Photo from Made by Gypsy
Briohny Smyth is our Solow ambassador for our exclusive FP Movement x Solow line. Today she talks to us about the benefits of Yoga and how it can help you through certain things in life.
There are many benefits to cultivating a consistent Yoga practice. And honestly, we never really stop benefiting physically, mentally, and spiritually! Because we all come from different walks of life and no two bodies are exactly the same, what we experience might be different. But one thing is for sure…Yoga has changed my life and I’ve met many people who feel the same.
Many of us find Yoga as a way to connect with and move our bodies and improve the way we feel physically. We are drawn to the physical asana because it offers us those 90 or 75 minutes of present mind… even if we don’t realize that yet. Yoga asana is challenging and gratifying and offers many benefits such as:
- Weight loss
- Muscle toning
- Increased blood circulation
- Increased strength
- Increased flexibility
- A strong connection between our body and mind
As in any community, there are the purists — people who believe that what they practice is the ONLY path. Some may say that the asana is only one small part of Yoga and if you aren’t practicing everything else, well then, you aren’t practicing Yoga.
I completely respect their point of view and everyone is entitled to their opinions, but I also believe that we all have our OWN paths. So don’t stress if you haven’t quite grasped the spiritual side of Yoga yet, because you are exactly where you need to be. If you have been to at least 1 studio class, most likely you are already subconsciously connecting to your breath and, in turn, quieting your mind.
I’ve seen it so many times before. One finds yoga and starts practicing once a week, then twice a week. All of a sudden they are practicing almost every day and the practice has slowly (or in some cases, quickly) seeped into every aspect of their life.
At first, the physical asana is the most accessible, but it is through these classes that we learn about the importance of Pranayama (breathing) and meditation (quieting the mind). And it is through these classes that we get the opportunity to learn how to apply them to our daily lives. Although I teach Vinyasa Flow classes, where we are moving for most of the time, I always try to offer yogis the opportunity to start by stopping. This allows one to connect with their breath and the present moment. To leave the past behind and let the future wait. Throughout the practice, I am constantly reminding yogis to stay present in their practices and to observe their tendencies. Has my ego popped into my practice? Have I started holding my breath or hyperventilating? The simple action of acknowledging your own tendencies can help you become more connected to yourself and that acknowledgment is the first step to change.
Learning Ujayi breath is not only a great way to build heat in the body, but I find it to be a very useful tool when my daily life gets stressful or hectic. Before every class or private session, I will take the time to close my eyes and take a few rounds of Ujayi breath. It also helps when I’m stuck in traffic…but make sure to do this with your eyes open.
But when I have the time, my favorite way to de-stress after a long day is to practice in a warm room and take a long Savasana. I love Savasana!
Whenever someone asks me what my favorite asana/pose is, they think I’m going to say Handstand. But the handstand is second to Savasana because this is the pose where you reap all of the benefits from your yoga practice. You’ve worked your body and released your physically and emotional tension. No more distractions… just relaxed body and present mind!