Guest article by Emily Apple
Photo by Matthew Kane

General healthcare experts recommend that in order to live a healthy life you simply must exercise at least three times a week or 20 minutes a day. Choosing what type of exercise to do is the next hurdle and it’s considered a hurdle because there are really too many options. Some people swear by isometric training, some crossfit and the debate around whether cardio training is worthwhile or not is neverending. But those who swear by yoga never look to any other form of exercise and seem to find complete fulfillment in this type of physical training.

Here’s why yogis are yogis for life.

Your body alone makes you strong

Yoga is a full body workout from the top of your head to the tips of your toes. It requires you to make use of your entire body in every pose and engages your core strength continuously. Unlike gym, you don’t train various muscle groups in isolation but rather engage all the muscle groups to achieve various poses. Those who’ve practised yoga for years find themselves able to lift their own body weight – that in itself is a testament to the strength gained.

Heart rate matters

No matter your viewpoint on cardio it’s designed to increase your heart rate. And yoga is able to do that for you, too. Yoga is all about aligning your breathing to your movements.  As you move from pose to pose with a steady pace and with the type of continual flow of movement that’s taught, you’ll be surprised at just how quickly your heart rate increases.

Mindfulness for a better life

Yoga impresses upon its practitioners that you should be grateful for, and aware of, your body. This means that you’re not doing yoga in a competitive manner but rather doing it because you love your body and want the best for it. This translates eventually into how you treat your body in all areas of your life. Ultimately, yoga will help you to have the best body you can, through teaching you how to love it and how to accept it as uniquely yours. Many yogis can testify to the practice making you strong physically as well as mentally. You are likely to find yourself eating better, drinking more water and becoming more active when you practice yoga because of this mindful factor.

Yoga is free to try

Literally, yoga doesn’t cost you a cent if you don’t want it to. If you want to practise Bikram heated yoga then you’ll end up heading to a studio for a taught class but if not then you need only your body and some space to move it in. You don’t need to go to a gym, a studio or even outside to practice yoga. You don’t need fancy gym equipment or special clothing for yoga either. In fact, many practice in their oldest clothes or pyjamas. You don’t even need to be at home, you can take a twenty minute break in the middle of your work day and practice. What’s more, if you need some assistance or would like to learn new poses then you can take a look at some free online videos for instruction.