Increasingly we give more importance to our physical and mental health, and for this reason the practice of yoga has grown exponentially in recent years. In this post we have proposed to explore a little more on the subject and solve some of the doubts that may arise if you are thinking of practicing yoga, so that you are prepared and do not miss anything when it comes to becoming a true yogi. But, first things first…
What is yoga?
The word “yoga” comes from the root Yuj, which means “to unite, connect, relate”. Practicing yoga helps us on three levels: physical, mental and spiritual. Without a doubt, yoga is a state where mental and emotional activity calms down and gives way to experience a union with the supreme.
Although it is a very common activity, it is true that the benefits of yoga are tangible and real, since thanks to the long and deep breaths involved in this activity, we can reduce blood pressure and heart rate heart rate, relax, learn to concentrate and work better, and there are even those who practice yoga to get a deeper sleep.
What are the benefits of practicing yoga?
The benefits of yoga are noticeable in the health of our body and mind. Practicing this discipline we will improve our posture, our digestion will be less heavy, our thoughts healthier, we will increase our ability to concentrate and we will gain flexibility.
BENEFITS OF YOGA ON THE BODY:
- Conscious breathing: Breathing is an essential key element in yoga. Good breathing improves our mood on a daily basis, we can reduce blood pressure and heart rate, our muscles relax and we reduce the body's tendency to tension.
- More flexibility: flexibility helps to relieve muscular tension generated by the state of tension that our body sometimes enters due to stress and to relax muscular overloads caused by our daily physical activity.
- Healthy body posture: yoga helps to relieve and prevent lower back or neck pain caused by poor posture and sedentary habits.
- Strong muscles and bones: yoga helps prevent bone loss, increases joint flexibility and helps us have a more toned body.
- Strengthens the immune system: When we relax cortisol levels (the “stress hormone”) are reduced. A lower cortisol level means more resistance to certain diseases and healthy blood pressure.
- Calorie burning: Yoga focuses on muscle work, even though it is not a strength sport. The muscles are worked and caloric expenditure increases
BENEFITS OF YOGA ON THE MIND:
- Deep sleep: Through yoga and the relaxation techniques it provides, we will have an easier time getting a quality sleep.
- Greater self-control: Practicing yoga will help you grow physically and mentally. To know yourself better and to know what your body and mind need to be well.
- Less anxiety and stress: Starting your day being aware of the present moment and devoting time to yourself, instead of being overwhelmed with all your tasks and obligations will prevent you from getting upset before your time.
- Positive energy and good mood: Practicing yoga will make you see your day from another perspective.
Where can I practice yoga?
PRACTICE YOGA OUTDOORS
Move your yoga sessions to an open space and you will discover how it increases your physical and emotional well-being.
- On the beach: If you live near the beach, get dressed, grab your mat, and let your attention focus on the waves, the sea breeze, and the connection with your body and mind. This can help you get the most out of your experience.
- At the top of a mountain : End a day of trekking or hiking with a yoga session taking the horizon as a point of reference, and the feeling of freedom that heights provide, listening only to the sound of the wind together to your breath, it can be ideal to rest, regain strength and enjoy a day of sports even more.
- In the park: If you live in the city and find it difficult to surround yourself with nature, in the parks you have a great opportunity to immerse yourself in the practice of yoga outdoors, alone or with friends.
- At your holiday destination: Even if you're away from home doing tourism, don't forget to put your mat in your suitcase, you never know where you might have the opportunity to put your yoga routine into practice .
PRACTICE YOGA IN SPAIN
These wonderful destinations to practice yoga in Spain have the same idea in common: to be surrounded by nature. Do you already know them?
- Casa Cuadrau: This ecological house located in the Ordesa y Monte Perdido National Park organizes Yoga, Art and Nature retreats. Casa Cuadrau offers accommodation, yoga classes while watching the sunset from the living room and a vegan menu with local and organic food.
