If you’re thinking about trying yoga, you’re in good company. It’s easy to think of yoga as a modern practice, but it is rooted in over 5,000 years of ancient Indian traditions—and it only continues to gain traction in Singapore and the rest of the world. Favoured for its calming benefits for both the body and the mind, this low-impact exercise can offer you a respite from your hectic lifestyle while torching calories and detoxifying your body. Considering that stress relief is more crucial than ever now, it’s no wonder that yoga has climbed the ranks to become nearly everyone’s go-to exercise.
Not yet convinced that you should unfurl your mat? Here’s a quick rundown on yoga’s physical and mental benefits, as well as some tips for absolute beginners to the practice.
Relish in the Physical Benefits
Yoga may not have originated as the sweaty workout many people may think of it as now, but its health benefits are undeniable.
A 2016 study done by the International Journal of Yoga has shown that this low-impact exercise can significantly increase flexibility and balance. By improving your muscular flexibility, you’ll be better able to correct imbalances in your body to attain proper alignment. This translates to better posture and spinal health. Good spinal health provides the foundation for preventing and alleviating musculoskeletal issues such as back pain as well as shoulder and neck pain. A yoga practice will put you in plenty of challenging balance poses—perfect opportunities for you to work on your balance and stability, so you can enjoy improved athletic performance and lower risks of injury in the long run.
Research has also shown that yoga, specifically Hatha yoga and Bikram yoga, have fatigue-fighting benefits. As with most exercises, yoga movements bring more oxygen-rich blood to the muscles and organs, boost your energy, and improve overall body performance.
Giving You a Mental Reprieve
Stress can reveal itself in many ways – back and neck pain, sleeping problems, inability to concentrate and the like. A regular yoga practice can equip you with effective and sustainable ways of coping with stress, through meditation and deep breathing exercises. When you make time for yourself to slow down on the mat, there will be less activity in your limbic system, the part of your brain that’s dedicated to intense emotions. When there is a decrease in limbic activity, you’ll be more likely to give tempered responses in stressful situations. Cognitive disorders like anxiety and depression can also be alleviated.
Aside from decreasing limbic activity, yoga can also improve your mood by lowering stress hormones while upping those feel-good chemicals called endorphins. Yoga also stimulates the production of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), which promotes a better mood and decreased anxiety.
All in all, yoga promotes mental clarity and calmness, relieves chronic stress patterns, relaxes the mind, and sharpens mental acuity.
Tips for Beginners
From Vinyasa to Hatha to Yin Yoga and more, there are many different styles of yoga offered in fitness studios all across Singapore. Moreover, each style may vary by studio and teacher. It can be overwhelming to narrow down your options to find your ideal yoga style, especially if you’ve never done yoga before.
The best way to start is to simply call the studios you like to discover which of their classes are suitable for beginners. In general, you would probably want to start with non-heated classes that focus on foundational poses. Vinyasa and Hatha yoga are more basic, slower-paced styles that are great options.
If you really wish to relish both the physical and mental benefits that yoga offers, choosing the right yoga guru matters. Look for holistic classes that offer philosophical teachings alongside the physical practice.
When dressing for class, be sure to choose something comfortable and form-fitting. The ideal yoga clothes can wick away sweat well while allowing you to move, stretch and breathe with ease and minimal distractions. Consider our signature buttery-soft Everywear Leggings (High Rise) that offer maximum stretchability for optimal movement. If you’re more comfortable with shorts, our ultra-breathable Cloud Bike Shorts 6” are an excellent addition to your wardrobe. For the top, our Unrestrained Bra (Back Clasp) provides the extra support you need to commit to every stretch.If you’re still looking for the perfect attire to don for your first yoga session, Anya Active is here to help! As your go-to ladies’ sportswear brand, our selection of female gym wear is designed to support and elevate you throughout your yoga workouts. Shop online or visit our outlet in Singapore and we will personally assist you.