Along with strength training and cardio, yoga should be added into your weekly workout routine. This is a great way to give you body and nervous system a break from the heavy lifting and intense cardio. However, your body still gets amazing benefits from yoga. Read some and try it for yourself!
- Flexibility. Yoga is a great way to improve your body’s flexibility. During your first class, you probably won’t be able to touch your toes, never mind do a backbend. But if you stick with it, you’ll notice a gradual loosening, and eventually, seemingly impossible poses will become possible. You’ll also probably notice that aches and pains start to disappear. That’s no coincidence. Tight hips can strain the knee joint due to improper alignment of the thigh and shinbones. Tight hamstrings can lead to a flattening of the lumbar spine, which can cause back pain. And inflexibility in muscles and connective tissue, such as fascia and ligaments, can cause poor posture. You will also notice an improvement in your overall fitness performance.
- Build Strength. Strong muscles do more than look good. They also protect us from conditions like arthritis and back pain, and help prevent falls in elderly people. And when you build strength through yoga, you balance it with flexibility.
- Blood Flow. Yoga gets your blood flowing. More specifically, the relaxation exercises you learn in yoga can help your circulation, especially in your hands and feet. Yoga also gets more oxygen to your cells, which function better as a result. Yoga also boosts levels of hemoglobin and red blood cells, which carry oxygen to the tissues. And it thins the blood by making platelets less sticky and by cutting the level of clot-promoting proteins in the blood. This can lead to a decrease in heart attacks and strokes since blood clots are often the cause of these killers.
- Better Sleep. Insomniacs fell asleep 15 minutes faster and slept an hour longer each night after two months of doing a 45-minute series of yoga poses daily before bed. This could be a result of better blood flow, less stress, and more oxygen to the brain. If you are having trouble sleeping try some yoga in your weekly routine.
- Peace of Mind. Yoga slows down the mental loops of frustration, regret, anger, fear, and desire that can cause stress. And since stress is implicated in so many health problems—from migraines and insomnia to lupus, MS, eczema, high blood pressure, and heart attacks—if you learn to quiet your mind, you’ll be likely to live longer and healthier. But most importantly you will be a happier individual.
Try out a Downward-Dog Flow for increased flexibility! Remember that practice is key. You will get better as you go, so do not give up!