The Importance of Yoga in Modern Life Cannot Be Understated.
Yoga: some love it, some think they can’t do it, and some have no idea how it’s so popular. Whatever your stance on yoga – yoga is a pretty important topic in our modern lifestyle. Here at Board and Life, we have a mixed relationship the yoga. Lisa likes it but doesn’t do it too often. Bruce has actually done it before a few times and never really got into it – but can understand why it’s so popular!
Now, there are loads of reason why you should do yoga on a day-to-day basis because of the health benefits. But for this post, we wanted to chat about yoga itself as a disciple and a lifestyle. So, we chatted with an accredited yoga teacher (she’s actually in the family) to help us understand more about yoga. Whether you are a student, a busy worker, or just someone who is curious about understanding why yoga is so important in modern life – read on!
Why is it Important to Do Yoga?
You can strike a pose anywhere – but maybe not here if you are a beginner! // Photo: Unsplash
So, why is it important to do yoga? If you peel back the lifestyle trend, what you find is that yoga is actually super beneficial for us in many ways. It’s no secret that yoga has many benefits for our physical, mental, and spiritual health.
As a form of moderate physical activity (intensity depending), yoga is great for our physical health. While many believe that yoga is about flexibility, it’s actually more about building core strength. Gentle movements that are held for extended periods of time are good for the joints, range of motion, blood circulation, and posture.
Mentally, yoga is great for regulating our breathing, calming anxiety and stress, and clearing our heads. Spiritually, yoga helps to promote an overall sense of mindfulness. Mindfulness is essentially a form of meditation – and yoga helps to build our mindfulness (or awareness) of ourselves.
You might think the poses are just the things you do with your body. However, over time (and with a little practice), you’ll recognize what you are doing, why you are doing it, how you are moving your body, what it took to get there, and how you feel when you do it. This awareness is mindfulness and the change can be profound.
We’ll cover the benefits of yoga full on in another post because the topic itself is fascinating but very complex. Obviously, there are lots of benefits to your body and mind, and we just wanted to highlight how important yoga can be in your life.
A Very Brief History of Yoga
Okay, so we know that yoga is pretty good for us – but often times we know nothing about it! So, before we can dive into understanding the role of yoga in our times, we have to quickly introduce where yoga came from back in the day. The term “yoga” is actually derived from the Sanskrit root ‘Yuj’. This has the meaning of ‘to join’ or ‘to unite’. Originally, yoga was practiced in ancient India – the term was first found in early scripts from 1500 BC or earlier!
Over the years (basically thousands), styles/types of yoga branched off from the original to form their own disciplines (some of which we still practice today). While there might be subtle differences between the sub-categories of yoga, they all derive from the original teachings of “togetherness”. This togetherness can be within you (mind and body) but can also represent the community around you.
As far as historians know, yoga was also practiced as a means of achieving states of self-awareness. And it’s this point about “self-awareness” (and lack thereof in our current lifestyles, generally) that helps to explain why yoga has taken off as a lifestyle trend in recent decades. This was no accident.
The Importance of Yoga in Modern Life
Yoga and skyscrapers – seems like modern life! // Photo: Unsplash
This brings us to understanding yoga in modern life. Remember, yoga is not a religion – yoga is a lifestyle and a form of meditation and a physical activity. This makes yoga literally the exact remedy for modern life in the 2000s. Why? Because these days, our world moves very fast. From high-level career aspiration to family pressure, to stress in school, worries about our environment, and everything else we worry about – we live in a “stress bubble”.
Now, not everyone lives in this bubble but much of contemporary western society does – and it’s getting to be a bit too much for some people. We’ve become more physically unfit and unwell, and social media and smartphones constantly have us connected yet also disconnected from one another. Work and school stress seem to be at an all-time high with the incidence of mental health cases rising.
At some point, people started looking for ways to break this cycle in healthy and productive ways. For some, yoga became that remedy. Yoga was the perfect fit – a means for getting in a little physical activity, a way to connect with others around you, and a way to connect with yourself.
This is why yoga has taken off in recent years. Yoga can be seen as one of the true healthy remedies for the weight we bear in our daily lives!
The Importance of Yoga During the Day
Yoga seems to be something that everyone should consider trying at least once. This is because yoga can have positive effects on you during your day. One of the best applications for yoga is for stress and anxiety reduction. We know that a little physical activity can go a long way to helping to relieve anxiety – this is something we talk about in our post about the benefits of hiking.
Of course, doing yoga each and every day might seem like an impossible goal to for you to achieve right now. You don’t have to start going to yoga class each day – but you do have to make the conscious effort to practice mindfulness or breathing each day. Maybe then you can try to take on the poses on your own or join a class.
Point is – you have to start somewhere – and you can set SMART goals to get into yoga in the same way you want to get into running or want to read more.
The Importance of Yoga for Students
Sometimes it’s necessary to just disconnect from it all. // Photo: Unsplash
A popular question about yoga is what the benefits might be for students. It’s no secret that today both high school and university students, regardless of country or level of academics, are prone to more stressful work conditions. While there is a rise in mental health awareness on campuses in Canada, the USA, and the UK, some universities have turned to other wellness strategies and practices that help supplement the services offered to students. Yoga is one of them.
Yoga, as we’ve mentioned, is largely about awareness and calmness. This has profound effects on reducing stress and built-up anxiety. Through yoga, the use of repeatable mantras is known to reduce stress and anxiety for students as well.
Yoga allows students to increase their ability to address numerous tasks without the build-up of stress associated. Why this happens is complicated – but in short, an increased awareness and mental capacity allows for people to compartmentalize their challenges into manageable chunks. Tasks and ideas become a sequential list of things to do and learn instead of a landslide of information for the brain to process at once.
This is why doing yoga can be so helpful for students: increased physical activity, increased calmness, increased awareness, decreased built-up stress! While doing yoga doesn’t have the exact effects for everyone, it’s definitely worth giving it a try if your school has free classes or sessions!
Getting Started with Yoga
Okay, great – so you’re convinced to give yoga a go. The next question everyone has is typical: where do I even begin? Admittedly, yoga can be a daunting activity: it’s like a cult. If you don’t know what you are doing, you might fear feeling super funny, out of place, and embarrassed.
Luckily, there are lots of classes popping for this exact reason: people are curious but unsure! A quick Google of your town or city and the word “yoga” will likely help you get started with where to find a free class or studio.
Are you feeling hesitant because you might not have the right gear? Yoga gear is simple and inexpensive. Often, instructors even supply mats depending on where the class is held. If you want to look into having your own mat to practice at home first, here is a simple classic yoga mat and a towel for hot yoga to check out.
Remember, you can also definitely find classes and poses on YouTube to try out at home. Having your own mat can definitely help you get more comfortable with the poses and the mentality of yoga before doing yoga for real with others!
And there you have it – a few points about the importance of yoga. What do you think? Yoga is definitely not for everyone – but it’s totally fine to be curious about wanting to give it a try! A huge shout out to the family for helping us understand more about yoga at a deeper level! Get in touch on Twitter @BoardandLife and tell us what you love about yoga! We’d love to hear what you think!
As always, Stay Curious,
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