5 Benefits of a Regular Yoga Practice
Taking part in a regular yoga practice can be beneficial to your health in so many ways. Yoga can be practiced in a number of different styles and each style may offer a class level from beginner to advanced. This is great because whether you are a new or seasoned “yogi,” there is definitely a yoga practice that is just right for you. Here is a list of yoga styles for you to start practicing and the health benefits associated with each one:
1. Strength Building
Building muscle strength can help prevent injury to the body. It can also give your metabolism a boost and help you maintain a healthy weight. Many types of yoga, such as Ashtanga and Hatha yoga, incorporate postures that can help increase your muscular strength. It is recommended that adults participate in muscle strengthening activities at least twice a week.
2. Increased Flexibility
Flexibility is an important function of exercise and daily living. It helps to improve the range of motion in your joints and also decreases your risk of injury while exercising. Yoga practices, such as Iyengar yoga can help to increase your flexibility. If you like the heat, you can also try out Bikram yoga, in which students practice in a heated room. This style promotes detoxification of the body and promotes increased flexibility as well. Flexibility training includes activities such as stretching. Be sure include time to stretch after any type of exercise.
3. Reduces Stress
Stress can cause a slew of health complications, including respiratory issues. Yoga teaches many different types of breathing techniques to help people rebound from respiratory distress. Taking part in Restorative or Yin yoga classes is a great way to relax your muscles, focus on your breath, and de-stress. One of the many gifts of yoga, is that when you choose to incorporate these practices into your life on a regular basis, some of the tools you learn can help calm you down during any point of stress or anxiety.
4. Improves Mindfulness
Many people wonder what it is to be “mindful.” Mindfulness is the ability to clear the mind of thoughts of the past and future and instead focus on the present. This is an important concept to practice, as it helps you listen closely to your body’s cues and address what is needed at the time. Ananda is one type of yoga, out of many, that helps you achieve mindfulness through your practice. Mindfulness can be practiced in many different ways, including focused breathing or mediation. Try to set apart at least 10 minutes a day to practice mindfulness.
5. Builds Self-Confidence
Building confidence in one’s self is important because it helps to cultivate trust in yourself and your own abilities. All types of yoga can help boost your confidence levels because each time we choose to challenge ourselves, physically or mentally, we build confidence in ourselves and in our ability to persevere.
If going to a yoga studio is not an option for you, don’t sweat it! There are many other ways for you to access yoga, even during difficult times. Many studios are now offering online virtual yoga classes, so that you can practice in the comfort of your own home. Online subscriptions allow you to access all different types of yoga classes or you can access an endless supply of free yoga videos on YouTube, where there are several channels dedicated specifically to the practice of yoga.
Please remember to always talk to your doctor before starting a new exercise regimen. As a widely accessible form of exercise, whether you are looking to grow mentally and physically stronger or simply destress, practicing yoga may be right for you!
Learn more about ways to be physically active and other wellness programs offered by Wellness Workdays.
Written by: Onycha Carlson, Wellness Workdays Dietetic Intern
1. Mayo Clinic