the perfect balance will ultimately have a knock-on effect on all the areas of our lives.

There are so many benefits to be had from doing Yoga, and there are so many different types too – just because you may not like one style doesn’t mean you won’t like another. So, it’s always worth trying a few styles.

For more fitness inspiration, as well as Christmas gift ideas, head over to our Instagram and Facebook pages @Mirafitofficial.