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The Health Benefits of Yoga
Yoga is practiced by millions of people around the world, who have all turned to yoga for its mental and physical health benefits. Beginners find yoga to be an accessible form of exercise to try, and it’s suitable for people of all ages and fitness levels. Today we’re going to look at the health benefits of yoga, so you can see why so many people are committed to a regular yoga practice.
As we grow older, our bodies lose their natural flexibility if we don’t add stretching into our daily routine. Improving flexibility is one of the most common reasons individuals start attending yoga classes. Anyone who trains regularly with another type of exercise will benefit from adding yoga to compensate for any stiffness running or weight lifting may cause. While your flexibility won’t improve after just one class, you’ll find after only a few weeks of regular yoga classes, both your flexibility and balance will quickly develop. If you don’t have time to attend a class each week, even just ten to fifteen minutes of yoga each day can make a massive difference to your flexibility.
While yoga offers many benefits to our physical health, mental health benefits are among the most significant advantages of yoga compared to other similar practices. Yoga classes aim to reduce stress levels and encourage relaxation. You’ll want to focus on your breathing throughout a yoga class, which will help minimize the chatter in your mind. For many of us, it’s almost impossible to spend an hour or two alone in our busy lives. Yoga gives you the chance to escape your everyday life for a short while, reducing your cortisol levels and feelings of anxiety. After experiencing this benefit from yoga, many people add a morning or evening yoga practice into their routine every day to reduce stress levels.
Improves Heart Health
If you’ve never attended a yoga class before, you may associate this form of exercise with lying on the ground and performing a gentle series of stretches. While some classes and styles of yoga are more aligned with this idea, an Ashtanga, vinyasa flow, or hot yoga class can offer a strenuous exercise class that will get the blood pumping around your body in no time at all. This can help to supply your body with much-needed nutrients and reduce your chance of heart disease in the long run. Of course, you’ll want to incorporate other healthy habits into your life, such as a clean diet and regular walks, to protect your heart to the best of your ability.
Combats Anxiety and Depression
One of the common reasons someone will choose to attend a yoga class for the first time is due to experiencing anxiety or depression. Many people struggling with their mental health find they don’t have the physical energy to take part in high-impact workouts, and so opt for yoga instead. One of the most common symptoms of anxiety is ruminating thoughts, and a yoga class gives you a chance to get out of your head for an hour and immerse yourself in your breathing and movement. Most yoga practitioners find their anxiety symptoms reduce after adopting a regular practice, and they feel more peace in their life.
For anyone who suffers from insomnia or falling asleep at night, you’ll know how much of an impact this can have on your life and relationships. A lack of sleep can result in higher blood pressure, depression, or obesity, and can make completing even the most basic daily tasks almost impossible. Yoga offers you a chance to relax, and especially when practiced a couple of hours before bedtime, you’ll find you drift off into a much more restful night’s sleep. If sleep is your number one reason for taking a yoga class, we recommend looking at yin and restorative yoga classes. While they can still be very challenging classes as you hold positions for a longer time, they’ll encourage relaxation and a calmer mind before bed.
While these are the main benefits of adding yoga to your weekly or daily routine, you’ll also find it can help relieve chronic pain, encourage you to follow a healthy diet, and improve your strength. As there are so many different yoga styles and classes available, try to pick the best option to fit your desired results. Whether you are looking for a yoga class to relax, to improve your flexibility, or to get in a sweaty workout, yoga offers something for individuals of all ages and abilities.