Yoga, is it really that beneficial?

So as a part of my weight loss journey (more on this subject to come), I decided to join a gym and take advantage of their fitness programs such as yoga, pilates, cycling, etc…

I have heard Vancouver be referred to as “The Yoga City.” Perhaps it stems from the popularity of Lululemon, or the¬†fact that being healthy is trendy. I was sitting at work one day, thinking that I should really start a new workout regime in addition to the cardio and resistance training I already do. I figured that since yoga classes come as a part of my gym package, why not see what all the fuss is about. So I put on my workout gear and headed straight to the class after work. Keep in mind that this was my first time doing yoga in 7 years, ever since our P.E. teacher in high school invited this yoga instructor to give us a lesson. I have to admit, the reason why I never gave yoga a chance during these 7 years was simply because I didn’t enjoy it the first time. I would always tell yoga fans that it was too slow for me and that I didn’t think it would benefit my lifestyle. I guess I was speaking as a high school student, who’s last concern was fitness.

Once I got to the class, I took a mat and began warming up the way I knew how. When the class was scheduled to begin, the instructor came in and introduced herself, and got us to begin by meditating with our legs crossed and some breathing exercises. I remember thinking “this is lame”, but as the class went on, I was surprised at how good I began to feel. She took us through a variety of lunges, downward dogs, and leg presses. I was happy in my own little world, until I looked up, scanned the room, and realized that it was blatantly obvious that many of these girls were quite experienced. I tried to snap out of it, and concentrate on the lesson, but it stayed at the back of my mind until the end of the class. I approached the teacher, and asked if I had come to an advanced class. She replied that it was for all levels and encouraged me to come back.

Sure enough I did go to a second yoga class. What fueled this decision to keep up with it was that I have never had better sleep, and felt more relaxed even after a long day at work. I researched the benefits of yoga, and in addition to toning the body, yoga helps calm one, since it is heavily focused on breathing. Apparently, it also works miracles for injuries. I may be realizing this late, but you don’t know until you try right? I found myself being able to think more clearly at work, and my concentration greatly improved, even after just two classes. My only regret is writing yoga off for so long, because I now see how it could have helped me before during my high school and university days.

I now understand why this entire city is crazy about it. Yoga is not just a fad that will die down after another couple years, it is a lifestyle that people adopt when they want to escape, to recover, or to just feel good.