Yoga is a great starting point for anyone who is just getting started on a fitness journey or as an addition anywhere along the way. What is yoga good for? There is a long list of benefits yoga has that promotes a healthy lifestyle.
Yoga is one of my favorite forms of exercise for people of all fitness levels. Aside from the excuse to purchase lots of yoga pants, comfy shirts, and not wear shoes when you work out, there are a good deal of health related benefits as well. Yoga is low impact, goes at a steady pace, and can be modified to fit any individual needs.
When you consistently practice yoga, there are quite a few physical benefits you will see and feel. The longer you consistently practice yoga, the more noticeable the results.
- increased flexibility- what most people think of when they think yoga- it stretches you and your muscles
- stability and balance- core muscle strength
- relief from aches and pains
- build strength and muscles over your entire body using your own body weight- arms, legs, core, back, etc
- weight loss
- sleep better
Benefits Your Doctor Will See
Not only will you notice a difference after including yoga in your workout, your doctor will likely notice a difference too. That’s because yoga has
- increased lung capacity from deep breathing
- lower blood pressure
- improved blood flow and circulation
- reduced swelling and varicose vein improvement
- improved range of motion
- weight loss- worth mentioning twice!
Yoga transforms you from the inside out!
A lot of exercise programs focus purely on your physical performance. Yoga, however, is an all-inclusive practice that transforms your mental, physical, and emotional health all at the same time. Most observers see Yoga as a laid back, easy workout. What they don’t see is the progressive intensity of the moves as your body develops and changes over time.
And while the physical changes are going on, there are a lot of mental and emotional changes going on at the same time without even trying. Some internal benefits of yoga include:
- boosts mood
- provides clarity of thoughts
- increases body awareness and body confidence
- feeling of calm (IE chills you the f*ck out)
- teaches you to observe rather than instantly react
- sense of being centered and grounded
- stress relief
Yoga connects your mind, body, and soul to help you feel complete, centered, and at one with yourself.
Important things to know about Yoga
There are a couple of things that are important to know about yoga before you try it. Yoga was developed over 5000 years ago in India. Yoga was designed to rejuvenate the body and prolong life.
Yoga is based on asanas, or poses, that are strung together in sequences called flows. Some flows, like a Sun Salutation, are universal, while other flows are developed to meet the needs of specific individuals. Yoga can be practiced primarily as a workout and still receive the majority of the healthy benefits.
There is also a spiritual side to Yoga that includes the practice of meditation, mantras, and focusing on activating and balancing different chakras (energy centers) in the body. Yoga is not exclusive to any specific religion, though individuals of certain religions are more prone to practice yoga. Yoga is about turning inward to get in touch with the divinity found inside- your light that is connected to the light that everyone else has inside them.
You can practice yoga poses without learning about chakras or mantras or participating in any uncomfortable spiritual aspect or conversations, especially if you practice at home or through workout videos. See my recommendation for videos below that are solely workout focused. They do usually include a few seconds to a minute of meditation or focusing on breathing at the beginning or end.
There are so many kinds of yoga classes you can attend, so make sure you get enough information before going to a class if you are turned off about the spiritual aspect of yoga. If you’re looking for a unique experience, there are goat yoga, angry yoga, and beer yoga classes, along with more traditional yoga. There’s a little something for everyone.
At the end of most yoga classes, there is a word that is repeated, “Namaste”. This phrase translates to something along the lines of, “The light in me acknowledges the light in you.” Kind of a form of “have a good day” or “peace be with you”.
Yoga can be done anywhere at anytime. All you need to do Yoga is a non-slip surface that you are comfortable moving through various poses on. Most people use a Yoga mat, which can be purchased for as little as $5 at Walmart or Five Below. Beginners, or those with less flexibility, may want a set of yoga blocks and a yoga strap, also under $5 each at Walmart. You can substitute a towel for the strap and a large hard cover book or block of wood for the
To practice yoga, all you need is a few minutes a day and a little knowledge of some yoga poses. See my post on 5 Best Yoga Poses for Beginners to help get you started with some simple poses you can do now. I will be adding additional poses over the next few weeks.
If you are looking for Yoga videos to guide you, I highly recommend Beachbody On Demand. They have an entire Yoga Studio with 10-60 minute workout videos from beginner to more advanced. 3 Week Yoga Retreat is the perfect place to begin your Yoga journey. You can purchase 3 Week Yoga Retreat as DVD’s here or included in the On Demand subscription here.
You can also find yoga studios on almost every corner, yoga has become quite popular over the last few years. Yoga classes typically cost $5 to $15 per class, though monthly memberships or purchasing a set number of classes can be more affordable.
Drop a comment below to let me know what you like most, or least, about Yoga. Did I miss any benefits that you have seen? Have any questions?