Yoga has been around for a long time. The practice predates all modern exercise programs, ancient sports and the oldest martial arts of the Minoans, and yet, it is still one of the best ways to maintain good physical health. Today just about everyone is rolling out a mat, saluting the sun, and ready to explain what “Namaste” really means.
Perhaps the most incredible aspect of yoga is how the practice can be adapted to suit the needs of all types of practitioners, or “Yogis,” the term for a yoga devotee. Whether you are young or old, sedentary or active, professionally-athletic or recently-injured, yoga can be practiced in some form to build strength, prevent injuries, address pains and more.
In truth, the benefits of yoga are far too extensive to include in this short article. However, by understanding some of the most basic benefits of a dedicated yoga practice, it is possible to glimpse the much larger benefits of engaging the body through the most gentle and natural routine even conceptualized.
Yoga Makes You Feel Better
You may be sore and achy from five consecutive hours at the desk or feeling terrific due to plenty of regular exercise and healthy lifestyles. Either way, yoga can help you feel even better. Some of these results will be noticed immediately, as the body is loose and lively after a good yoga class. Other effects will be noticed in the long term, such as greater endurance when sitting or standing for hours on end.
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As yoga works to engage the major muscles groups from the core muscle groups, balance is improved and weight is more efficiently distributed throughout the body. Everything from typing on a keyboard to lifting 35-kg sacks of cement will be easier, will feel better, and require less energy.
Build Limber Muscles and Flexible Joints with Yoga
You may want to wait a few months before attempting a straight split, but most people who begin yoga practice gain a measure of flexibility. The more flexible and supple the joints and muscles, the less likely they are to become injured in a sudden movement or strain. This is the primary reason athletes from all types of sports categories practice yoga for improved performance. The “All Blacks”, New Zealand’s formidable rugby team, cultivate yoga practice for better resilience when it comes time to rough-and-tumble.1
Yoga Addresses Chronic Pain, Improves Sleep Habits and Promotes Relaxation
According to an article posted by “Harvard Medical School,” yoga can be an effective pain reliever for the discomforts of fibromyalgia, lower back pain, arthritis, and other chronic conditions. The focused breathing techniques and certain yoga postures (asana) are attributed to this analgesic capacity.
Specific types should be chosen for their own desired outcome. While Hot Yoga or Kundalini Yoga are decidedly energizing, Hatha Yoga and Nidra Yoga are known for being soothing and relaxing exercises. Practiced before bed, these yoga types can increase the quality of sleep and allow a restless mind to settle after an eventful day.2
Yoga Builds Focus and Concentration
While focus and attention to movements and executions is an important part of all exercises routines, yoga sharpens this aspect of exercise to a fine point. Yoga, in its purest forms, pulls together awareness and focus in a similar way to meditation and mindfulness, with many of the same benefits. Studies have shown that yoga, as adapted for children, has been beneficial in managing conditions of ADHD. Similar optimizing and empowering attributes have been experienced by devotees of many types of yoga, especially Kundalini Yoga.
Yoga Builds Awareness
A next-level insight into your own personal capacity for better health is another great advantage of Yoga as an exercise program. Unlike other regimes that encourage muscling forward and “fighting through the pain”, yoga practices cultivation of inner strength through a slow and intuitive approach. This awareness cultivated in yoga practice is contagious and can soon spill into other aspects of your life, making vital improvements all the way.
Yoga Helps You Live Healthier
Yoga maintains a vital synchronization between the mind and the body. In other exercises, the mind may lag behind or surge far ahead of the body’s current capacity and conditions. This can lead to frustrations, unrealistic expectations and even feelings of desperation that can result in a variety of unhealthy outcomes, including quitting on better health altogether.
Through the awareness provided by yoga, healthier decisions come naturally. Soon the negative effects of certain diet choices, unhealthy habits, and extremes of all types are phased out all by themselves.
Yoga Builds Greater Positivity and Acceptance of Yourself and Life
The path of yoga holds many deeper insights and profound applications to life and the personal approach to it. The term “yoga” refers to a culture of practices and traditions that span over 8,000 years of human history that have been adapted and adjusted to match every need. Where some fitness routines are a “no pain, no gain” trek to some pretty unrealistic expectations, yoga works differently. Yoga works to connect the devotee to the best possible practice for your needs and at your level.
This avoids the frustration and strain of entering into a life-changing plan for better health with high expectations of how much you should be lifting, weighing or running. Without these distractions, it is easier to accept your personal path to better health.
Final Notes on Yoga Practice
The practice and culture of yoga have come a long way to be a primary solution to better health in this modern age. Find out more about the practice of yoga from its early beginnings to the modern age in this article titled, The History of Yoga Practice: From the Stone Age to the 21st Century.3
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