It seems like yoga is becoming more and more popular each year, with additional classes and studios opening up all over the country. Whether you are already practicing yoga or are just thinking about getting into it, it's important to understand that this form of exercise offers several amazing benefits. In this article, you'll be able to examine some of the results of regularly practicing yoga and how those benefits will affect your life.
What is Yoga?
Unlike many other forms of exercise, yoga is a unique practice that combines the exercise of both the mind and the body. In yoga, the physical actions are complemented by mental ones with the goal of achieving a calmer and more peaceful state. As far as physical exertion goes, yoga requires careful positioning and stretching through predetermined poses and moves. It has very low-impact on the joints, but still has great results for the muscles. To improve the mental state as well, yoga incorporates calming breathing exercises, and in some cases, meditation as well. The combination of these physical and mental exercises leads to several great benefits that are described below.
The Health Benefits of Yoga
1. Flexibility: One of the most notable benefits of doing yoga is that it can increase a person's flexibility regardless of their age or weight. Contrary to what you might believe, you don't have to be flexible to start doing yoga. Starting in introductory classes, yoga instructors will teach participants how to do the poses to the best of their ability. By practicing these poses and incorporating the breathing techniques of yoga, students will find that their flexibility quickly begins to improve and they are able to do more and more poses correctly over time. This is due to the gradual stretching of the muscles and an increased range of motion in the joints.
2. Strength: The variety of poses utilized in yoga help to build muscles in key areas of the body, including the arms, the abdomen and the legs. Because the poses are held for long periods of time, the muscles are forced to work hard to keep the body balanced and in the correct position. Frequent yoga participants typically experience an increase in muscle tone as a result of their workouts. The amazing thing about yoga is that no weights or machines have to be used. Instead, your own body is the weight with which you build your strength.
3. Posture: Because yoga is so effective for strengthening the core muscles in the abdomen, most people experience an increase in their core strength. This, in turn, improves posture, which protects your back from strain and helps you look confident and healthy.
4. Balance: Many of the poses in yoga require diligent balance, which some participants may not master at first. However, after practicing for a few weeks, many yoga participants are able to improve their balance and hold poses for longer periods of time. Coordination and athleticism can also improve as you become more balanced, which means you'll be less likely to injure yourself in other situations.
5. Circulation: Doing yoga typically leads to better circulation in the body. The more efficient your body is when it comes to circulation, the better equipped it will be to transport nutrients and oxygen throughout your body each and every day. This results in a wide variety of healthy benefits, including lower blood pressure and healthier organs.
6. Endurance: Despite the fact that there is no running or jogging involved in yoga, this form of exercise can actually increase your endurance. This is because yoga helps to lower your heart rate and improve the oxygenation in your body. This leads to better cardiovascular health and, in turn, improved endurance.
7. Stress: Because yoga involves a kind of quiet concentration and deep breathing exercises, it typically tends to draw away the stresses of the day and lead to a more peaceful state. By lowering stress on a regular basis, you can often improve your health and your quality of life.
8. Energy: One of the key benefits of practicing yoga is that it usually leaves participants feeling energized rather than tired after a workout. Other forms of exercise that involve extreme physical exertion and sweating can leave individuals feeling sluggish. With yoga, the quiet, slow and deliberate movements get you the workout you need without using up all of your energy.
9. Weight: Yoga helps to increase your metabolism while also providing a calming, low-impact workout. That's why yoga is a great way to start shedding extra pounds and start leading a healthier lifestyle.
10. Chronic Conditions: Some people with chronic conditions find that yoga helps to keep their symptoms at bay or relieve some of the pain they experience on a regular basis. Some of the chronic conditions which may be alleviated by yoga are sleeping disorders, cancer, depression and anxiety.
How to Maximize Your Benefits
There are a few easy tips for maximizing the health benefits of yoga listed here. First, make sure you always warm up your muscles before completing a yoga session. Ask your instructor if a warm-up will be included in the session or if you should do this beforehand. Second, try to combine your yoga routine with healthy eating habits. This will simply increase the extent to which you experience some of yoga health benefits, especially weight loss and increased energy.
Finally, be sure to talk to your doctor if you have one of the following risk factors or conditions as it may not be safe to practice yoga in these situations:
- Artificial joints
- High blood pressure
- Balance problems