When I started practising yoga I did it for the physical benefits. I wanted to improve my body posture and become stronger, but without changing my weight or getting muscular.
However, it wasn’t long until I started realising the cognitive changes that also came with yoga that I never knew about.
Let me explain more about this.
Back then I was working for a gaming company, within a highly creative & competitive environment. I was doing talent acquisition for this big online company, and as you can imagine my days were full of meetings, calls, interviews, evaluations, negotiations etc.
I found yoga to be my time to unplug. 90 uninterrupted minutes where I would not hear Slack or email notifications, I would not be looking at a screen and I would not talk to anyone.
I kept practising Bikram Yoga for the following three years almost daily.
And I can hear you thinking “Wow, that’s a lot of yoga! I wonder what she’s getting out of it to make such a commitment?”
Indeed it is, I can never get enough yoga, no matter how hard or long the classes are. As well as getting that precious quiet time, the changes I experienced are:
- Improved cognitive function. My memory, focus & sustained attention improved massively.
- Increased Energy. If I wake up tired, I do yoga and it makes me feel like I had slept like a baby.
- Reduced stress. Breathing techniques help me keep my Parasympathetic Nervous System active, taking over then Sympathetic Nervous System.
- Improved posture. Without noticing or putting in any effort, my back remains straight, avoiding back or neck pain.
- Stronger immune system. I do not know what a headache is and I barely get sick.
- Creativity. Every time I teach I create new sequences. I play with the existing asanas I know and play around to make them my own. This allows my brain to flow & create. I take this creativity off the mat and I have become more creative when it comes to solving problems and finding new solutions to traditional issues.
- Patience & perseverance. Yoga has taught me that you can get to wherever you want. You just need to wish it, be patient and improve a bit every day.
- Flexibility. Not just physically but mentally. There is always an option and a solution for everything. Many options can work out.
- Motivation. Yoga never fails me. Sometimes we have problems at work, with our partner, our family and we get demotivated or down. Yoga never lets me down, it is always there, and the more I do the more I improve. When other areas of my life become grey, I get on my mat and clear my mind.