- Inspire yoga: The Balearic Islands is a frequent destination for retreats due to its proximity to the sea and inland nature. Inspira Yoga organizes them in Menorca and Ibiza. Laura Ruiz, one of the two founders of the center, says that "There are quiet and beautiful corners, hidden jetties, rugged cliffs, excursions inland and along the coast, routes for cycling and walking...". His retreats consist of excursions with yoga and picnic to meditate at sunset or to watch the sunrise by the sea, with yoga and breakfast on the beach.
- MasQui: This concept is based on the renovation of a 19th century farmhouse converted into a boutique hotel in the heart of the Sierra de Mariola Natural Park, between Alicante and Valencia. A place to recharge batteries and connect with nature. The team has a wide range of offers in programs related to yoga, personal care, stress cure, rest-oriented and relaxing disciplines... But the star program is yoga and meditation. In addition, energy therapy courses are taught, or bio gourmet food in the middle of nature.
- Shama Retreats: It is a space aimed at reconnecting with calm and well-being through yoga and meditation retreats. The group has centers in Lanzarote, in the Grazalema Natural Park, on Bolonia beach and in the Sierra de Gredos. So you can choose the one that you like the most and that suits you.
- The Hospedería del Silencio: It is located in the Sierra de Gredos, two hours from Madrid. The cozy environment, the lush forests and the silence invite calm and tranquility. In addition to yoga classes, meditation and different workshops, they organize multiple outdoor activities.
SOME IMPRESSIVE PLACES WHERE TO PRACTICE YOGA
Uyuni Salt Flats (Bolivia)
It is located in the middle of the Andes in southern Bolivia. It is the largest salt pan in the world. Going into this salt flat is like walking in the middle of nowhere. Sometimes on an endless pale ground, sometimes on the clouds. Where the immensity leaves space for solitude and absolute silence. All this makes it an ideal place to put the backpack aside, take out the mat and place yourself in the lotus position in a discreet place, facing a horizon that seems infinite.
Grand Canyon (E.ANDORU)
Considered one of the most mystical settings in the world, the Grand Canyon offers miles of barren land, caves and passageways bathed in the rays of a sun that seems more spiritual than anywhere else. Practicing yoga in this place will offer you, at some point, while you exhale perhaps, the presence of an eagle soaring in the sky, thus returning the whispers of another time that are enclosed between the rocks toasted by the sun.
Rooftops in New York (E.ANDORU)
You can also adopt the role of Carrie Bradshaw in “Sex and the City” and attend a yoga class on one of the emblematic rooftops of New York, at sunset, with the city at your feet, where the lights, the bustle and speed of this great metropolis are beyond your reach.
What equipment do I need to practice yoga?
In addition to a yoga mat, comfortable clothes, bottled water and a towel, we list some of the things you may need when practicing yoga:
- A yoga mat: It is important to choose a comfortable yoga mat that fits your needs. These vary depending on the thickness, texture, weight or material. The Lidl Yoga mat or the Yogui Bare mat are made with ecological materials. If you are a beginner and do not need a very specialized mat at the moment, you can always find your yoga mat at Decathlon.
- Zafu or meditation cushion : It is a high and hard cushion that allows you to keep your back straight and upright and relax your hips.
- Yoga Blocks: Originally the blocks were made of wood, but now they are also made of cork or foam. They are very useful to discover new postures and feel comfortable while doing your practice.
- A yoga strap: It is an accessory that can be of great help for people with little flexibility, but also for those who want to improve their technique. Using a leash is not synonymous with little flexibility.
How can I practice yoga from home?
One of the incentives that have made this practice more successful, if possible, is that during the quarantine caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, online yoga classes from home were a trend. We can highlight two professionals in the sector who have carved a niche for themselves in the digital world by sharing their yoga routines and teaching online yoga classes. One of them is Xuan Lan, a yoga teacher and wellness expert. In addition to giving face-to-face classes and conferences, you can also access her yoga classes online through her YouTube channel (Xuan Lan Yoga), in which the teacher has more than 300 videos. If you also want to soak up the yoga music that Xuan Lan uses in his classes, you can find it on Spotify (Xuan Lan Yoga). The instructor also has a blog where she regularly posts information about the world of yoga, curiosities about this practice, the necessary material to practice yoga, and interviews with health professionals about the benefits of yoga for the mind and body.
