Most everyone knows that yoga is good exercise. It can increase flexibility, balance, stamina, and strength. What some don’t realize, however, is the effects yoga can have on the mind. Some of these effects could include increased confidence, self-esteem, clarity in making decisions, increased motivation, and a sense of peace within yourself. These are just some the ways in which yoga strengthens our spirits (while getting a good workout in!).
So how can we better capitalize on yoga’s natural ability to strengthen our spirits? Lucky for you, I’ve used my brainstorming power to find out some simple ways to do it. Here are four:
1. Power Yoga
Try taking a class or looking up some YouTube videos on Power Yoga. This type of yoga practice seeks to pull out one’s innermost strength through powerful poses and body movements. If you are feeling inadequate in some aspect of life, or too weak to handle a problem or conflict, Power Yoga might be just the remedy. Power Yoga works from the heart, washing the blood throughout the body through vigorous exercise and muscle-testing poses. In that respect, this form of yoga may not be for beginners. However, if you are experienced at yoga or are confident enough to give it a try, I highly recommend it.
2. Combine with Meditation
This is very important. It may even be accurate to say that without meditation, yoga is simply exercise for the body, and not the spirit. Try a relaxation yoga class or video. Before you begin a routine, set an intention for what you wish to get out of it. This can be anything from being more connected to the Universe, to receiving clarity about an important decision, to simply improving your mood. Also, research potential mantras to recite as you complete your yoga routine, or make up your own. This will keep you focused on the benefits you are seeking from your yoga practice.
3. Research Yoga’s History
Yoga has become so mainstream in the fitness culture that many don’t know the origins of the practice. If you practice yoga, but don’t know very much about how it came to be, it may be a good idea to do some research. In addition to building your appreciation for yoga, it will make you more conscious of the meaning behind it during your routine. Check out Yoga Journal for a good beginner’s guide to the history of yoga, along with other yoga-related tutorials.
4. Practice Daily
To truly reap the spirit-strengthening benefits of yoga, practice daily. The best time to do this is right after waking in the morning, or in the evening when getting ready for bed. Try doing energizing yoga in the morning with a full glass of cucumber or lemon infused water. If you start the day with good vibrations, the rest of the day will fall into place. Use the evening yoga to relax and reflect on your day. This can be done in combination with meditation and a mug of chamomile or other herbal tea. Evening yoga will set the tone for a good night’s sleep and ensure your spirit will be glowing and refreshed when the sun rises.
Here is a bedtime yoga video to try: