Stretching out: The benefits of yoga
For years, yoga has been a popular fitness routine for many people. To the outsider, it looks nothing more than fancy stretching. However, yoga brings more to the table than normal stretching does. A tradition that has spanned thousands of years, yoga is a physical, mental, and spiritual exercise. Yoga's many traditions focuses on this three-fold development of a person's well-being.
• Improved flexibility – Yoga's poses let a person's joints handle a larger field of motion.
• Better muscular form – It may not seem like it, but yoga poses need strength. Not just strength but the appropriate strength.
• A full-body massage – A good yoga session gets all the body parts moving. It also promotes activity in places which our usual physical activities do not stimulate.
• Stress relief – Participating in a yoga session is a very relaxing experience. Yoga, at its heart, is a form of physical meditation. The key to yoga sessions is to let go of all your worries and be in the “now.” This helps relieve the mental stress that often piles up on us.
• Fights depression – Studies have shown that yoga can help with minor psychiatric disorders like mild depression. Yoga stimulates chemical changes in the body that simulates antidepressants and that help reduce inflammation and swelling.
• Renewed focus – Yoga energizes. The slow movements, the consistent breathing, and the mental relaxation all help to get you back into top form.
• Increased self-knowledge – One of the things you develop when doing yoga is knowing your body better and being aware of its limits. This extends into your mental state, too. Remember that knowing yourself better is the first step in improving yourself as a whole.
• Positive thinking – The can-do mentality that yoga brings into your life helps encourage positive thoughts. A positive mentality helps greatly in getting in your day-to-day life.
Yoga is definitely a great experience for anyone. With all these benefits, you can’t go wrong with giving yoga a try.