Granted, yoga comes with a stereotype of skinny women doing pretzels in their posh studios, but yoga is beneficial for anyone. It requires very little equipment, just a small space on the floor and a mat, but the effects it has on the body is far from little. Yoga can help you physically and mentally, and according to many yoga extremists it can even affect you on a spiritual level. Without going into the deep science behind the emotional well being of yoga, here are five powerful reasons you should be practicing yoga today.
1. It Develops Your Flexibility
This is no shocker. We all know that yoga will have you bending and twisting your body into positions you never thought possible but how this added flexibility helps you everyday goes beyond showing off to your friends. Elongating the spine and stretching the joints helps to flush out the toxins in your body and even promotes a healthy digestive system. Increased flexibility will also help you perform your everyday activities with more ease and less injury. Not to mention, having a more limber body will give you extra skills in any sport you choose.
2. It Increases Your Strength
Yoga isn’t usually thought of as an activity that will help grow your muscle mass but it should be. Think about how much your body weighs. Yoga is all about pushing and pulling that weight around. Just like bodyweight exercises like lunges, push ups and squats build muscle, the moves you do in yoga will also build muscle too. Yoga, though, involves holding these positions for longer periods of time, so is more challenging in that sense. The result is stronger, leaner muscles throughout your whole body.
3. It’s a Great Stress Reliever
You may be able to take your aggression out on a punching bag in the gym but if you are looking to relax your mind and have a greater feeling of peace at the end of your workout, yoga should be the choice for you. Yoga emphasizes a controlled breathing technique that takes all those worries and thoughts you have buzzing about in your mind and puts them on hold. For the length of your yoga session, its just you and the mat, no emails, no phone calls, and no responsibilities. It’s a fantastic stress release experience.
4. It Means You Can Skip the Gym
Not all types of yoga are gentle and relaxing; there are also those that are pretty hardcore. Vinyasa yoga, power yoga, and flow yoga are three types that will get you out of breath and sweating with an increased heart rate and a burn in your limbs. The effects can be the same as that of a cardio workout and strength training at the gym. Many of us don’t have the time to commit to the gym. Yoga is a good alternative to keeping yourself fit.
5. It Improves Your Body Confidence
According to research by the University of California in Berkeley, women who practiced yoga regularly were 20 percent more satisfied with their body than those who did aerobics, even though both groups of women were at a healthy weight. Research has also found that yoga is beneficial for improving self-esteem, fatigue and overall quality of life.
So if you really want to reap the benefits of yoga, sign up for a class today. Aim for 2-3 sessions a week and you’ll soon be wondering why you waited so long to start practicing yoga.