The Importance of Yoga: Everything You Need to Know
When we think of physical fitness, often, an image comes into our head that includes some weights, running, and other strenuous workouts. Enter yoga. Practicing yoga helps you focus inward, is low-impact, and is an exercise that can give you physical benefits to boot. Is it too good to be true? Let’s find out why yoga is important.
What Is Yoga?
Yoga has a history that dates back as far as 5000 years in Northern India. It is practiced as a form of exercise to help your mind, body, and soul. It is a practice with a deep history and is taking the fitness world by storm now with yoga sessions, heated studios, and even private classes offered in almost every fitness center.
Here’s Why Yoga Is Good For You
You may think you need to be flexible even to try yoga, but that is the opposite of the truth. Yoga is a tool you can use to become more flexible, no matter where you are starting from. It takes time, and you may find yourself flexible one day, and stiff the next, but with consistency, you should find that you can reach to your toes a little easier, and can start to do bends and stretches that you did not think were possible before. Enhancing your flexibility will allow you to have a greater range of motion, help to improve your posture, and can even help you to maintain a sturdy balance as you age.
Almost every single yoga pose helps to strengthen your core. Yoga focuses on stability, and as your core gets stronger, you can engage in more challenging yoga poses, and even hold them longer than before. But, creating a stronger core doesn’t only improve your regular yoga practice. A stronger core helps to protect your internal organs and enhances your balance and stability, which is important as you age.
Yoga is important for relaxation in several ways. First, some yoga postures—like Lotus and Savasana—are practiced to help you focus inward on your breath and ground your energy. Other poses—like Balasana (Child’s Pose)—still focus on your breath, but at the same time stretch your hips, where most of our body’s tension tends to be held, and even gives our organs a gentle massage to help promote relaxation and digestion.
Helps With Posture
Our modern lives have us sitting and slouching every single day, typing numbers into a spreadsheet, or leaning over to chat on our phones—but posture is still important. You may remember your parents asking you to stand up straight, and it is even harder today than it was when you were a kid. But, yoga offers a solution. It encourages you to “ground” your feet, and stand with a straight spine. It also offers poses that work to counteract your slouching. Backbends and neck stretches are perfect for countering the hours you spend hunched over and getting you to think about how to sit and stand straighter throughout the day.
Can Improve Mental Health
Studies suggest that yoga may be helpful in reducing anxiety and depression in individuals. Yoga is believed to be beneficial for these conditions due to the stress-relieving benefits and introspection. While more research is needed to quantify the real health benefits of yoga for depression, it does look like a promising supplement to treatment.
Whatever benefit you want to experience, yoga is good for you. And, you do not have to practice every single day—though that is fantastic as well—just one to two times a week has been proven to help people immensely. If you would like to practice yoga, stop by any location where you can join in on a Group Exercise class or yoga classes in the heated studio. For those looking to switch up their workout routines with something new but familiar, we also offer a more upbeat PIYO class that combines dance with pilates and yoga! To find out more info, check out the other yoga resources on our blog.