“Inhale the future, exhale the past.”
Have you heard that inspirational statement before? It’s common among yoga practitioners. The sentiment has been around for quite a while, too. How long? We don’t actually know. There is no consensus on the exact chronology of yoga, other than it originated in ancient India. We feel it’s safe to say that yoga is really old.
Here at The Sock Drawer, we’ve had lots of different funny novelty socks and other products over the years that feature this popular practice. Plus, lots of our sock fairies and our customers are into yoga, either as a mental and spiritual practice, an exercise routine or just a hobby. We’re all about activities that bring you peace and joy, so we thought we’d dive into why yoga is so great and show you some of our favorite yoga products along the way.
There is an ever-growing body of scientific evidence that shows yoga is good for both your body and your mind. And the popularity of yoga is on the rise! Between 2012 and 2016 the number of Americans practicing yoga grew by 50%. And of people who don’t practice yoga, over 40% express an interest in trying it.
Because of COVID-19, many yoga studios may be closed right now. (And we never got to try goat yoga. Bummer!) However, outdoor classes have thrived over the summer, and thanks to the internet, online yoga classes are more popular than ever. If you’re quarantined in a small space, that’s still plenty of room for a yoga session. You just need enough space for a yoga mat (about 2 feet wide and 6 feet long, on average).
But why is yoga so good for you? Why should you try it?
Calming the mind
Yoga helps relax your mind. It’s meditative but with motion, often focusing on breathing. By following the breath, looking inward and focusing on what your body is doing right now, yoga helps practitioners focus on the present. This focus can have a calming effect on the mind. If you struggle with non-stop thoughts or keeping focus, you might give yoga a try.
Some yoga teachers use music and some don’t, but music can help with focus much more than plain silence. Most teachers prefer to use classical or instrumental music (like guitar), because anything with lyrics can be distracting.
Yoga can help with flexibility, although not everyone who practices yoga will eventually get to advanced poses (you know, the ones where your feet go behind your head), or even to a true downward-facing dog. But gentle stretching is good for the body, and it helps with that calming factor as well.
Building Strong Muscles and Bones
Yoga can help build muscle strength! Many forms of yoga involve holding poses for an extended period of time, so you’ll probably be a bit sore after a session of power or Ashtanga yoga.
Yoga can also improve your bone strength. Weight-bearing exercises have been shown to increase bone density, and many yoga poses require you to lift your own weight. We’re talking some of the more basic poses, too, like that downward-facing dog pose we mentioned earlier.
Improving Stability and Balance
Yoga can help with stability and your balance. Sure, in that metaphysical sense, but also in the strictly physical sense! Standing tree pose, for example, involves standing on one foot with your hands up over your head. It’s harder than it looks! Practicing poses like this can improve your balance over time.
There are plenty more reasons to give yoga a whirl, but we think these are a good place to start. What’s your favorite reason to practice yoga? Let us know in the comments!
A final note: Yoga is usually performed barefoot. But there’s no reason you can’t advocate your yoga love while you’re out of the studio, or slip into some of our fun yoga socks before and after class! We’ve got tons of yoga-themed novelty socks. These fun yoga socks make fabulous gifts for the passionate practitioner, the toe-in-the-water newbie and even aspirational yogis!