It’s more than likely that you are familiar with yoga on some level. The practice originates in ancient India and combines physical, mental, and spiritual disciplines to help one achieve balance. Yoga has grown in popularity over the past few decades and as a result, modern practices have adapted to fit the needs and interests of each individual. With so much variety and hype over the activity, you might be wondering if you should finally give yoga a try, and the answer is yes! Yoga has so many benefits for both your physical and mental health.
Finding Your Strength
The flows static poses in different yoga styles target a variety of muscle types, helping them to grow stronger by using just the weight of your body. If you start practicing yoga consistently then over time you might notice that certain poses are easier to hold than they once might have been–this is because your muscles are getting stronger! The strengthening of your body’s muscles can have many benefits. Of course, it’s great to be strong just for the sake of being strong–watch out, pickle jars–but with the strengthening of your muscles also comes the toning of them. So, not only will you feel strong, but you’ll also look toned and fit, which will give you a big boost of confidence. Maybe while you’re searching for the right yoga class, you should also start searching for the perfect swimsuit to show off your beach body.
In addition to helping you look and feel good, strengthening your muscles through yoga can also help you stay more coordinated and mobile as you age. The muscles that are targeted through yoga–as well as the nature of the poses–help to increase your body’s ability to remain physically balanced. This is very important to help you stay more in control of your coordination as you age. Having a strong sense of balance will keep you from eventually becoming one of over 800 Illinois senior citizens who suffer a fall and die each year. It’s a morbid thought, but staying active regularly and strengthening your muscles before they begin to naturally degenerate can improve your quality of life years down the road, so it’s important to be thinking of the future that you want.
It’s no secret that yoga can greatly improve not only your muscle strength and balance but your flexibility as well. Flexibility isn’t just important if you’re trying to finally accomplish your childhood dreams of being able to do a split, but increasing the flexibility of your muscles can greatly reduce your risk of injuries. This is why, even if you are already active in some other way–maybe you run or lift weights, or you’re part of a recreational sports league–adding yoga to your routine can enhance your body’s overall level of fitness and improve your performance both in other sports and in your daily life. Flexibility is so crucial in maintaining your body’s full range of motion, even in something as small as your joints. Having a good level of flexibility is something you might not truly understand the importance of until you lose it, but since it’s something that you lose as you age, it’s necessary to be proactive so you don’t have to suffer from regret when you’re older.
Finding Inner Peace
The practice of yoga is praised for its positive effects on mental health. It is thought that when you find balance in your body and mind that you will find balance in your soul. Whether you agree with this or not, yoga has been found to help relieve stress and anxiety, and many studios offer additional strategies for aiding in your relaxation. The majority of studios will use specific playlists during sessions, helping you feel energized or relaxed given where you’re at in the flow. Other studios might burn incense or use oil diffusers to help you relax through aromatherapy, and some studios experiment with light or temperature to aid in relaxation. Even without all of this, the simple practice of yoga is relaxing on its own. The practice forces you to focus on your breathing to help ease your body into poses. While the controlled breathing alone will help you feel more grounded within your body, these poses and flows are said to help release endorphins in your brain that help you feel more relaxed. These poses can also help to release tension that you might carry in your muscles from the stress of your daily life. So, even if you struggle with meditation and mental relaxation, you’ll still feel the therapeutic effects of yoga in your body.