Sports Nutrition

Beyond the Mat

Feeling stressed out, anxious or overwhelmed? Ever thought about giving Yoga a try?

Yoga is a practice from ancient India that focuses on uniting the mind and body through a practice of movement (asana), controlled breathing (pranayama) and meditation. Yoga has been found to have a positive effect on physical health, and mental health too. Experts say that along with improved strength and flexibility, a regular Yoga practice can bring about mental clarity and a more relaxed state of being.

A lot of people think Yoga is just about stretching, being super flexible or even balancing on your head. This really isn’t the case! There are many different styles of Yoga that you can explore to find what suits you best, ranging from slow and gentle (Restorative or Yin Yoga) to more physically demanding flows and postures (Vinyasa and Ashtanga) and everything inbetween.

Whether you are practicing Yoga in a studio or following along on youtube, your practice is yours and your teacher will always encourage you to adapt postures to suit you.

Benefits of Yoga

Physical benefits

– Great for building strength, maintaining fitness and weight management.

– Helps improve flexibility and manage aches and pains

– Heart health! Studies show Yoga can help with the management of high blood pressure.

– Lowers Cortisol. Research has found that Yoga can influence the stress hormone cortisol. Did you know that prolonged stress can weaken the immune system?  Yet stress management often takes a backseat in people’s lives. Yoga studies have shown that yoga might help to manage stress levels both on and off the mat.


Yoga can be extremely therapeutic, nurturing and empowering. This grounding practice can bring you back to yourself when you may have spent so long going through the motions of daily life on autopilot. Yoga helps us stay in the present moment, allowing you to connect with your body and hold appreciation for all that it can do. Yoga can be a form of self care for many, creating mindfulness and reducing anxiety.

The rise in popularity of Yoga in the western world may be a reflection of an urge to connect with ourselves on a deeper level. These days with everything being done online and indoors, common spaces being closed and the colder nights drawing in, people may be spending more time on technology and less time focusing on their well being.

Researchers have found that practicing Yoga can help to balance emotions, which may contribute to the management of stress, anxiety, sleeping problems and depression. The tools learnt in Yoga, such as breathing exercises and mediation, can be used in everyday life to calm the mind and promote self awareness.

If you have thought “That’s what I need!” to anything here it might be time to put your reservations aside and try Yoga. There are so many great free classes online, why not start with practicing for 10 minutes a day, or even try a beginner 30 day Yoga challenge and see how you feel?

Yoga isn’t about getting into a posture perfectly or touching your toes. It’s about feeling good in your body and mind, and taking all these good feelings with you into everyday life!

“Yoga is the journey of the self, through the self, to the self”

The Bhagavad Gita

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