Yoga is more than just meditation, stretches and poses; it’s a spiritual tradition that started in India which serves to calm the mind with its relaxed concentration; bringing inner peace, creativity, relaxation, concentration, improved mood and awareness of our essential nature. Asides a lot of health benefits which will be addressed in this post, yoga helps one work on their flexibility and strength as yoga poses stretches the muscles, once done properly and regularly, which helps someone who feels stiff move better; and literally anyone can do it.
Before practicing yoga, one needs to consider the outfits which are shorts/leggings, a fitted singlet and not to forget that mats for yoga are important because they help you in achieving your poses during yoga; as you’ll be moving between different poses like floorwork, balancing postures, stretches and so on which will require flexibility, strength, stability, physical and mental focus, as well as a good, lightweight mat.
How then can you live a healthy life doing yoga? Whether you’re doing yoga for relaxation, to meditate, or to learn poses, yoga has a lot of health benefits. Yoga which involves learning poses like asana has breathing benefits as it involves paying attention to breathing and also breathing techniques mostly during meditation, which helps one relax. Yoga involving meditation helps to reduce stress as it calms the mind such that it shifts the balance of the autonomic nervous system to the parasympathetic side. As a result of its stress reduction ability, yoga improves burnout and stress-related conditions like insomnia and irritable bowel syndrome, as well as preventing some the effects of high level of stress such as heart disease, diabetes, hypertension, and in some cases, death.
Yoga like ashtanga and power yoga, which are very physical increases strength as it improves muscle tone. Also, yoga styles like Iyengar or hatha, which are less vigorous also increases strength. Examples of these type of yoga poses include downward dog, upward dog, chair pose, and the plank pose, which build up your upper-body strength, lower back, deep abdominal muscles, as well as your abs, hamstrings and quadriceps. Yoga improves flexibility as studies have shown that at any level of yoga, after 8 weeks, people have noticed an improvement in their flexibility by up to 35%. As for medical benefits, yoga slows the heart rate and lowers blood pressure which helps people with heart disease or stroke. It also lowers cholesterol, and improves the immune system
More so, yoga improves relaxation, ones mood, concentration, balance and coordination, reaction times, lung function, menopausal symptoms, pain levels among old people, daily energy level, cardiovascular conditioning, and weight loss. Yoga has also been found to take care of some conditions like asthma, multiple sclerosis, arthritis, back pain, heart disease, depression, scoliosis and carpal tunnel syndrome; and it is also good for all ages, kids inclusive.
In short, yoga has a lot of health benefits asides improving your flexibility and posture. If you’ve not tried out yoga, you can start now to enjoy all the benefits associated with it. You can start by getting a yoga mat and trying out some poses in the comfort of your home or you can search for a yoga instructor or class to register.