8 Reasons Why You Should Do Yoga, If You Aren’t Already
For the third year in a row, Washington, DC has been ranked as the fittest city in the U.S. by the American Fitness Index. Washington city residents are obviously doing something right when it comes to fitness, but it never hurts to reexamine your fitness routine to see if you can optimize it for better results.
There are many fitness trends that promise to guide you to a better, healthier lifestyle. One of them, however, promises to do that and increase body-mind awareness: Yoga.
Yoga, which originated in Ancient India, is the practice of spiritual and physical techniques that aim to enlighten and unify one’s mind, body, and spirit. In order to do so, it combines physical and breathing exercises with mental and spiritual philosophies and meditation techniques. In the past few years, Yoga has gained more and more popularity, especially, in the United States.
Yoga’s popularity comes as no surprise when one looks into its benefits. Those who have practiced Yoga have found their physical, mental, and spiritual health much improved.
Here are 8 major benefits of Yoga:
Benefit #1: Yoga Increases Flexibility
This is probably the most obvious and expected benefit that comes with the practice of Yoga. From the beginning—even if you can’t do the poses—Yoga begins to stretch your muscles and increase your range of motion. It gradually loosens you up so that if you keep up with the practice, you’ll eventually find yourself able to get into poses you had previously deemed impossible. As a result, you’ll also start to notice that aches and pains start to disappear and that your posture has improved.
Benefit #2: Yoga Increases Muscle Strength and Tone
Yoga combines flexibility with strength building. It uses your own bodyweight as resistance as you get into various poses—it takes a lot of strength to hold your body in a balanced pose! As you transition between poses, various muscles work to stabilize and move you, so you’re able to exercise multiple muscle groups at the same time. And as poses become easier, Yoga allows you to incorporate new, more challenging ones in your practice. That way, you’ll continue to work and strengthen your muscles. Regular practice will strengthen your core, arms, legs, glutes, and back. Yoga leaves no muscle unstretched or untoned.
Benefit #3: Yoga Protects You from Injury
Not only is Yoga a low-impact exercise with a low risk of injury, it also prevents cartilage and joint breakdown by taking your joints through their full range of motion. This means that Yoga puts into use areas of cartilage that may otherwise go unused and helps and prevents degenerative arthritis. The improved durability of joints and muscles, flexibility and range of motion, and alignment all work together to prevent injuries that may result from other sports, activities, or movements.
Benefit #4: Yoga Helps You Meet and Keep Your Weight Goals
Because Yoga helps target various muscle groups, it can reach muscles and problem areas that are keeping you from improving your metabolism. It also improves digestion and tones muscles, which, along with boosting your metabolism, helps you lose weight and maintain your weight loss.
Furthermore, since Yoga stretches muscles lengthwise, it also helps reduce the amount of cellulite that can build around muscles.
Here are specific poses that have been shown to help boost your metabolism.
Benefit #5: Yoga Improves Respiration and Energy
Yoga focuses a great deal on breathing. The breathing techniques employed in Yoga cause your breathing to be deeper, more controlled, and natural. This kind of breathing aerates your lungs and delivers more oxygen to your system. Increased oxygen levels in your blood stream boost your energy levels. Some Yoga poses, in particular, focus on bringing more life force into the body. They tend to extend the spine to allow energy to circulate through the body, and open the chest to allow more intake of air. This explains why many of those who practice Yoga claim to feel energized after each class!
Benefit #6: Yoga Improves Cardio and Circulatory Health
Studies have found that Yoga practice lowers the resting heart rate, increases endurance, and can improve your maximum intake of oxygen during exercise. Along with increasing air intake, Yoga’s physical exercise and calming nature increases blood flow and improves circulation and heart health. With better levels of hemoglobin and red blood cells, your blood pressure lowers and your organs get more oxygen and nutrients, cutting the level of clot-promoting proteins in the blood and decreasing your risk of heart attack and stroke. It also helps lower harmful cholesterol by burning fat and increasing blood flow and heart health.
Benefit #7: Yoga Reduces Stress and Prevents IBS and other Digestive Problems
Through breathing exercises, physical exercise, and improved focus on the present, Yoga is great for reducing and managing stress and anxiety. It combines several commonly uses stress-reducing techniques, such as breathing, stretching, fitness, meditation, and guided imagery. Through Yoga, you get the benefits of all of those exercises in one technique. The calm, focused, and meditative nature of Yoga makes it a soothing and grounding form of exercise. It helps you find your inner strength and learn calming and coping techniques that help you reduce and deal with stress in a healthy way.
Through stress management and better blood flow, Yoga can also help with digestive issues. There is a huge connection between stress and digestive disorders and conditions like ulcers, irritable bowel syndrome, and constipation, all of which can be caused and exacerbated by stress. By lowering stress and improving food digestion and blood flow to the intestines, Yoga can prevent these conditions and alleviate some of their symptoms.
Benefit #8: Yoga Makes You Happier
With benefits such as pain relief, improved metabolism, increased energy, and lowered stress levels, it should come as no surprise that regularly practicing Yoga makes you happier. In fact, studies have shown that, like other regular physical exercises, Yoga decreased symptoms of depression and led to less anxiety and greater levels of happiness and immune function.
Whether you’re just getting started with your Yoga practice or you’re a Yoga expert, you need a great open space to practice your Yoga poses. If you find a crowded class or gym unappealing, why not move into a building that comes complete with a Yoga room and fitness center? Our Yoga room has plenty of open space and natural light to help get your body and spirit feeling free and relaxed. Yoga brings you closer to your dream lifestyle and so do we. Contact us for more information!