Very often, our best lessons are learned from the warriors in our life who are fighting the most difficult battles. Recently I attended a meeting for people with MS, and heard an inspiring story. Abby, a beautiful woman who has struggled with Multiple Sclerosis for many years talked of the frustration of not being able to do the simple daily things we all take for granted. She turned to yoga (in her chair) as a way of learning to relax and gain more control of her body. What she didn’t expect was the improvement in her ability to do the small things, like reach her own glass of water.
There are many benefits of a regular yoga practice, but consider these as you think about skipping out on your next yoga class:
- Yoga helps increase range of motion in all of your joints. So like Abby, you can reach your own glass, or get something off of a high shelf. This may not seem like such a huge feat now, but as we age, a common complaint is not being able to get to out-of-reach items.
- How quickly, and easily can you get up off of the floor, or out of a chair? I have a 64 year old client who is giddy about the fact that yoga has helped him jump up off the floor like a kid. Try it!
- Is it getting harder to tie your own shoes? I remember being pregnant and needing my husband to help me. I vowed to never go there again. Yoga keeps us flexible enough to reach down and tie our shoes, and maybe even give ourselves a cute pedicure.
- Yoga helps with balance. Notice a child next time you’re walking outside. They look for every single opportunity to challenge their balance. They walk on stones, curbs, fallen trees, anything. But then we grow up and plant ourselves firmly on an office chair. Yoga gives us many opportunities to stand on one leg, or balance our weight on our arms.
- Yoga improves strength. We learn in yoga how to hold our own body weight, and how to engage our core. You may just find yourself moving a heavy object instead of asking for help!
- Yoga helps improve breathing and circulation. Two bodily functions we don’t think much about, but without them, we have nothing. Yoga helps us breathe more deeply, and move toxins out of our bodies more quickly.
- More than anything, a regular yoga practice helps us deal with the stress and craziness of daily life. No matter where we are, and what is going on around us, taking a deep yoga breath, stretching our shoulders and standing taller gives us a new look at life. And that’s something we can all benefit from.