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What is Yoga Good For? Benefits for a Healthy Lifestyle

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.

Physical Benefits

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.yoga-benefits-balance

  • 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.

 

yoga-benefits-posesImportant 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”.

Getting started

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

yoga blocks.

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?

Namaste!

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14 Comments

  1. I like the fact that yoga can be done anywhere at anytime. I have been procrastinating about doing yoga but I think you just gave me the push that I needed. Thank you for sharing your knowledge!

    • I hope you give it a try and enjoy it as much as I do! I started doing yoga two years ago and have seen so many benefits from it. I am slowly converting my husband and kids too.

  2. Another amazing inspirational article, thank you!

    I’m just curious how long have you been practicing yoga??

    I use to like yourself train for running in numerous races; however, I found it wasn’t doing me many benefits! Your system is working wonders for me so far I tend to walk everywhere anyway, so the thought of going to the gym hasn’t even crossed my mind! However, I do think yoga would fit in perfectly as its something that as long as you have a mat can be done more or less anywhere, which is excellent.

    So yeah I’m interested in starting I have already lined up a few classes in my area to train.
    Thank you for the excellent post.
    Kind regards

    • I’m glad to hear you enjoyed the article and are considering trying out some yoga! I have been practicing yoga for two years now. I almost have my husband and two teenagers convinced to regularly enjoy yoga as well. My husband will go running and then do 10-15 minutes of yoga to cool down after.

      Yoga can be a nice addition to what you are already doing, at home or as part of a class.

  3. Great article. I find this very helpful to anyone interested to try yoga. You have provided enough information. I love to know how yoga will help the person’s body transform inside and out. I think I am now convinced to try this kind of workout.

    • Thanks for visiting! I’m glad to hear that you enjoyed the article. Come back & let me know how it goes when you get the chance to try yoga for yourself!

  4. Thanks for this informative post! I have a love/hate relationship with yoga. I am not flexible and often have a hard time “sitting with” being bad at the poses. I have never quite been able to get over the beginner’s hump. I often go to yoga classes, and instead of being inspired by more flexible practioners, I feel discouraged and intimidated. I wish there were a Planet Fitness version of yoga. i.e. a place you can relax, go at your own pace, without ever having to worry about being judged. Any advice you’d have about getting over that initial hump?

    • One of the things that I love about yoga is that there are “modifications” to the poses you can do while you are building up flexibility to be able to do the pose the way a more flexible or experienced person can. An example of a modification would be to put your hands on blocks while doing a forward fold so you can keep your legs straighter while bending over. Or sitting on a block while sitting cross-legged so it is more comfortable. In person classes don’t always show those modifications.
      Try video workouts like the 3 Week Yoga Retreat instead. In these videos there are three people showing you how to do each move and one of them is always doing a modification for those who have injuries or just aren’t as flexible yet. While you are new, just keep in mind that it does take time to increase your range of motion. Never force yourself into a pose that is difficult and if it hurts, back off a little. You want to build up to it, not injure yourself and give up.
      Good luck!

  5. Hi Amber. Thanks for sharing. I love yoga and the benefits that it brings, physically, mentally and emotionally. I have been practicing on and off for almost 20 years now and cannot imagine life without yoga.
    It is such a convenient form of exercise as you can do it alone at home with no to minimal setup costs or join one of the many styles available for classes to be found in most cities and towns nowadays. I hope your post inspires others to begin yoga as a positive step towards self-development and personal growth.
    Namaste

  6. What a nice post you wrote! I really enjoyed reading it and I could not be silent about your post so I decided to leave my comment here and say Thank You! For sharing this quality post with others.
    Actually this is exactly the information that I was looking for information about the yoga and its benefits and when I landed on your website and read this post, it answered all my questions in details.
    So I’m happy that you decided to write about this topic and share it with people. It’s very useful and can definitely be used as a great source for everyone who is interested in this topic.
    I will come back to your website again for sure and I’m looking forward to reading your new posts.)

    Thanks!

    • Thank you so much for your comment! I am glad I could be of assistance in answering your questions. I look forward to hearing form you again soon!

  7. Thanks for your blog Amber.
    I know many people who do yoga and really enjoy it.
    My question is can I start even though I haven’t been exercising for quite some time? Or should I work into it with some different exercise first?
    I know people think yoga is easy but my friends get quite a workout from it.
    Thanks,
    Suzanne

    • Absolutely! Yoga is a really unique form of exercise that is good for any fitness level. & you are correct, Yoga can be quite the workout! I have done many Yoga videos that have kicked my butt!
      I highly recommend the 3 Week Yoga Retreat series for new beginners. Each video has at least one person demonstrating modifications for all of the poses to make them easier for those who are new, not quite as flexible, or who have injuries. The important thing is to pay attention to your body and not push yourself into a pose that you are not ready for. Ease into poses, like you would if you were stretching. If something hurts, back off on that pose. That is emphasized a LOT in the 3 Week Yoga Retreat series- if it hurts, back off. Your body will improve over time. It takes years to perfect some poses, so don’t rush it.
      Here is a link to the 3 Week Yoga Retreat videos if you would like to check those out.

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