Yoga may seem like a soft sport, something that women-who-brunch do on a lazy Sunday afternoon at a high-end gym. But yoga didn’t get its origins on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, it actually originated thousands of years ago, in what is now Northern India. Today, it’s practiced all over the world as a way to improve health. Let’s take a look at the 5 best health benefits from this ancient art.
Breathing and Stress Relief
Yoga focuses on breathing. Concentrating on your breathing is one of the keys to meditation and focusing your mind. If you’re stressed out and find your mind torn in a thousand directions, doing yoga is a great way to relax and push out your worries. You might find that afterward, you’re able to organize your thoughts and prioritize your problems a lot better.
Yoga poses, combined with breathing exercises, help relax and stretch your muscles. Over time, you become more and more flexible as a result. The goal here isn’t to join Cirque du Soleil, but to prevent injury. Imagine if you slip and fall one day, you might bruise your leg or butt, but if you’re flexible you can avoid injuries such as a strained groin or hamstring. Bruises go away and are relatively harmless, strains take weeks to heal and are much more painful.
Like a ballerina, you’ll not only become more flexible, you’ll become stronger with consistent yoga exercises. It takes strength to hold your body weight up in a plank position for minutes at a time, let alone on two limbs. Like anything else, building strength takes time, so don’t be disappointed if you need to start at an easier, beginner’s pose. Work your way up slowly and don’t push your body too hard.
If you think that yoga isn’t a workout, then you haven’t tried Vinyasa Yoga. This type of yoga moves the person through the poses without stopping. So, unlike regular yoga, you don’t get a chance to rest. By the end of an hour class, you’ll be sweating profusely. Combine this with your regular workout and watch the fat melt off your body!
Breathing and relaxing/stretching your muscles leads to better circulation. This, in turn, will improve your overall cardiovascular health. it’s even more important if you currently have diabetes or cardiovascular problems. Of course, make sure to talk to your doctor about exercising before you start any program. Ask him/her if yoga would be a good fit for you.