Yoga is not a religion, but a practice. An ancient practice, yoga has stood the test of time, giving those who practice it health benefits and emotional benefits than are priceless. My goal here today is not to discuss yoga in its entirety; there are hundreds of great books and articles that go into great depth on the variations and practices of yoga. No, today I want to get you curious about it, and perhaps interested in finding more out about it.
There are many reasons why you would benefit from adding yoga into your daily life. Here are six of them.
1. Flexibility—Flexible muscles and joints are much less prone to injury. Think about which breaks first when stretched: a rubber band or a piece of string. One is flexible, and tolerates a higher level of stress.
2. Strength–Stronger is better. The stronger your muscles, ligaments, and joints are the better you feel, the more you can do, and, as you age, the longer you can continue to do things for yourself.
3. Breathing–Yoga uses breathing as an integral part of its practice. During your yoga workout you will breathe deeply, and the increased oxygen intake circulates throughout your body. Your lungs are getting exercised too, and become stronger too.
4. Pain Prevention–Your increased flexibility and strength help you to be more resistant to muscle strains, joint pain, and that tired “achey” feeling.
5. Mental Calmness–During your workout you are concentrating intently on your body, the poses you are holding, your breathing. All other “problems” vanish for a short while, giving your brain and psyche a healthy relaxing break.
6. Stress Reduction–One of the great things about yoga is that the mental calmness you begin to feel during your workout, stays with you throughout the rest of the day. You find that after your yoga class, or yoga workout in your own home using a DVD, you feel more aware of your body. You feel more self-confident and you are pleased with yourself for doing such a good thing for your body. The stresses of the day begin to seem less significant.
I love doing yoga, and though I don’t practice it every day, I try to do a workout at home three or four times a week. When I do it, I feel fantastic. For the rest of the day, I feel like I can take on the world.
Give it a try. Find a beginners yoga class nearby, perhaps at the “Y”, or local community center. It’s also easy to do at home, by yourself, with a good beginning yoga DVD.