Yoga is a physical exercise that disciplines the body and helps with breath control and simple meditation as your body adapts specific postures. Yoga is generally practiced for health and relaxation, as it is a great way to stretch out your body. It utilizes strength, flexibility, and balance in its different poses which require a steadfast mental focus from other worries or distractions. Regular practice can help athletes abstain from injury, as it is harder to pull a muscle – in one study, people’s flexibility improved by as much as 35% after just two months. Yoga improves cardio and circulatory health, helps to balance the metabolism, and improves your strength and energy.

Getting What You Need From Yoga

Yoga is for everyone, not just people who are already athletically inclined or flexible. You can start with beginner’s classes, or even classes for people who are working through injuries and see yoga as a type of physical therapy. Some types of yoga are about relaxation, while in others you move more as you learn about poses that call attention to your breathing. The poses are what call for balance and stamina: holding your body in a slightly contorted position is no easy feat. Your flexibility and strength will improve over time. There is no deadline or finish line, since every yoga student starts at a different time and point in their lives. You just have to do the best you can, and continue to push yourself. Power yoga is very physical to improve muscle tone, while hot yoga takes place in a sauna-atmosphere so you sweat more as you work. Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction programs implement yoga into the course as a mind-body technique to help decrease stress. Substance abuse addicts have also been shown to have an increased quality of life with yoga.

A Full Body Benefit

Nearly all yoga poses build on your core strength in the abdomen muscles. A strong core helps prevent back injuries, and supports your spinal cord. As you hold your standing poses your body is building support in your hamstrings and quads, while the plank pose and downward dog improve your upper-body strength. Because your instructor will be guiding you through proper breathing techniques, your posture will improve as you learn to keep your spine and shoulders straight. The only negative affects spring from beginner’s competitiveness which can result in injury if they overreach their skill, or if an instructor is teaching before they are properly qualified. A well-qualified instructor can help push a yoga student to their limits without crossing the line into pain, and evaluate which props to use or poses to avoid to refrain from injuries.

The relaxation techniques taught in yoga classes can even help with chronic pains from arthritic, carpal tunnel, headaches, and lower back pain. Yoga helps bring calm and control to both your body and mind as it helps you manage stress. Stress can manifest itself in sleeping problems such as insomnia, neck pain, or a lack of focus. Yoga’s exercises combat those same symptoms and can help improve your overall mental health, including depression. With more mental clarity, pain relief, and stronger muscles, you’ll feel unstoppable.

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