A consistent, long-term yoga practice can have a lot of physical, mental, and emotional benefits, even for beginners. Two to three 20-minute-sessions of yoga per week is enough to begin to bring these areas into balance. As your body gets used to the stretches and movement of the yoga poses, you can build up to daily yoga sessions of varying lengths.
Physically yoga strengthens muscles, improves range of motion, increases flexibility, improves balance, lowers blood pressure, and can prevent and/or rehabilitate injuries. As you begin to feel these improvements, you can endure longer more strenuous classes, which allows for even more strength, flexibility, and stamina. Your overall health will become better, and you will begin to feel this in your body and life.
Mentally yoga relieves stress and anxiety, improves sleep, relaxes the mind, sharpens concentration, and increases body awareness. These positive mental changes might happen more slowly than the physical changes, but an increased sense of calm will begin to come over you as the stress hormones in your body are lowered. You will notice how your mood is effected and how this seeps into other areas of your life.
Emotionally yoga teaches stress reduction, self-regulation, and self-awareness. You will feel more in control of your body and emotions, so you can respond to situations reflectively instead of reactively. This helps to prevent the fight-or-flight response and the accompanying spike in adrenaline and blood pressure. You will begin to notice a greater social-emotional awareness in yourself, and perhaps greater feelings of connection and kindness.
Having worked with a great number of beginner students of all ages and abilities, I have seen the transformation in all areas firsthand. Even students who begin taking a yoga class just once per week quickly start to see the physical benefits manifested in their bodies. They often appreciate the change so much that they soon begin taking class two or three times per week. This helps to speed up the changes, and the mental and emotional benefits start to become noticeable. As I tell my students - ‘It feels good to feel good’, so keeping up with your yoga practice becomes easier and even enjoyable.
As your physical, mental, and emotional health come into balance you should increase practice frequency or duration to continue improving your overall wellness. Yoga is an unending journey with innumerable benefits that you will continue to see for a long time.