Yoga… everyone knows what it is, but there are still a lot of misconceptions around it.

This isn’t helped much by the fact that it has become almost fashionable to do yoga these days; some people buy so completely into the ‘yoga image’ that it seems the main point of doing yoga is shadowed by its ability to produce lithe bodies and admiration from others.

Although it may motivate some, this yoga image isn’t the greatest reason to do yoga.

Obviously, there are bigger things to worry about in life, so that isn’t a complaint; it’s just an acknowledgment that those who are new to the idea of yoga may be put off by the prevalence of ‘yoga ego’.

Any seasoned yogi could tell you that this is a thing, and it could be quite intimidating for a newbie when faced with a class of perfect-bodied yoginis clad in Sweaty Betty’s finest, ‘omming’ in perfect unison.

Don’t let this prospect put you off. Not all yoga circles are this way, and not all beautiful yogis are missing the point.

There’s also an opposing school of thought that says yoga is boring, or too easy. That usually comes from those who have only witnessed a few yogic twists, hatha style… these people are possibly looking for reasons not to do yoga!

They are missing out though; there are many kinds of yoga and not all are easy… when starting out, some of them will have you limping to work the next day with serious DOMS.

You will surely be able to find a yoga type to suit your health and fitness requirements, whether your priority is total body strength, mental relaxation or physical restoration. Yoga is one of the best things you can do for your physical and mental health – there’s no doubt about it.

Whether you’re totally new or wanting to get more serious in your practice, here are 4 good reasons to do yoga:

#1 Reason to do Yoga: You can do it any time, anywhere

In this day and age, yoga is omnipresent! You’re never far from a class, and if you can’t find a class, you can find hundreds to follow online.

There’s literally no excuse not to do yoga. You may even find it in a local gym, although there it tends to be more based on fitness and there won’t be many of the frills that make the yoga environment appealing.

If you can’t find a class to suit your schedule, grab yourself a decent yoga mat and allocate a regular slot at home. Download or stream some great videos from YouTube, making sure you choose a teacher who guides you carefully through positioning so that you don’t hurt yourself. 

Discipline is key – you may well be wobbling around all over the place at first but it doesn’t take so long to become more proficient. Soon your practice will feel more natural.

You can squeeze in a thirty-minute morning yoga session before work if you’re determined, or fit one into your lunch hour if you’ve got a little bit of private space somewhere at work.

Where there’s a will, there’s a way… and before long you’ll be going out of your way to make time.

#2 Reason to do Yoga: Yoga is meditation

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The mental benefits of yoga are not exactly a secret, but they don’t arise from subscribing to a particular set of spiritual beliefs.

Yoga is meditative in nature because it directs your focus so thoroughly.

It is very difficult to think about what you should watch on Netflix later when you’re trying to maintain your Eagle posture, for example. That’s the quickest way to fall flat on your face.

You will find that it takes a lot of concentration to maintain each pose – even the more simple ones – due to the precise positioning required. In this way, you’ll become completely present and grounded into the moment, which is really the point of meditation anyway.

Then there is the relaxation part of each class toward the end.

After an extended period of focus, you’ll lie on your back in ‘savasana’ (otherwise known as corpse pose), and the relaxation vibes in the room are usually palpable. After a good yoga session, your entire mood should shift; anxiety tends to dissipate without effort and the rest of your day will often feel breezy.

#3 Reason to do Yoga: Yoga is incredibly versatile

Anyone can do it. Yes, anyone �� children, the elderly, people with disabilities… there is a type of yoga that will work for you.

There’s Hatha, Astanga, Vinyasa flow, Jivamukti, Iyengar, Bikram, Hot yoga, Yin Yoga, Kundalini yoga, Acro yoga, Restorative yoga… and more.

Some are substantially more vigorous than others, but you can start off with a standard, more gentle yoga like Hatha and work your way up to something more challenging like Astanga or Bikram.

If it’s mental or spiritual benefits you seek, try some Yin or Kundalini yoga. If you’re looking for something physically demanding and want to see some quick fitness results, the latter two (or a Vinyasa flow class) may be your best bet.

There’s also no reason you can’t learn yoga through one of the more challenging types; it’s all part of the fun.

You may find that you love one kind and can’t stand another – that’s normal. There are a lot of variations and techniques, and many different teachers with different attitudes and philosophies.

Keep trying classes until you find one you love, and then build on your practice from there.

#4 Reason to do Yoga: Yoga benefits your health

Last but most definitely not least, yoga is exceptionally good for your health. This is because the flow of yogic positions and the stretches involved allow for energetic blockages to be released.

There can be a lot of tension and tightness in various parts of the body, brought about through things like poor posture, stress, and lack of exercise.

Yoga is the antidote to all of these issues.

Some of the yoga poses literally squeeze out the tension, massaging inner muscles and internal organs, getting the blood flowing.

The breathing aspect of yoga also yields big health; the ‘pranayama’ (breathing exercises) that are a part of most yoga styles can flood your body with oxygen, helping you to remain disease free.

The movement itself constitutes good exercise, strengthening both the body’s structure and immune system at the same time.

Do you need another reason to do yoga? We wouldn’t mind betting that the more you think about it, the less reasons you can find for not doing yoga!

The main thing is to listen to your body and not push it beyond its limitations – what might be impossible right now (and may seem permanently impossible) may actually just be a year or two away, with regular practice.

Yoga is an aspirational practice that can be extremely rewarding if you’re dedicated to it. It can lead to vitality like you’ve never experienced… but you won’t know for sure until you try!

Check out our other articles on yoga here.