My #BestMedicine: Why I Learned to Love Yoga

I enjoy trying new things, so when I decided to attend a yoga class at my gym, I was ready to give it my all. Increasing my flexibility and learning how to do a plank was enticing, but I didn’t expect to find a life-changing way to approach work, family, stresses, health, and goals. It took some time, but I’ve really learned to love yoga and its multifaceted benefits.

To an onlooker or newcomer, yoga might seem like awkward twists and bends on a colorful mat while listening to calm music in a room scented with patchouli. To a practicing yogi, however, this method of relaxation and exercise goes far beyond the physical practice that others see at first. It’s truly the #bestmedicine for a number of ailments, whether related to the body or the mind.

Health Benefits of Yoga

Almost seven years ago I started experiencing symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis, an inflammatory autoimmune disease that causes swelling throughout the body and a weakened immune system.

I’d read that yoga can help reduce pain, improve joint flexibility, and lower stress levels, so I decided to give it a try. After a healthy amount of time spent on my mat, there’s no doubt I feel better physically. The stiffness in my joints melts away, my congestion eases, and I feel more energetic. Yoga truly is the #bestmedicine I’ve found to ease my inflammation.

Finding Mental Clarity

What I didn’t expect to learn in a yoga class is how to control my breathing, thoughts, and reactions to the world around me. These lessons help me get through every day. After all, life happens, and sometimes it’s incredibly stressful or unfair, but in other moments it’s rewarding and joyous.

When I find myself getting too anxious or stressed from my environment or day-to-day goings-on, I rely on the focused breathing techniques I’ve learned in yoga class. I’ve also discovered there’s a little voice in my head reminding me to “let go” when I have negative thoughts that threaten to poison my mental health. Yoga has taught me to stay in the moment and accept that I simply need to keep moving forward, even when it feels like a struggle. Some things are beyond my control, and that’s OK.

Do you love yoga, too? Do you find that daily meditation, controlled breathing, and yoga classes are the #bestmedicine for both physical and mental ailments?

Let us know! Tweet with the hashtag #bestmedicine to @humankindness and @AngelaTague. Namaste!

Image source: Angela Tague