Maybe you already practice some form of yoga, or have only watched a yoga class through the studio window at your gym while you ran on the treadmill or swung the kettlebell. Starting or adding an at-home yoga practice to your routine is a great idea and gentle or restorative yoga is a great option because you don’t need any additional equipment besides a yoga mat.
Like other styles of yoga, gentle yoga relieves stress, increases flexibility, calms the mind, and strengthens the body. Gentle yoga, in particular, can be relaxing and help enhance the range of motion. In gentle yoga, the movement is slow, each movement is linked with breath, and we enter into the postures gradually—moving in and out of each pose first, and then finding a holding position. This preparation and fluid entry into postures protects and nurtures the joints, muscles, and connective tissue. With dynamic gentle yoga, you explore your pain-free range of motion and find your edge, so you can come safely and comfortably into the pose, depending on what’s right for your body on any given day.
Here are three long-term health benefits of gentle yoga:
1. Practicing Gentle Yoga Is Much More Effective Long-Term Than Dieting
Practicing yoga works in a very different way from dieting. Yoga honors the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual aspects of your life, rather than just being a physical act of burning calories.
It is well documented that approximately 95-99% of all diets fail in the long term.
I have found that anything that relies on calorie restriction and any kind of deprivation is usually not sustainable in the long-term (nor that fun!). And, if you are already feeling burnt out, exhausted and/or sick, then practicing gentle yoga allows you to heal yourself from within.
When I teach gentle healing yoga, I always ask my students to breathe deeply. When you really breathe deeply, you might be surprised just how easy it is to feel a deep sense of peace and relaxation wash over you!
2. Practicing Gentle Yoga Helps You To Release Stress Naturally
Chronic stress is one of the most common reasons cited for chronic disease and weight gain. It can contribute to inflammation, hormonal imbalances, immune system disorders, chronic health problems, weight gain, as well as binge eating, emotional eating and food cravings. So, it makes sense that anything that helps you relax, would also help you restore your health naturally.
Practicing gentle yoga can help you begin to reverse all the above chronic conditions, creating vibrant health and wellbeing. This is because your body already knows how to heal and when you put it in the right kind of environment, it usually responds very quickly and positively to the healing practices found within yoga, including meditation, breathingand gentle stretching movements.
In my yoga classes, I ask my students to turn their attention inwards, so that they can soften any tension that they might be experiencing in their bodies and their lives. I also encourage them to set an intention, cultivate inner awareness, compassion and kindness, which are healing qualities that can help you to feel spiritually nourished, focused and strong. Practicing gentle yoga regularly can help you to inject these beautiful healing qualities into your life.
3. Practicing Gentle Yoga Helps You Re-Connect Back To Yourself
Yoga is an ancient Sanskrit word and literally translates to ‘unity’. I like to think of this asunity of your mind and your body, reconnected and working together in harmony, balance, co-operation and friendship. Chronic health problems happen when people become disconnected from themselves.
This is common in today’s busy world, where there is so much pressure on being successful in many different roles. Often, people become unaware when they are out of disconnected, out of balance, and they end up doing too much. This is when people can burn out or even experience, a kind of break down or melt down.
But, the lovely thing about practicing gentle yoga, is that you are encouraged to stay connected to your own body and breath. Doing so can help you heal your own body from within, build up your physical strength and find inner-balance, so that you naturally feel confident and strong. Practicing gentle yoga on a regular basis helps you to consciously reconnect back to your mind, your body, your heart and your spirit. Practicing Gentle Yoga helps you to heal from within.
When you take the time to really pay attention and listen to your body, you will find that practicing gentle yoga can be a beautiful path to awakening your own happiness, bringing health and harmony to all aspects of your life. This is why practicing gentle yoga can help you to become strong, feel healthy and help you lose weight for good. It truly is a healing journey.