If you are not already doing yoga and wondering why so many other people are, then you should know that it offers many benefits for just about any issue you may have.
In fact, there are at least 9 reasons why you should start yoga, including:
9 Reasons Why You Should Start Yoga
It is Easy on the Joints and Helps Ease Pain
Yoga’s gentle stretching movements are easy on the joints; therefore, it can be enjoyed by anyone regardless of their fitness level.
Several studies show that it can also ease pain and improve mobility in those with certain health conditions, such as arthritis, osteoporosis, back pain, and neck pain.
The yoga poses can also be modified using a chair for an even more forgiving form of exercise that also benefits those with mobility issues.
It Helps Improve Balance and Stability for Greater Posture and Mobility
Yoga based exercises have also been shown to help improve balance, especially in those age 60 and above.
According to experts, this is because they challenge the muscles responsible for balance, similar to how weight training challenges your muscles causing them to grow, thus helping build more muscle and improve stability in these areas.
Balancing poses also require you to engage your core muscles, which helps strengthen your midsection, thus also helping to improve overall stability for better balance when walking and more.
Doing yoga also strengthens and opens up the chest, upper back, and shoulders, which also helps improve your posture.
It Can be Used for Strength Training
Since yoga engages so many of your muscle groups, it can also be used to help build strength throughout your body.
It can even be used in the place of weights to help increase muscle growth.
In fact, like other resistance training, the more you practice yoga, the more the muscle fibers are broken down during your training, which then causes your body to repair the damaged fibers, thus fusing them and increasing muscle mass over time.
It’s even possible to get ripped doing yoga. However, you need to stick to exercises that are especially effective at doing so.
For instance, the Side Plan Pose is a dynamic exercise for toning the shoulders, arms, back, legs, and core, provided you maintain the proper position. In the meantime, the Warrior Pose does wonders for toning the legs, and the Chair Pose is a great posture for toning the quads.
You can also create more resistance and challenge with yoga poses, similar to increasing your amount of weight during weight training, by doing more reps of the pose or by simply holding it longer.
Swapping out your poses as you get more used to them for more challenging ones can also help you continue to build muscle and get ripped.
It Helps Improve Flexibility and Prevent Injuries
Yoga poses move your body in multidimensional ways, such as twisting and arching, thus helping improve the overall function of your body, whether it’s bending and lifting during everyday activities or quick pivoting during sports and more, which helps prevent injury.
Additionally, the deep breathing encouraged while performing the moves increases blood flow and warms up the muscles, which also helps keep them pliable and properly functioning.
It Improves Heart Health and Endurance
When yoga is practiced regularly, it has been shown to help reduce inflammation levels throughout the body, which also helps lower blood pressure and protect against heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and more, contributing to a healthier heart.
Furthermore, because yoga requires you to hold the poses for an extended length of time and up to several times throughout your session, it also improves muscle endurance, which not only enables you to participate in physical activities longer but also helps strengthen your heart.
It Can Help With Weight Loss
Various studies show that yoga, especially the more high-intensity forms, may also aid in weight loss.
In fact, one study showed that it improved several obesity-related outcomes, including body weight, body fat, BMI, and waist circumference in clinical trials.
The effects were even more pronounced when the programs were done more frequently, longer in duration, incorporated a variety of yoga practices, and included a yogic diet.
There are several ways yoga is believed to help promote weight loss, including it helps you burn calories during more intense practices similar to aerobic exercise. It also helps build muscle, which boosts metabolism and also helps you burn calories.
High levels of Cortisol, which the body produces in reaction to stress, can also be contributed to weight gain, especially around the abdomen. However, one 12-week study showed that yoga and meditation significantly decreased cortisol in participants, thus leading to a reduction in fat accumulation and more.
Another study showed that yoga also increases mindfulness, which helps you better focus on the foods you put into your body, thus helping to prevent binge eating and obesity.
Lastly, as part of any weight loss program, quality sleep is always suggested to help improve your results.
According to one study, this may be because it helps suppress the hunger hormones ghrelin and leptin so that you eat less when you are awake. Thus, you burn more calories and fat during exercise, which helps you shed pounds.
Experts further add, to lose weight using yoga, you should practice it often. However, you should participate in more active yoga every other day for at least an hour and then balance out your other days with a more gentle form of yoga for the best results.
You can also combine yoga with other forms of cardio for increased cardiovascular benefits to help speed weight loss.
It is also important to adhere to a low-calorie diet when doing yoga to lose weight because it enables you to burn more calories and fat during exercise than your body takes in, which is key to getting slim.
It Helps Improve Concentration, Mood, and Body Awareness
Exercise naturally helps boost brain function; however, yoga alone has been shown to really provide mental benefits.
In fact, an article published by Harvard Medical School suggests that the mental focus required in yoga helps boost cell development in the brain and improve its composition, which makes the brain perform better, resulting in increased cognitive skills, including memory and concentration.
