Did you know over 36 million Americans practice yoga? The Hindu spiritual and ascetic discipline has grown massively in popularity over the past few years, with passionate yogis stretching around the world. Yoga is so much more than just a way to exercise and stay in shape; it is a way of life for many. While you may be interested in yoga for its calorie-burning benefits, you may soon realize that it is also excellent for stimulating psychological wellness.
Physical Benefits of Yoga
The relaxation techniques associated with yoga can reduce chronic pain, such as headaches, arthritis, lower back pain, and carpal tunnel syndrome. Moreover, yoga can lower blood pressure and help overcome insomnia.
Other physical benefits of this practice include:
- Weight loss
- Increased flexibility and balance
- Enhanced muscle strength and tone
- Improved respiration, energy, and stamina
- Maintaining a stable metabolism
- Better athletic performance
- Improved cardio and circulatory health
- Protection from injury
Mental Benefits of Yoga
Apart from the physical advantages, yoga can help regulate stress, which has devastating effects on the mind and body. Stress can manifest itself in several ways, including headaches, shoulder or neck pain, inability to sleep, failure to concentrate, and substance abuse. Yoga can be very useful in developing anti-stress coping mechanisms and gaining a more positive outlook on life.
Further, yoga’s inclusion of meditation and breathing techniques can help improve mental well-being. Specifically, yoga can provide the following psychological benefits:
- Reduced anxiety
- Increased body awareness
- Sharpened concentration skills
- Improved self-confidence
- A sense of clarity and calmness
It is important to note that yoga has many other physical and mental benefits, but these are the major ones. Body- and self-awareness are especially advantageous because they can aid in early detection of physical problems and allow for immediate preventive action.
Tips for Beginner Yogis
Unlike other workout regimes, the beauty of yoga is that it requires very little equipment, often only needing your body (plus a yoga mat). If you are a beginner, it is recommended to join a class and arrive early to help adjust yourself to the environment.
Here are additional tips to keep in mind:
- Avoid heavy meals before class
- Familiarize yourself with newbie-friendly poses
- Stretch before your session begins
- Get to know your instructor
Do not feel embarrassed about telling your instructor that you are new. He or she can help keep an eye on you and offer additional cueing for poses. It is also imperative that you inform them about any injuries you may have, if you are pregnant, and how you feel about hands-on corrections. All of this information provides your instructor the opportunity to make your first class as comfortable as possible.
Scientific research proves that yoga cultivates health and body awareness, allowing yogis to control their mind and bodies better. From improved body alignment to reduced stress, yoga can help with a variety of ailments. The best part is, even if you are a dedicated career man or woman, yoga can be easily fit into any lifestyle or schedule.