Ever noticed how some people seem to be chilled out all the time, and more able to weather life’s storms? Perhaps you’ve seen them quietly leaving the office at lunchtime, with a yoga mat under their arm? They’re part of a growing number of everyday folks incorporating yoga into their wellness routine. And here’s why we wholeheartedly agree that yoga rocks!
What is Yoga?
Yoga is a practice dating back thousands of years to ancient India. The word ‘yoga’ means union or yoke in sanskrit, referring to the way the physical postures (asanas) performed by practitioners can unite mind, body and spirit, bringing about not only greater feelings of wellbeing, but in some cases spiritual enlightenment.
For your average Brit, reaching nirvana might not be on their bucket list, that’s probably why in the west most people arrive at yoga as a means to improve flexibility and muscle tone, as well as calming the mind. In fact, many GPs recommend yoga for patients with back problems or depression and anxiety.
As well as the physical postures (with variations given according to experience), many classes include pranayama - ancient breathing exercises, meditation to calm the mind, and guided relaxation.
Yoga in the 21st century boasts many different styles which can be confusing to the yoga novice. However, all include similar ‘asanas’ or postures.
- Hatha - classical yoga featuring physical postures and most suitable for beginners
- Iyengar - focuses on precise alignment during postures, using props to facilitate the practitioner
- Ashtanga - a physically demanding and fast moving series of postures unsuitable for beginners to yoga
- Kundalini - both a physical and spiritual practice, kundalini mixes movement with breath work and chanting to activate Kundalini energy in the spine.
- Vinyasa - adapted from ashtanga, vinyasa is sometimes called ‘flow’ yoga for its smooth movement between postures.
- Bikram - fancy doing your yoga in a sauna? Then Bikram - a series of yoga postures performed in a room heated to 105 degrees - is for you.
Benefits of Yoga
So let’s take a whistle stop tour around some of yoga’s key benefits.
1. Yoga Improves Flexibility
We’ve all seen the pictures - Madonna doing ashtanga yoga with her leg effortlessly placed behind her ear. That is flexibility at its extreme and frankly she could probably sign up to the circus with those contortionist skills. For the ordinary folk amongst us, yoga improves flexibility through the gradual lengthening of key muscle groups. But - and this is important - yoga is never a competition. Our bodies are all unique and while some people have no problem touching their toes, others might get little further than their knees.
2. Yoga Tones Muscle
Most seasoned yogis will have arms so toned you could bounce coins off them. That’s because certain postures, particularly when held for long periods of time or when supporting your body weight, require body strength, thus leading the aforementioned ‘yoga arms.’
3. Yoga Strengthens the Spine
Whether you’re doing a yoga style like Ashtanga where the series of postures are always the same, or a class in which the teacher mixes the postures up a bit, they all have one thing in common - taking the spine through a carefully thought out range of movement.
To give an example: in general after doing a back bend posture such as the bow pose (Dhanurasana), it will be followed by a neutralising seated forward bending pose such as Paschimottanasana. Likewise, a class will always include side bends like the triangle pose (utthita trikonasana). The result being that your spine is gently taken through a full range of movement, which improves not only muscle strength but lubricates the vertebrae.
4. Yoga Lowers Stress
Many people come to yoga as a stress reduction technique. Just combining movement with the breath calms down our nervous system, with studies showing yoga to reduce the stress hormone cortisol, lower blood pressure, improve sleep and create feelings of wellbeing.
CBD and Yoga
So what’s the link between CBD and yoga? Good Remedy is a CBD oil company after all.
CBD, the non-psychoactive compound found in hemp, is fast becoming the sought after nutritional supplement among yoga practitioners. Why? CBD boosts feelings of wellbeing, helps to ease aching joints and muscles, and more rather interestingly for yogi’s, aids concentration and focus.
Hemp itself and yoga have a long history together. In Hinduism, the god Shiva was said to have been so enamoured with hemp, that he brought it down from the Himalayas, gifting it to us humans below.
In the 19th century report for the Indian Hemp Drugs Commission, Bhang - the term used to describe a milky drink containing hemp - gets a special mention, citing the plant’s ‘many medicinal virtues. It cools the heated blood, soothes the over-wakeful to sleep, gives beauty, and secures length of days. It cures dysentery and sunstroke, clears phlegm, quickens digestion, sharpens appetite, makes the tonic of the lisper plain, freshens the intellect, and gives alertness to the body and gaiety to the mind’.
But how can CBD enhance someone’s yoga practice? It’s not uncommon for even the most experienced of yoga practitioners to take a few minutes to come into the present moment at the beginning of the class, really inhabiting their body and breath. CBD, taken twenty minutes before practicing yoga, can help still the mind, enhancing the calming effects experienced during yoga.
It doesn’t really matter whether whether your favourite way to take CBD is in drops, vaping or CBD capsules, added to your yoga practice CBD will help calm your monkey mind and help you get the most out of your class. Take a look at our online shop where you can see our complete range of CBD products, or feel free to contact our customer service team if you have any questions.