It also increases alertness, which has been shown to improve reaction time during daily activities and sports. It also helps improve muscle coordination.
Yoga and meditation also teaches you to focus on the present, which promotes inner peace, thus helping to calm your mind and reduce negative emotions. Hence, several studies show that yoga is effective at helping ease the conditions of anxiety, depression, asthma, and more.
The relaxation that yoga breathing promotes also helps boost the feel-good hormone dopamine, which also helps improve mood and overall well-being, especially when done regularly.
It also creates a greater connection with your body for greater self-awareness, which helps build confidence and self-esteem for greater self-care.
It Improves Your Breathing
Part of doing yoga is taking slow, deep breaths when doing the poses, which helps improve the respiratory system whose function it is to supply oxygen throughout the body, including the nose, mouth, and lungs, that then supply oxygen to the blood where it is turned into energy as well as air to speak and more.
According to health experts, the more rich your blood is with oxygen, the more oxygen that is transported to the body’s organs, including the brain, which helps promote overall improved health throughout your body. It also helps improve lymph flow, which helps rid your body of toxins.
It can also help improve many respiratory conditions, including asthma, sinuses, and more.
One breathing exercise commonly used in yoga is Pranayama, and it can increase your oxygen intake by more than 3-times.
Meanwhile, yoga poses, such as the bow pose, the raised arm yoga pose, and the camel pose, also help support better breathing by opening up and relaxing the chest muscles, which gives the lungs more space to expand and function better.
On the other hand, a lack of oxygen or poor oxygen circulation throughout the body has been linked to shortness of breath, headaches, and, in some cases, even decreased brain and heart function.
Hence, many doctors recommend regularly practicing deep breathing to increase oxygen flow to your cells and organs and help keep them healthy and properly functioning.
It Can Be Done Anywhere
One main benefit of yoga is you don’t need to join a fitness class to enjoy its benefits. In fact, many of the poses can be practiced anywhere you have the space, including your home or office or even while on vacation.
However, if you are feeling lonely or isolated, etc., joining a yoga class can be a good way to join a community for healing and support.
Some yoga poses that can be done anywhere include:
- Pigeon Pose
- Camel Pose
- Plank Pose
- Seated Twist
- Seated Forward Fold
- Tree Pose
- Boat Pose
You can mix and match a few reps of each pose for a full yoga session or simply complete a few reps of just one pose as needed for quick results.
If you are short on space and still want to receive the mental effects of yoga, you can simply just practice meditation. And it, too, can also be done anywhere, including while walking, laying down, sitting, or in a stressful situation, such as while sitting in heavy traffic.
However, if you are new to meditation, it may be best to begin practicing in quiet until you get the hang of it, and then you can practice it anywhere.
Just be sure no matter where you choose to meditate, you are in a comfortable position that enables you to practice good posture and breath deeply for maximum results.
To focus your mind during meditation, channel your attention to an object or image to help free your mind from distractions.
And, just like when doing yoga, you should also remain in tune with your breathing, as well as the different sensations throughout your body for increased relaxation.
Some Tips to Get started Doing Yoga
According to experts, one of the best tips for getting started with yoga is to always practice on an empty stomach.
This is beneficial for many reasons, including it prevents you from becoming nauseous while working out on a full stomach or from having to stop mid-workout to use the bathroom.
Working out on a full stomach can also hinder you from fully twisting, turning, and bending your midsection during certain moves, which can affect your results. It also prevents your body from burning fat and calories more efficiently for energy.
Therefore, it is recommended you wait at least 4 hours after eating to practice yoga.
Some experts also recommend doing yoga at sunrise to enhance your mood and metabolism to help kickstart your day.
However, if you are having sleep difficulties, other experts recommend you try practicing yoga in the evening to help you relax and unwind before bedtime for improved sleep.
Doing yoga in the evening can also help your body digest the food you’ve eaten throughout the day for less bloat and discomfort.
However, any time you do yoga, you will experience its benefits, so simply select the best time for you.
Experts also suggest you end each yoga session with the Corpse Pose, which helps release any remaining tension in your body and recharges your energy.
To do the Corpse Pose, lie on the floor or another flat surface with your palms facing up, your toes resting out, and your eyes closed.
Breathe in filling your belly, the side of your ribs, and the upper chest with oxygen until the lungs are full.
Hold your breath a while, and then slowly release all the air from your lungs. Repeat this pose a few times until you feel revived and refreshed.
With regular practice, yoga can help you feel stronger, more fluid in your movements, and less stressed for improved quality of life.
In the end, as with any exercise, when incorporating yoga as part of your lifestyle, it is important to start slow and then work your way up to avoid injury. Additionally, if you have a health condition, are pregnant, or are recovering from an injury, you should be sure to consult your doctor before starting yoga to ensure it is safe for you.