Science emerges daily highlighting both the necessity of physical fitness, as well as the long list of astounding health benefits associated with routine exercise.
With all the options available to us for getting our daily-dose of movement, it’s worth noting that yoga has maintained its popularity as an exercise practice of choice for more than 5,000 years. Why? Well, for many reasons – all of which are relevant to all people of all ages and health conditions.
- Flexibility will increase almost immediately through a series of “asanas” (poses) that safely stretch your muscles, tendons, and ligaments by releasing the build-up of lactic acid. You will also experience an increased range of motion in your joints and possibly an increase in the lubrication in your joints.
- You will gain strength, especially in the core and abdominal regions. Increasing your core strength will improve posture and help to prevent injury in other physical endeavors.
- Almost all yogis report a calmer demeanor and a decrease in stress. Both mediation and the focus on deep/controlled breathing techniques are influential in the positive effects, along with a host of accompanying biochemical responses (i.e., a decrease in stress-promoting hormones).
- Yoga can lower heart rate and blood pressure, thus benefiting those afflicted with hypertension and/or heart disease. Studies have that yoga may product an anti-oxidant effect, as an explanation for the above heart-related benefits. Associations have also been linked between yoga and lowering cholesterol (triglyceride levels) and also increasing immunity.
- Integrative Yoga Therapy “IYT” is widely used as a supplemental treatment for many medical conditions, as the health benefits for those suffering from chronic disease (arthritis, back pain, asthma) have found it eases their symptoms and discomfort.
Yoga may not be for everyone, but everyone can gain something from this ancient practice. It’s structured to welcome those of every level, age, and flexibility. I say give it a shot!
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