Health Benefits Of Yoga
1. Anyone Can Do It
You don’t have to be flexible, fit, or comfortable wearing spandex to practice yoga. You don’t have to be young, wealthy, or able-bodied. You don’t even need a ton of free time. You can practice yoga in a wheelchair, at home in your pajamas, or in as little as 5-minute slices of time. You can do very challenging yoga poses or more gentle ones. Look for yoga classes that fit your needs or find a video online that suits you.
2. You Can Do Yoga Anywhere
You don’t need any special equipment or shoes to practice yoga, and you don’t need to be in a yoga studio or spend a lot to go to classes. You can practice yoga at home, at work, outside, or on vacation. All you need is little bit of floor space and you’re good to go.
3. Stronger Body
You don’t have to lift weights to strengthen your muscles. Hit the yoga mat for an effective strength workout. The sun salutation sequence of poses is an ideal strength workout, as it uses almost every part of your body. Even simple poses like plank and chair pose will strengthen your core. Any pose that involves a lunge will build your leg muscles, and static poses where you hold up your own weight will build lean muscle. Yoga may even help you build stronger bones.
4. Lots of Options
There are many types of yoga. Hatha is a slower-paced form that beginners and experienced yogis like. Vinyasa flows quickly from pose to pose. Iyengar focuses on proper alignment and uses props to hold poses for a long time. Bikram is one form of “hot” yoga, done in a very hot room. There are many other types, including yoga designed for pregnant women, new moms, older adults, people with disabilities, people who feel self-conscious about their weight, and those looking for a more spiritual practice.
5. Greater Flexibility
Yoga practice is on the rise among U.S. adults, and for good reason. There are many benefits to this ancient mind and body practice. For starters, it can improve your flexibility. Studies show that yoga helps many types of people become more flexible, from college athletes to adults who don’t exercise and the elderly. So if you’re not stretchy now, that’s totally fine. You can still start with a gentle practice.
6. Better Balance
Balance may not be something you think too much about, but it plays a huge role in your ability to do everything from sitting to moving about in any way. Good balance may also help you prevent falls. Many yoga poses focus on balancing in different positions. So it’s no surprise that studies show that yoga can improve your balance.
7. It's Low Impact
Yoga is a safe form of exercise for most people. If you’re injured or unable to do high-impact exercise like running or jumping, you can still do yoga. It doesn’t involve jumping or running, and it can easily be modified. Even if you have joint problems, you can practice yoga. If you have a health condition, tell your yoga teacher about it.
8. Less Stress
Yoga brings together body and mind, and many of its forms are meditative and peaceful. Yoga classes often end with a time of lying very still and quieting your thoughts. In one study, 86% of American adults who practice yoga said it lowers their stress, and research supports that yoga can help with stress relief. (Just don’t stress yourself out about what moves you can’t do yet or what the people around you are doing!)
9. Improved Eating
Yoga teaches mindfulness, which can also lead to healthier food choices. A survey of more than 1,800 young adults found that those who practiced yoga did have better eating habits. Many said yoga helped them practice mindful eating, which is when you notice how your mind and body feel while you’re eating. A positive, healthy yoga community can be a good influence, too.
10. Sound Sleep
Just about everyone would love a better night’s sleep. Yoga might help. A regular practice causes your body to make more melatonin, a hormone that helps control your sleep cycles. Studies of older adults, people with cancer, and pregnant women have found that yoga helped them sleep better.
11. Better Breathing
Take a deep breath. Now release it. All those mindful breaths you do in yoga class can actually improve your lung capacity. If you have asthma, yoga breathing exercises can help your lungs work better.
12. It's Kid Friendly
The whole family can do yoga together. More and more children and teens are practicing yoga and schools are even using it. Research points to benefits like improved mood, weight loss, and better self-esteem for kids who do yoga at school.
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