Signs You Should Get Back Into Yoga

Saturday, September 26, 2020

The word yoga can mean so much and so little depending on your stance. I used to hate when people mentioned the word yoga. Yeah, I get it. You can bend your knees behind your head, and suddenly you've seen the light. It was deemed as the be-all and end of all mental and physical well-being. Frankly, I had neither time nor patience for it. That was until I suffered from a breakdown in 2018. 

I relapsed into a lifelong battle with anorexia nervosa, depression, and anxiety. Looking back, I was convinced that I wouldn't make it through the next year alive. Sometimes I'm still shocked that I managed it. It was a year filled with the death of loved ones and job losses. I was struggling with my mental and physical health with little to no support. Even my relationship was breaking down.

Through it all, I had my yoga practice. Yoga was a practice I had only begun in March 2019 on a whim. I figured I had nothing to lose by giving it a go. Although it was a slow start, it eventually became a lifeline. I'm not saying that it was the miracle cure to end all cures, but it allowed me an hour or two to simply be myself.

Maybe you’re new to yoga, or perhaps you’re a seasoned veteran? Or maybe you’re just curious? What’s it all about? Will I suit it? If you've stepped away from the mat lately, your body, and mind could be telling you to go back. The hints may be subtle, but I guarantee you that they're there. Equally, if you've never tried yoga, these may be the signs you need to start your own daily or weekly practice.

You're Not Sleeping Very Well

It’s not uncommon for our sleep to suffer when we’re struggling with any sort of mental, physical or emotional stress. Our sleeping patterns can vary from sleeping too much or too little, but almost always we’re left feeling unrested. Although this could be a symptom of something much deeper, it could also be an indication that it’s time to try adding something new to your routine. Whether it’s reducing your coffee intake or trying mindfulness, there are hundreds of ways for us to try and rectify our poor sleeping habits. 

Through the use of several studies, it’s been determined that Yoga could be the key to getting a full, and restful night’s sleep. After just eight weeks of consistent study, the following improvements were found in the twenty insomniac participants:

  • Wake-up time
  • The time it took to fall asleep
  • Sleep Efficiency
  • Total sleep time
  • Total wake time

The relaxation aspect of yoga gives our minds and bodies time to wind down. If you have issues sleeping, it’s best to practice yoga before going to bed. Just fifteen to thirty minutes of nighttime stretches to wind down and you’ll begin to see a significant benefit after just a few days of consistent practice. 

You're Feeling Stiff

“I’m not flexible enough for yoga.”

“I could never twist myself into that shape.” 

You don’t have to be flexible or strong to start yoga. Many people take up yoga to improve flexibility without it being overly strenuous on their bodies. Yoga allows you to focus on fitness without the need to count or track calories. Although it can be used for weight loss, it’s mostly used for building strength, flexibility and resilience. 

Like many things, we don’t have to be perfect. I’ve been practising for just over a year now and can I bend my knee behind my head? Not a chance but I feel a hell of a lot stronger and mentally clearer than I did at the very start. It doesn’t matter when just get those stretches in. 

You Can't Catch Your Breath

Although it might seem like second nature, the majority of us don’t take the time to breathe. It’s not just about the usual ‘in and out’ sensation. It’s about taking your time to take a full, deep breath and puffing it all back out. 

There’s a reason that your doctor tells you to take deep breaths when you’re getting blood drawn. Deep, concentrated breathing helps us to remain focused, centred and allows us to reduce symptoms of anxiety and stress. 

Yoga is all about focusing on our breathing while executing the various poses (asanas). By combining the two, we’re better able to hold poses and clear our minds of external stressors. Yoga with Adriene taught me a fantastic little move that I practice several times a day when I feel myself getting irritated or twisted up in my own thoughts. 

  • Place the tongue just behind the front 2 teeth
  • Inhale for 4 seconds
  • Hold for 7 seconds
  • Exhale for 8 seconds

You Need To Relax & Unwind

There are so many things we can do to relax and unwind with ourselves. Before I spend hours unwinding with video games, I tend to do some yoga. Not only does this help me settle and get into the relaxation mood, but it also wakes me up and ensures that I’m fully stretched out. Even if you’re sitting all day, you still need to do some sort of stretching, even if it’s not full-on yoga. 

Yoga is a great way to spend time exploring yourself. It allows you to not only sit with your thoughts but also take the time to notice any aches and pains in your body. Sometimes we move so fast that we barely notice that niggle at the bottom of our spine until it’s too late. Yoga allows you to silently scan your body for unusual sensations, note them and effectively deal with them. This reduces the chances of debilitating injury and ultimately shows your body and mind that they are your number one priority. 

Everything's Going Great! 

Even if everything's going well, there is still room for yoga. You don’t stop taking your medication just because you’re feeling better, do you? Yoga is there to help you on your darkest days, and should still be there for you when the sun is shining! There are so many benefits to yoga that you wouldn't want to stop it, even if everything's going well. 

Yoga is great, but remember that it's not for everyone. Although there are many health benefits, it's not worth putting yourself at physical risk. We're all different, and that includes our physical and mental make-up. There are lots of other reasons to do yoga, but these signs show that you belong on the mat. What's your favourite yoga position or breathing exercise? I'd love to know what called you back to the mat!

About The Guest Writer

Nyxie's Nook is a blog focusing on mental health awareness, eating disorder recovery, wellness, and self-development. The blog was started in March 2019 in a bid to raise awareness for mental illness such as Anorexia Nervosa and Anxiety, two such disorders I suffer from. Nyxie's Nook has become a place to talk about all mental health issues and the struggles that come along with recovery. I not only aim to cater to those in recovery but to people in all walks of life. 

*Disclaimer: If you try it and find it leaves you in physical pain, stop. If you simply don't like it after several attempts, please don't feel pressured to continue. It's important to remember that although these signs may be pointing to needing time on the mat, they can also be the symptoms of something much deeper. Be aware of your body and how you're feeling, and visit a doctor if need be. Yoga is not a miracle cure, nor is it meant to replace physical therapy, medication or counselling.

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  1. Great post! I certainly need to get back into yoga. All my bones and joints have been aching lately.