FitQuid
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FitQuid

3 reasons to start group yoga

Photo by: Vlada Karpovich

Why is yoga good for you?

Staying active is very important, especially as we get older, as it helps improve independence and maintain mental health. The National Health Service (NHS) recommends doing stretching exercises at least twice a week, as they are easy to do at home and improve your health. Flexibility is an incredibly important aspect of physical health, as it involves ease of muscle and joint movements without pain. Yoga has been shown to be very helpful towards improving flexibility in older adults. A 2019 study concluded that yoga interventions improved physical functions and fitness and health related quality of life in adults, compared to two control groups that either were inactive or did other types of activities (such as walking). Additionally, yoga has been found to improve pain, leading to higher quality of life scores. Although there are many styles of yoga to choose from, even the lowest intensity styles increase flexibility, for example Iyengar yoga, which focuses on precision and alignment. By also making use of props to aid during the exercises, Iyengar yoga minimises risk of injury. A 2016 study conducted in India found a statistically significant improvement in balance after 6 weeks of yoga practice in adults over the age of 60.

That’s not all either. Studies suggest that yoga is a mind-body exercise, helping people with mental health aspects, such as depression, anxiety, and stress. A research review published in 2020 found changes in brain structures and grey matter density in yoga practitioners compared to control groups. The authors discuss whether yoga increases the brain connectivity between brain regions involved in the regulation of affective and sensory regulation, as well as increased activation in the brain areas responsible for motivation, attention, and the parasympathetic nervous system (through deep breathing, meditation, and physical postures). Yoga intervention therapies have been found to significantly decrease depressive symptoms in patients with major depressive disorder, as well as reduce both cognitive and physiological symptoms of anxiety (especially Yoga Nidra), stress, as well as aid in the management of chronic insomnia.

Introducing yoga and stretching exercises into your everyday life is a great way to stay active, and work toward a healthy lifestyle. Regardless of your yoga expertise, regular practice will make you feel better overall.

Photo by: Yan Krukov

Why you should try group yoga:

While practising yoga by yourself can be great, there’s something to be said about joining a group, whether it’s friends or a class. There’s a certain feeling you get when you practice an exercise or hold a position at the same time as other people that you don’t get if you practice at home following a video. Group yoga can help you connect with your instructor or workout buddies through breathing exercises, creating a sense of community.

  • Building relationships: Whether you’re joining a class or meeting up with friends in the park, practising yoga with others means there’s always someone there to help you. At the end of the lesson, you may feel more in tune with the rest of the group as you’ve all gone through the same movements. Building community and friendships is important as it helps you feel more comfortable and connected, not just to your breathing and body, but to everyone around you.
  • Support and encouragement: Motivation can be difficult when you train alone. If you practice from home or a gym, you may feel yourself getting tired quickly. By joining a group you’ll have a community you can rely on to help you through the exercises you find the most difficult, and vice versa. Having someone cheer you on as you maintain or move a position can change your perception of exercise, from something tedious to something fun.
  • Personal development: Last but not least, competition can also be a great motivator, helping you cross new boundaries and stretch your limits (no pun intended). By working side by side with someone else who has the same goals as you, it’s the perfect chance to work toward that common goal together. The accountability and routine that comes with showing up to a group yoga session may be exactly what you need to develop a healthy lifestyle.
Photo by: RODNAE Productions

Challenge yourself with FitQuid!

To reap the health and wellness benefits you want from yoga, you should practice as much as your body allows, and as often as you’d like. If you’re new to yoga, you should start with one or two sessions per week, slowly adding more as time goes by and you progress. Like developing any habit, it takes patience and preparation to introduce yoga into your everyday life routine. To turn this into a habit, set yourself an objective, add some milestones along the way, and stay consistent by using a tool that allows you to stay motivated and self-accountable. We have developed the perfect tool for this in FitQuid! This is a free tool that allows you to personalise your own challenges on your way to meeting your objective. With FitQuid, you can challenge yourself to do a group activity, such as yoga, and keep yourself accountable and motivated. By challenging yourself to make this a regular activity, you ensure that your body can learn and get used to the stretches and positions you work through in yoga sessions. Participating in group activities can do a lot for our well-being, by learning from others and helping us feel less alone.

Let’s have a look at how you can use FitQuid to help you develop your new yoga habit.

You can create a ‘Group yoga’ challenge on the Challenge page on the FitQuid App. Start by clicking on “ + New” at the top right corner of the challenges screen to initiate the challenging creation process. I’ve decided to add a timer, as you can set it to your preferred duration. Make sure to turn the challenge into a group one by selecting “My friends” under the prompt “I want to challenge”. After completing this week, try setting it longer each time and watch your progress! I’ve also added the photo upload option, this way I can keep track of the group as time goes by, and it’s always nice to have pictures of nice memories.

A general rule of thumb for yoga is consistency, and creating a routine is easier when you have a goal to aim for. By challenging yourself to practice once a week for a month, you’ll be able to aim for more next month. Over time you’ll find you can handle longer and tougher sessions.

After you have selected all of your challenge variables and clicked “Continue”, the message “ Challenge created” will pop up. Here, Make sure to click on “Now, invite your friends” to invite your buddies to your challenge!

Make sure you share your experiences and I will feature the best ones on my future blogs.

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Auri Carballo

Auri Carballo

Psychology graduate, invested in helping communities.