Today is International Yoga Day, so it’s the perfect time to talk about why yoga is an integral part of wellness. Trainer and TRX for yoga advocate Shauna Harrison says that yoga is all about helping you get out of your head and become more aware of your body and movement. “It’s all made to connect you to your breath.” she explains. “I think we are so disconnected from so many parts of ourselves, including our breath, that yoga is very helpful—especially in this day and age—for people to take the time to be in their bodies.”
Need further proof to try it? Here are five reasons you should add yoga to your weekly routine.
1. There’s no barrier to entry
While most frequent yogis use a yoga mat, you don’t actually need equipment to get started. Any age, any fitness level, anytime, anywhere: anyone can do yoga. Whether you find a class, an app, or even a free YouTube video, it’s easy to try it.
2. Yoga may improve certain health conditions
According to WedMD, yoga is a great activity for people with diabetes, high blood pressure, arthritis, or heart disease. It gives you strength, flexibility, and mind-body awareness. It’s been known to improve immune system function, and even lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels. That’s not to say that you should substitute yoga for medical treatment, but it’s worth talking to your doctor to see if yoga could help treat a health problem.
3. Yoga can help relieve stress and anxiety
Harrison credits yoga with helping her overcome crippling anxiety attacks. She says she was suffering from nearly daily anxiety attacks when a doctor suggested that—in addition to medication—she try yoga. “Part of being in an anxiety attack is you feel like you’re out of control and you can’t get ahold of your breath” she explains. “I went to yoga, and through that, learned how to control my breath. In learning to control my breath, I was able to control my attacks.”
4. Yoga can help prevent burnout
“Yoga Rebel” Tara Stiles says that yoga not only relieves stress, it can also make you more efficient. “The cool thing about yoga is that it mirrors how you are in life,” Stiles tells Forbes. “If you practice in a way that you struggle to achieve perfection, that’s how you’ll behave at the office or at home. Practice how you can be easy and soft and bring that into your workplace. This will help you achieve more without burning out.”
5. Yoga improves performance
If you’re a cardio junkie or you live to lift weights, yoga may not be the first activity that comes to mind when planning your weekly workouts, but it will actually improve your overall athletic performance. Yoga Journal says that a regular yoga practice can help athletes increase flexibility and avoid injuries.
Still intimidated by yoga? Your TRX Suspension Trainer can make many of the more difficult poses—like crow and handstands—more accessible. There are lots of TRX for yoga resources—including the TRX App and videos—to guide you. Just remember: you don’t have to become a yoga expert overnight. “If you only have time to do yoga once a week, then do that,” Harrison suggests. “I always say go as often as you can that makes sense for your life.”