Suddenly, it seems like your entire post-work subway car is sporting Lululemon and you hear that every pro athlete is hitting the Bikram studio; everyone you meet has appeared to be jumping on the yoga bandwagon. But is it for you? The answer is yes, yoga can be for anyone. We at MC have picked our cumulative brains and put together a round-up of the top 10 reasons you should give Downward Dog a bona fide shot. Now, this doesn't mean you should give up your daily latte for Kombucha tea, but it's worth a try, right?
1. Reduces stress and anxiety: Stressed? Please, who isn't. Even worse: Does it stress you out that you're stressed? Then time to buy a yoga mat, find your local studio, and sweat what's bothering you.
2. Helps you sleep: It's the quintessential catch-22: How do you get a good workout when you're so exhausted? Find a form of yoga labeled beginner, restorative, or basic. After a few sessions, that glass of red wine before bed won't be essential, but it might be more enjoyable.
3. Relieves tight muscles: Maybe your muscles are tight from training for a triathlon, or maybe you just slept wrongly on your neck, slouched in your office chair all day, walked in four-inch heels, and then lay on your couch decompressing for two hours. Whatever your tension, even 20 minutes of yoga will do wonders for your tight bod.
4. Helps with focus: Do you find yourself procrastinating, cycling through checking email, Facebook, Pinterest, your phone — and starting all over again? Yoga teaches you to focus on your breath and body in motion. Learning how to be centered when 19 other things are happening will become a talent you can apply to your life off the mat.
5. Brings diet awareness: Sugar and other simple carbohydrates increase inflammation in your joints which can cause a) pain, and b) makes flexibility a whole lot harder than if you'd just had some veggies and hummus instead of half a pint of Ben and Jerry's. But we're the first to admit that a girl's got to do that every now and then.
6. Meet like-minded people: After your next yoga class, pick out a familiar face and compliment their practice. Before you know it, you'll be going out for wheatgrass shots together.
7. You get to be silly: When else in your day is it appropriate to laugh when you topple over, or sigh as loudly as you possibly can? Try it. It feels really good to cleanse your lungs.
8. It's better than therapy: Well, you're not burning 400+ calories by sitting on a couch talking. There are now studies proving yoga can lower cortisol — your stress hormone — and it activates the parasympathetic nervous system, which has a calming effect. Science. It's real.
9. Improve your sex life: Back to the parasympathetic nervous system — NEWS FLASH! — it controls sexual arousal. So, grab your honey and take a class together. He will thank you.
10. It's a serious workout: We've taken the physical, mental, and spiritual discipline rooted in ancient India and added a faster pace, heat, hip-hop, and weights. If om isn't up your alley, it's possible to avoid it while still getting your yoga on.