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Newsmakers

10 benefits of yoga

WORDSWORTH - Mons Romulo - The Philippine Star
10 benefits of yoga
Easy seated pose, usually for meditation and grounding.

Rianna Gatus has been teaching yoga for more than a decade now. She teaches smart, dynamic, and intuitive yoga classes. Rianna found the mat through tough times of personal grief.

But she quickly adds, “Yoga hasn’t taken grief away, in the same way it doesn’t change what goes on in your life. The practice helps us regulate ourselves and manage our energy and emotions to be better equipped to handle challenging moments that happen.”

As one of the founders of Beyond Yoga studios in Manila, she opened the space with the desire to share yoga with the people around her.  Rianna’s role models are Jason Crandell and Alexandria Crow, both of whom she studied with. “I love them because they teach functional yoga that is taught with a lot of emphasis on accessibility. I admire them for being steadfast in the industry and sharing their practice with a lot of heart.”

She is trained in Vinyasa, Ashtanga, and Hot Yoga, along with specialization in injury management. With more than 2,000 hours of training and continuing education under her belt, she also certifies teachers themselves through Inner Power Vinyasa, a yoga teacher training school she co-founded in 2017.  Her goal is to train teachers with emphasis on skillful and precise sequencing, hands-on assists that are connected and confident, and the ability to create an experience that brings people back to themselves.

“In 10 years I will probably still be teaching and holding space for others,” shares Rianna. “This path made me realize that my calling is to serve through the practice of yoga to help people lead more mindful and self-aware lives.”

Rianna Gatus.

For those who are new to yoga, here’s more information from Rianna:

1. It is a complete mind-body exercise. Practicing yoga is harnessing your mindfulness. Strengthening your mind-body connection will make you healthy from a more holistic perspective that can impact all the different aspects of your life. Wellness is something that happens from the inside out.

2. Yoga teaches you the skill of relaxation. Yes, relaxation is a skill. Most of us lead such busy, over-stimulated lives that it becomes hard for us to turn work mode off at the end of the day. Yoga helps you down-regulate and find a sense of peace when you need it.

3. More range of motion and strength leads to less injury or pain in the body. Our modern lives are mostly sedentary. A lot of pain in the body comes from tightness and stagnancy from things like sitting at a desk, constantly looking into our phones, or lack of strength to maintain good posture. Yoga moves you in a way to alleviate muscular imbalance and prevents injury.

4. Every class can be modified for every level of experience. Yoga can seem intimidating to those who are not that familiar with the practice. Everyone starts somewhere. It is important to find a teacher who can manage open-level classes and tailor-fit postures to suit your particular needs.

5. There are several types of yoga. From hot yoga to Ashtanga to Yin Yoga, there are several kinds of yoga that are available. They range in level of intensity, general focus, and pace. Practicing different styles can give you a more well-rounded sense of your body in different situations.

6. Yoga has been proven to be good for mental health. Because yoga reduces stress, studies have shown over the years its ability to equip us with skills to regulate our mental and emotional layers through posture, breath work, and meditation. Practicing yoga taps into your parasympathetic nervous system to help you find calm.

Assisted side angle pose with external rotation in the hips, which helps build balance and strength.

7. You don’t have to be flexible to do yoga. A common misconception people have is that they need to be flexible in order to start! Contrary to that popular belief, yoga can actually be a way for you to improve your range of motion. It is not a prerequisite! Teachers are equipped to help you work through the postures and find a version of it for your body.

8. It helps you develop a deeper understanding of how you work. The practice of yoga helps you become more aware of your decision-making faculties. The way you are on your mat usually is reflective of what you are like in your life. Strengthening your intuition through yoga helps you be more self-aware and helps you understand yourself on a much deeper level.

9. Practicing yoga is not always physical. While almost everyone’s experience with yoga begins on a physical level, some people’s practice does not necessarily happen on the mat. Different practices such as meditation or breath work are different avenues to improve your well-being beyond your body.

10. Yoga brings you back to you. Practicing yoga requires a lot of honesty. Having a dedicated practice sheds light on our patterns and habits that don’t serve us and self-limiting thoughts. Through the process of yoga, we form a strong connection and deep appreciation for ourselves as we are. Yoga is ultimately a system to bring us towards the best versions of ourselves to lead mindful, balanced lives.

(We welcome your suggestions and comments. Please e-mail me at monsrt@gmail.com. Follow me on Instagram @monsromulo.)

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