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Health and Fitness News

Is Yoga for You?

Eight benefits yoga offers your good health.

One of the most popular forms of exercise in the fitness world today, yoga offers a long list of potential mental and physical health benefits. While this 5,000-year-old practice began in India as a way to unite the mind and body, anyone at any age or fitness level can benefit today from taking a yoga class. Take your pick from Anusara, Ashtanga, Bikram, Hatha, hot, Iyengar, restorative, or Vinyasa yoga.

People who love yoga will tell you it comes with all sorts of perks. Here are eight of the most beloved benefits.

1. Relieve Stress

In this fast-paced, busy world, the quiet, gentle, and slow-paced yoga environment can do wonders at relieving stress and anxiety. While performing yoga, you are not to think about past regrets or future worries but to focus on your body and senses in the moment. The relaxation that comes from yoga lowers your heart rate, reduces blood pressure, and improves the immune system.

2. Build Strength

After your first yoga class you may be sore all over. Take this as a good sign to mean you got a full-body workout that targeted all major muscle groups. The poses and stretches incorporate dynamic movements and static holds that require you to support your body weight. It won’t take long to notice you’re getting stronger.

3. Touch Your Toes

Tight muscles, limited mobility, or painful joints can be remedied with yoga. Everyday movements become easier from the yoga stretches that increase flexibility. Remember the days when you could touch your toes? It could happen again with a little patience and yoga.

4. Don’t Forget to Breathe

When you’re anxious, your breathing becomes faster and shallower. This speeds your heart rate and makes you feel nervous and on edge. You may not realize it, but your breathing and emotional state are closely connected. Slowing your breathing can help bring calmness and clarity of thought. The stretches and poses of a yoga workout incorporate special breathing techniques and patterns that can be carried over into everyday life, making that tense meeting at work not so tense after all.

5. Sleep Like a Baby

Multiple studies show a link between practicing yoga and improved sleep quality. The physical activity paired with relaxation techniques is one way to help combat insomnia. Why is this? Yoga helps manage stress, which leads to better sleep. Better sleep means less stress. It’s a cycle, and when you’re in the positive cycle, life is good.

6. Burn Calories

While yoga is mostly stretches and poses, it is exercise and it does burn a fair amount of calories. Depending on the type of yoga you do, you can expect to burn anywhere from 200 to 600 calories in an hour. That kind of calorie burn can go a long way in helping you to lose or maintain weight.

7. Stand Up Straight

One thing you’ll notice from practicing yoga is improved posture. Because yoga strengthens your core, shoulder, and back muscles, you’ll find it easier to sit and stand up straight. Better posture reduces back pain, improves breathing, and makes you feel and appear more confident.

8. Low Impact

Maybe you have arthritis or osteoporosis and are looking for a workout that’s easy on your joints. Yoga is a great option. Unlike other exercise options, there’s no pounding the pavement or extreme demands on your joints involved. And yoga is completely adaptable to your fitness level and abilities. As you increase your stamina and strength with yoga you can include other exercises like swimming or walking.

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