Yoga is often associated with stress relief, relaxation and those oh so expensive yoga pants everyone wears. But there is so much more to be gained from rolling out your yoga mat regularly.
A practice that has been in existence for more than 5,000 years, the health benefits of yoga are endless, so let’s focus on the top five.
1. Improved Posture
A consistant yoga practice will give you an increased awareness of your body, allowing you to notice when you are slouching and when you are standing tall. Also, yoga offers improved strength and flexibility, which leads to better posture. You will have the strength in your back and core muscles to stand tall without the pain so often associated with sitting or standing upright.
2. Increased Flexibility
You’re NEVER too old to improve your flexibility! There is no wrong or right fitness level to begin a yoga practice. We are very hard on our bodies, constantly pushing our muscles and joints to the limit and yoga is a way of showing our appreciation for all the hard work our bodies do for us. Yoga stretches both your muscles and the soft tissues of your body, which includes ligaments and tendons. Most people will feel a noticeable difference in their range of motion in as few as 8 weeks time.
3. Improved Mood & Cognition
Many studies are beginning to show that yoga may attribute to improved learning ability and memory. Yoga focuses on the body, mind and spirit. This relaxing discipline can ward off memory loss due to the improved circulation throughout the body. And if you’ve ever taken a yoga class, I’m sure you can attest to the fact that it’s near impossible to walk out of the class without at least a little grin on your face, regardless of the mood that you walked in the door with.
4. Increased Strength & Muscle Tone
Different poses will require you to support your body weight in ways you have never attempted, using muscle perhaps you didn’t even know you had. Time spent holding certain postures will challenge both your muscle strength and endurance. Nearly all poses will build core strength and balance, both of which are essential as we age.
5. Stress & Anxiety Reduction
Yoga allows you to step away from your chaotic day and put your focus into postures and poses that require concentration. This allows you to let your mind calm down and be present for the task at hand. Classes will often begin and/or end with meditation that will allow you to let go of all that outside interference and just be calm and peaceful. Yoga’s de-stressing benefits can be partly attributed to the production of hormone neurotransmitters, such as dopamine and epinephrine, creating a calming effect over the body.
Yoga is a relaxing discipline that addresses the body, mind and spirit. There are physical, emotional and spiritual benefits to be had when practicing yoga. From increased strength and flexibility to improved energy levels and mood, yoga has something to offer everyone.