Celebrating International Yoga Day

June 21 marks International Yoga Day. We heard from experts about why it is so beneficial to our health.

Photography Jessie Casson.

Today marks International Yoga Day, celebrating the exercise which continues to rise in the ranks of most popular extra-curricular activities to do amongst New Zealanders.  

Says Exercise New Zealand chief executive Richard Beddie, “Yoga has grown more than 500 percent in the last 10 years and there are now lots of support organisations for yoga, including the New Zealand Register of Exercise Professionals.

“Yoga has reached a tipping point and became a mainstream activity over the last five years, and as a result the number of providers (studios and teachers) have blossomed,” he says. 

“Yoga is both valuable as an activity in its own right, as well as being extremely complimentary to lots of other exercise activities. It is very common now for a regular gym user to add in yoga as a part of balance.  

“Stress is also almost a given in a developed country and, as a result, the mindful component of yoga is so beneficial and desired. While yoga can vary in physically intensity, it always provides people with the best methods of being mindful, which is something that so many people benefit from and seek in today’s busy lifestyles,” says Beddie. 

Meanwhile, a Lincoln University international PhD student Tilak Raj is teaching yoga to Lincoln University rugby players as part of his doctoral research. The aim of this research is to see if yoga is really helpful in reducing injuries and improving performance.

A national yoga advocate and teacher Persephone Singfield says her students report significant changes in their lives after attending yoga courses.

“They sleep deeper, they are happier, less stressed and are practising the tools that yoga gives them every day,” she says.

Good‘s wellness columnist, Rachel Grunwell of Inspired Health (pictured in the hero image), adds: “you don’t have to be born bendy to do yoga. Ignore the glamazons you see on Instagram doing handstands; that’s not what yoga is about. Yoga can be a useful tool to have in life, and anyone can do it.” For her piece on why yoga is so beneficial for our mind, body and soul, click here

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