Can yoga help women live better lives?

There are around 300 million yoga practitioners worldwide, with an estimated 34.4 million people practicing yoga in the United States.

In an era when health and well-being are paramount to many women, the practice of yoga emerges as a comprehensive remedy. Yoga offers a myriad of physical, mental, and emotional benefits particularly tailored for women of all ages. A key area where yoga can help women is not seen just on the outside, but inside can help women spiritually and mentally.

Yoga offers profound mental and spiritual upliftment. Mentally, the practice cultivates mindfulness, enhancing focus and clarity, allowing women to navigate the complexities of daily life with a renewed sense of purpose and perspective. 

People who practice yoga can experience a heightened sense of self-awareness and introspection, and can understand and manage emotions better. Spiritually, yoga transcends mere exercise. Rooted in ancient philosophies, yoga encourages an exploration of the self, the universe, and one’s place within it. This spiritual journey, for many women, becomes a source of solace, strength, and inspiration, instilling values of compassion, gratitude, and unity. It serves as a bridge between the mind, body, and spirit, forging a harmony that resonates deeply with the very essence of existence. Through yoga, women can embark on a transformative journey, seeking truth, balance, and inner peace in a tumultuous world.

“Yoga has been an incredible source of peace and transformation in my life, and I believe it holds the same potential for others seeking balance, harmony, and inner peace. Through my personal journey with yoga, I have experienced its profound effects on my physical, mental, and emotional well-being. When I step onto my yoga mat and let myself be present, my body melts into the postures and my mind focuses on the here and now. Yoga has empowered me to cultivate a deeper connection with myself, find solace amidst life’s challenges, and nurture my overall well-being. After my practice, I feel what I like to call a “yoga high” which for me is a feeling of intense peace and calm mixed with happiness,” explains author of “My Song Unleashed” and health coach Marnie Dachis Marmet.

Yoga cultivates a sense of acceptance, gratitude, and self-awareness, fostering body positivity and self-esteem. Joining yoga classes also introduces women to a community of like-minded peers, offering emotional and social camaraderie. In essence, whether one seeks physical prowess, emotional balance, or a profound connection to oneself, yoga presents a haven for women to flourish and rejuvenate.

Board-certified health coach Marnie Dachis Marmet breaks down some of the different practices, and explains how yoga transformed her life.

  1. Hatha Yoga

“Hatha yoga is a gentle and foundational style that focuses on physical postures (asanas) and breath control (pranayama). It promotes balance, flexibility, and relaxation, making it suitable for beginners and those seeking a more gentle practice,” explains Marmet.

  1. Vinyasa Yoga

Another type of yoga, vinyasa, centers around flowing sequences of poses.

Marmet states, “Vinyasa yoga involves flowing sequences of poses that synchronize movement with breath. It builds strength, flexibility, and cardiovascular endurance.”

  1. Ashtanga Yoga

Some forms are more physically demanding; they focus on strength, flexibility and stamina. 

“Ashtanga yoga follows a specific sequence of postures and is a more rigorous and physically demanding practice. It emphasizes strength, flexibility, and stamina,” says Marmet.

  1. Bikram Yoga

“Bikram yoga consists of a series of 26 poses and two breathing exercises practiced in a heated room. The heat promotes increased flexibility and detoxification,” Marmet states.

Bikram yoga has been shown to improve lower body strength, lower and upper body range of motion, and balance in healthy adults.

  1. Yin Yoga

For those looking for a more meditative and physically and mentally challenging practice, yin yoga could be a good option.

Marmet explains, “Yin yoga involves holding poses for extended periods, typically targeting connective tissues and joints. It helps improve flexibility, releases tension, and cultivates mindfulness and patience.”

Yin yoga has deep roots in Taoist philosophy which emphasizes the need to find balance, which can be extremely beneficial for women looking to improve their lives.

  1. Kundalini Yoga

“Kundalini yoga focuses on awakening the energy within the body through dynamic movements, breathwork, chanting, and meditation. It promotes spiritual growth, increases vitality, and enhances mental clarity,” states Marmet. 

The practice of kriyas and meditations in Kundalini Yoga are designed to raise complete body awareness to prepare the body, nervous system, and mind.

  1. Restorative Yoga

Restorative yoga involves passive, supported poses held for extended periods using props to provide relaxation and deep rest.

“There are various types of yoga, each with its distinctive focus, style, and benefits,” Marnie explains. “These are just a few examples of the many types of yoga available. Each style offers something different, and the right choice depends on individual preferences, goals, and physical abilities. Make a plan to explore each kind, and find the one that resonates with you best.”

Yoga can be a transformative experience, and is a great way to get your body moving in ways you typically wouldn’t throughout your daily life. This can help as a tool to combat stress and enhance your life.

Marnie Dachis Marmet is the author of “My Song Unleashed.” She is a serial entrepreneur, board-certified health coach and the founder of Zenful Life Coaching, a practice dedicated to helping women and teens create a healthier and happier life. She supports clients in implementing personalized nutrition and wellness plans and making gradual, sustainable lifestyle changes. Her areas of expertise include longevity, mind-body-spirit holistic health, gut health, yoga, mindfulness and meditation.