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The Mind-Body Benefits of Jump Starting a Yoga Practice at Home

Yoga—along with meditation and better sleep—is one of the healthy habits we’re being encouraged to adopt in this Twilight Zone-esque moment. (Nightly old-fashioned cocktails, unfortunately, aren’t often name-checked on that list.) But what makes this ancient form of exercise actually helpful for our bodies and psyches? LA-based teacher Kyle Miller dove into yoga as a lifestyle at age 22, when she became a regular at NYC studio Jivamukti. “The teachers there totally inspired and educated me,” she says. “That was when I fell in love with the whole practice.” If you, too, are ready to  give it a go, Miller offers up a few benefits you can expect as you bend, stretch, and balance your way to a more settled self. 

How does yoga help, in terms of health?

As far as physical effects go, there’s mobility and range of motion, joint health, vitality, improved sleep. When you breathe consciously, you're having a dialogue with your nervous system and changing the way it functions. After an hour, you are going to feel better, whether or not you do your poses “correctly.” You still get the benefits. Also, we all know that stagnant water breeds infection, and I think it’s the same way with stagnation in the body. Keeping your energy flowing almost flushes things out. It’s the same way with emotion: You don't want to be hung up on the same thing forever. You’ve got to let it go.

When you breathe consciously, you're having a dialogue with your nervous system and changing the way it functions.
What are the other emotional and intellectual benefits? 

It prompts you to study your own mind and that allows you to process what's going on in your life. So that makes it very healing for one's intellect. Part of it is forcing yourself to be physically still, which a good teacher will prompt you to do. Yoga also offers you a way to think about the world and your effects on the world, and almost tap into a collective energy. For me, it’s not just a physical experience—it’s a spiritual one.

Are there any lesser-known benefits you think don’t get enough credit?

Yoga helps you find joy within, totally unconnected to your circumstances. It's joy from the inside out.

But what if we look within and there’s no joy?

It's there. It's our natural state. Life happens to us and makes us need to hide. We all have our damage, and memories of how we’ve been hurt. But underneath all of that is a happiness at our core. 

Is there one particular pose that seems well-suited for people these days?

Legs Up a Wall is so simple—anyone can do it, and you don't even need a mat. It's very soothing and it's good for circulation. So if you're sitting all day and you feel like you're trapped, laying down and putting your legs up the wall feels incredible and is great for your nervous system. 

Why is yoga so right for this moment in general?

This is such a crazy time, and yoga connects us to the parts of ourselves that don't change. Deep within you—deeper than your roles you play, your gender, and your job title—is you. And in yoga, we want to connect to the ‘you’ that never changes based on your circumstances—on whether your business is booming or if it's fallen apart. It's beyond that.

To take classes with Kyle, visit kylemilleryoga.com or @kylemilleryoga on Instagram. Or visit LoveYogaSpace online, which streams her classes three times a week. Sign up here to join the Feals team and Kyle on Wednesday, May 13 at 12PM PST.

Molly SimmsMolly Simms Copywriter and branded content specialist with two gorgeous cat sons.

Likes: Summer, studying Japanese,
Pee-wee Herman.
Dislikes: Half-sour pickles, littering, mouth noises.