Another highlight in this practice is also a Vinyasa Yoga instructor, Elena Malova, a personal trainer who, together with her partner Marcelo, has been teaching yoga classes online since 2011, uploading yoga programs to her YouTube channel Elena Malova yoga , tutorials, writing ebooks and sharing music for yoga. If you dare to look for more about this instructor, in the episode of the Podcast "Discover your potential" Elena Malova talks about the secrets to feel better about yourself, it may also be of interest to you. Look it up on Youtube!
For its part, a very 2020 trend has been to practice yoga as a couple at home precisely. Especially during the 2020 quarantine, families dusted off the typical Decathlon yoga mat and immediately afterwards, social networks were filled with videos of families or friends practicing yoga as a couple. In addition to being a fun dynamic that made the time we spent at home less burdensome, practicing yoga as a couple can be very good for improving relationships with others. It helps you to have more patience, to increase confidence and security in the other and to strengthen the bond that you have created together.
What is the right music to practice yoga?
For his part, the yoga teacher Rocket assures that rhythm must be linked to breathing. His formula for the right choice of music for yoga is clear: “I tie the movement and the breath to a specially mixed soundtrack, at a pace that keeps the breaths below 10 per minute, but not so slow that the yogi gets stressed or out of breath: 69 beats per minute is the ideal rate – all my mixes come back to that.” The professor recommends artists like Petit Biscuit, Jon Hopkins, Nils Frahm, and James Blake.
So, if your thing is listening to yoga music when you practice this discipline, you can follow Rocket's recommendations, here are other playlists that you can find on Spotify and maybe they will help you meditate and improve your yoga technique:
- EMITAZ- MEDITATION
- Indian Chill
- Xuan Lan Yoga: Music for my well-being
Yoga and sport Curiosities!
Yoga does not go unnoticed among sports professionals either, who have included this discipline in their preparation, training and meditation routine. Among the elite athletes who enjoy this practice, we find world leaders such as Kelly Slater in the world of surfing, who alleges that, for him, yoga has served as a method to attract motivation and concentration towards his body and his mind when you need it. In addition, the surfer has come to the conclusion that, among all the benefits of yoga, he keeps what this discipline teaches him about expectations and mindfulness: it helps him keep an open mind .
Another surfing icon who has not missed the opportunity to get fully involved in the world of yoga is Gerry López, who at almost 70 years old is considered a true yogi and wears his mat everywhere to practice, meditate and organize retreats in Bali to instruct and spread the peace and tranquility that he has achieved.In addition, on the Paradiso ski slope in Corviglia, in Switzerland, you can enjoy skiing and yoga in equal measure. Ski instructor Sabrina Nussbaum created the concept of “Yoga on snow” as a way to consciously enjoy skiing. The objective of this idea is to relax and experience the descent from another perspective. More and more ski resorts include among their offers courses that teach this discipline.
Now that you know the benefits of yoga, the best places to practice it, the yoga material and music you need for your classes, you just need to know some yoga phrases that will inspire and motivate you when you get into yoga. your first yoga classes.
- “Yoga is the most successful sport in globalization” - Stefanie Syman, author of The Subtle Body: The Story of Yoga in America.
- “The breath is the queen of the mind” - BKS Iyengar.
- “The two most important things you need to do yoga are your body and your mind” - Rodney Yee.
- “Yoga is not about self-improvement, it is about self-acceptance” - Gurmukh Kaur Khalsa.
Perhaps we have convinced you that the next time you approach your yoga practice, do so with a full awareness of the mental well-being afterward. If you can also do it on the peak of a mountain in the Pyrenees, or with the sea in front of you in the Balearic Islands, much better! Cheer up too and live the experience of connection between body, mind and spirit that only yoga can offer you.