Yoga. According to the dictionary, yoga is a Hindu spiritual discipline, where breath control, simple meditation, and the adoption of specific bodily postures is widely practiced for health and relaxation.
For those who are new to the practice, Yoga, when translated means union. It helps to think of the practice in this way. When one begins the practice of yoga, they begin the journey to a unionized state of the mind, body, and soul. In this blog, we’ll outline the physical benefits of the exercise. Taking care of your body in a natural and healthful way has the potential to change your life! Read on to learn more about the power of Yoga on your physical health!
Yoga Increases Flexibility
When you begin the practice of yoga, you’re hyper-aware of your body’s movements. You’re also aware of how your body might struggle to move! Those who are new to the practice may struggle to keep up with seasoned yogis who seem to effortlessly bend and stretch in unimaginable ways. This can be an incredibly motivating goal! Flexibility grants you better posture, injury prevention, and the ability to perform everyday movements with ease.
Increased muscle strength and tone
Who doesn’t want to tone up their muscles and improve their strength? While many onlookers may be quick to write-off yoga as a non-serious form of exercise, when one commits to the practice, they commit to a series of repeated calisthenics. Squats, sit-ups, plank, push-ups. They may be called different names yet these killer moves offer a great pay-off.
Improved respiration, energy and vitality
When one begins the practice of yoga, they notice so many improvements in life. The first thing you might notice is your increased mindfulness when breathing. Learning how to breathe deeply to facilitate movement is a foundational step in Yoga. In addition to mastering breath control, you’ll notice an increase in energy. Whether you practice in the early morning before work, or you save the event to de-stress when the day is done, you’ll leave the mat feeling refreshed and revived. Even if you’re drenched with sweat!
Maintaining a balanced metabolism
While you may wonder why you’re constantly asked to do side-body stretches or another intense abdominal sequence, your metabolism has been in secret turbo-charge mode. Think about the flow-to-flow movements you accomplish during your session. Not only are you burning calories, but you’re creating heat in your muscles that will continue to burn throughout the day.
Regular yogis tend to weigh less. In fact, in a study done by the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, the researchers noted that middle aged adults who practiced yoga 3-5 times a week lost an average of 5 pounds over the course of 4 years. That may not sound like a lot, however, when assessing the group of middle-aged adults to who did not practice yoga, the results are striking. This group gained an average of 14 pounds of the course of the same four years.
While gentle yoga may not be the ticket to extreme weight loss, it may be the secret to maintaining a healthy weight as you age.
Improved athletic performance
Yoga is the perfect accompaniment to almost any other sport. How can yoga help? To start, your practice will help tone your muscles, improve your balance, and arm you with a strong and resilient core to tackle any challenge. Chances are you’ll be able to run longer or swim those laps faster in no time!
Protection from injury
When you take the time to stretch daily, your body is able to maintain a healthy and supportive alignment. In addition, this form of gentle stretching will prepare you for your other high intensity exercise by teaching you to listen to your body and pull back when you’re feeling over-extended.
Check back shortly to read the next blog, where we’ll talk about how Yoga is just as beneficial to the mind!