I don’t know about you but I’ve often gone into a yoga class feeling like I need nothing more than a ‘good old stretch’, especially after sitting at my desk all day. Yet more often than not, feeling stretched out is not the only thing I’ll take off the mat with me at the end of class.
Don’t you just love it when you get more than you signed up for?
Yet still I hear it all the time - ‘yoga is JUST stretching!’
I’m sure you’ve thought it too because once upon a time so did i!
And you know what, you’re not entirely wrong…
There is stretching in yoga and plenty of it! Some of the postures will be similar to stretching exercises you’ve done at the gym or warming up for a run. Your yoga teacher may even tell you during class where you might be feeling the stretch in a particular posture.
However, part of the problem is the overuse of ‘stretch’ as a term attributable to any feeling or sensation in the body. There’s no wonder as a student you think that stretching is the only benefit if there is little mention of anything else! And if you’re not yet a student but the thought of airy fairy stretching has put you off - I don’t blame you!
But let me tell you a little secret.... it’s a whole lot more than just stretching!
Want to know what’s really going on in your body during a yoga class?
A good yoga class will not only stretch your muscles but give you all of these amazing physical and mental benefits:
STRENGTH - try holding plank pose for a minute and you’ll get the idea!
FLEXIBILITY - remember it’s a benefit not a pre requisite
MOBILITY - to help you move safely in your practice and beyond
BALANCE - for your mind AND body!
STABILITY - because we all like to feel in control, right?
STRESS - yes, physical stress can be good! More on that another time…
I challenge you to name any other activity that will give you a hit of all these in one session! Go on, keep thinking...
So tell me, which of these benefits have you felt the most from your practice? Have I missed any off?! I’d love to know your thoughts!
Until next time,