The benefits of yoga are vast, probably more so than you imagine. It is an ancient oriental discipline that has continued to be practiced in the present day but more recently has gained widespread popularity throughout the West.
Often thought of as a holistic system that combines practices of the body and mind, there are many different types of yoga (some of which we covered a few weeks ago), combining the physical exercise of asanas with the mental focus of breathwork and controlling one's mind. It is commonly accepted that practicing yoga is good but without further knowledge or curiosity we wouldn't be able to identify what these benefits are.
Of course it is true and yoga has been proven to be beneficial in a number of ways. I am talking about benefits for the body (muscular and physical) and mental benefits. This is why it is not incorrect to say that yoga can improve your life bringing real well-being both physically and mentally.
Today I'm going to focus on some of the physical benefits of yoga.
Most yoga practices require a combination of strength, balance, and flexibility simultaneously. This combination of physical demand, when integrated into ones regular routine and continued over time, will result in the following:
Many have asked is yoga is a sufficient method of exercise to lose weight. Of course it is and different practices will have different results in this regard. It is worth noting that for anyone looking to lose weight in a healthy manor, a combination of diet and exercise need to be incorporated into ones lifestyle.
Who should be practicing yoga?
A seemly simple question that'll I respond with a seemly simple answer. Anyone and everyone. Due to the nature of a yoga, a individual practice can be tailor to be a physically demanding (or not so) as desired. The stretching aspect can help those with back pain or postural problems. The focus of breathing and breathwork can help those with reduced lung capacity or anyone struggling with anxiety.
But please, remember, not to over do it. Most injuries in yoga occur when pushing your body further than it's capable of. It's ok and encouraged to find a place of discomfort in your practice (that's how you grow!) but you should never be in pain. Take it easy and always listen to your body. There is no rush and your yoga practice should be serving you.