by Ainsley Lawrence,
Contributing Author, Conscious Reminder
People choose to get into yoga for different reasons. Some want to improve their physical health while others want to tap into mental wellness. Maybe you started practicing yoga to become more flexible or to combat stress. Maybe you even discovered it because you have a friend who wouldn’t stop talking about how great it is!
Whatever your individual pursuits might be, you’ll have an easier time achieving them and staying motivated if you set the right goals for yourself.
Yoga is different from other exercise regimens in many ways. It doesn’t always feel as intense or demanding, but you can set goals and reach milestones the way you would with any other type of exercise – or spiritual journey.
So, how can you make sure you’re setting the right goals? What aspirations should you have in place that are tailored to your health and wellness? Let’s talk more about how you can evaluate what you truly want from your yoga experience, and how you can set the right goals to keep yourself moving forward.
Feeling Strong Again
Most people don’t immediately associate yoga and strength. However, if you’ve been practicing it for any length of time you know it engages almost every muscle in your body – especially your core. Maybe you recently had a baby and you’re not feeling like you’re in full control of your body. Or, maybe you feel like the muscles you developed over time are gone.
Certain yoga poses can help to alleviate post-partum musculoskeletal pain. Not only will it make it easier for you to start doing full routines, but you’ll feel more in control of your body and stronger over time.
You might also want to feel stronger if you were recently in an accident, you haven’t exercised in years, or you’re getting older and want to take charge of your well-being. Yoga is a fantastic way to stretch and tone your muscles while using your natural bodyweight to build strength. You’ll feel yourself getting stronger almost every time you do it, which can be a huge motivational tool to keep going and challenge yourself (and your muscles).
Increasing Your Mobility
Yoga is a fantastic way to improve your flexibility and mobility. As you get more flexible by slowly adapting to different poses, you’ll release muscle tension and tightness. You’ll also be able to move your joints in a specific direction without difficulty. Extended mobility is important for people who are getting older and want to maintain independence. However, it can be beneficial for anyone who sits at a desk most of the day or lives an otherwise sedentary lifestyle. In addition to boosting your mobility, yoga can help with
- Poor posture
- Balance issues
- Conditions like Parkinson’s and Arthritis
- Core strength
The mobility exercises used in yoga can also alleviate pain and help you deal with other uncomfortable and/or unsightly symptoms from different ailments. For example, it isn’t uncommon for people with varicose veins to do a lot of sitting. Regular exercise is great for vein health, but yoga can take things one step further by relieving pain and swelling in the legs without having to do an intense workout. If you already struggle with mobility issues, there are certain poses and stretches you can even do from a chair.
Managing Mental Health
Exercise is known for being a great way to reduce stress and improve your mental health. If your goal is to boost your mental well-being, you can experience a “runner’s high” doing just about any kind of physical activity.
However, yoga once again goes one step further, building a relationship between your mind, body, and soul. Yoga focuses on deep breathing and can help to establish mental clarity. You’re in a calm, tranquil environment that allows you to be more mindful. Rather than feeling anxious about the past or future, you can be fully present and focused. Yoga can improve your mental health by:
- Boosting body awareness
- Relieving chronic stress patterns
- Centering your attention
- Improving your concentration
- Relaxing your mind
You can also reach your mental health goals by joining a yoga class. Isolation and loneliness have become major mental health issues over the last few years – largely due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Unfortunately, isolation can lead to a variety of serious health issues. By joining a yoga class with others, you’ll feel a sense of community and support, especially if you’re going through a difficult time.
The benefits you receive from regular yoga practice will make it easier to stay motivated and keep working toward your goals. Whether you want to improve your connections, maintain mental wellness, or feel strong and in control of your body again, yoga can help you get there. Keep these goals in mind each time you get into a new position, and pay attention to the positive changes that are already happening in your mind and body.
About the Author: Ainsley Lawrence is a freelance writer with an interest in balanced living through education and technology. She loves travelling to beautiful places and is frequently lost in a good book.
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