You may have seen them in a park manipulating a leg over their heads while balancing on one foot, poised to see the sun rise. Or, you might have glimpsed them in group fitness classes, lying on their backs breathing at the end of a session. It’s certainly true that synchronously stretching yogis look strange the first time you encounter them. However, yoga isn’t as odd as it looks. A fitness technique that many believe was practiced before the Vedas were written in India, Yoga is now a popular method of getting fit that many people consider a staple of their daily routine. It’s no surprise why – yoga increases your flexibility and strength.
Tone Your Core, Rejuvenate Your Body
At first glance, yoga poses may look strange, but there is a specific method to the madness. Each pose is perfectly designed to strengthen the muscles of your core – the area near your spine. The different methods of stretching build strength, giving you the capacity to do more aerobic exercise – which means you’ll lose weight, gain a healthier heart, and stay fit. Additionally, a stronger core is associated with reduced neck, shoulder, and back pain, and better digestive health and body sculpting. Further, as you work to manipulate your body into complex poses, you’ll increase your flexibility and balance, which helps you prepare for other exercises and physical activities. You’ll be able to endure some of the most strenuous exercise classes when you practice yoga regularly.
Build Mental Agility
Another advantage of yoga is that it’s all about holistic health and fitness – it benefits the mind as well as the body. Coupled with stretching, flexibility, and strength exercises, yoga focuses on meditation and relaxation. Breathing techniques and concentration are some of the primary ways that yoga teaches its students to relax and clear their minds. These techniques help you focus, release stress, and take a mental break from the world around you. Further, holding yoga poses for long periods of time helps you build mental endurance. This means that you’ll be able to tolerate physically, emotionally, and mentally challenging situations better when you practice yoga.
Choose a Class that Works for You
Whether you’re a star athlete or you’ve never participated in a workout in your life, there is a yoga class that will work for you. There are many styles and levels of yoga, from the slow-paced hatha to the challenging Iyengar, so whether you’re 15 or 95, you’ll be able to practice this ancient art. Most yoga is taught in group classes, so you’ll have the support of your peers and a qualified instructor as you learn poses and improve your flexibility. Most instructors are also willing to provide accommodations for the young, old, and those with health problems. Yoga is also the perfect choice for family fitness, with many gyms offering yoga classes that challenge both children and adults and encourage the whole family to value and love fitness.
Participating in Yoga
Many gyms provide a whole range of yoga courses, with meeting times that are convenient to many different lifestyles. Early morning classes that greet the sunrise are perfect for those who like to relax and get their body moving first thing in the morning. Classes well into the evening accommodate night owls and those who work late. At a gym you’ll find many styles, instructors, and meeting time options.
At first glance, yoga can seem difficult and strange, but it’s actually the universal exercise program that is perfect for all ages and ability levels. Through relaxing stretching, mental control and concentration techniques, and posture improvement, yoga will prepare you for the mental and physical challenges that will come your way. Once you start a yoga program, you’ll wonder how you ever lived without it!