The Many Benefits of Yoga
The practice of yoga dates back more than 5,000 years. It was, and still is, used as a method to cultivate increased awareness of the body and mind connection. When most people refer to yoga, they are speaking of yoga asana, which includes moving in and out of physical postures with paired breathing techniques. This is what sets it apart from other types of physical activity. There are many different types of yoga, but they all include three foundational factors including breath, posture and focused gaze or drishti.
There are many health benefits to participating in yoga regularly. A consistent yoga practice has been linked to:
- Reduced stress
- Improved immune support
- Decreased insomnia
- Lowered blood pressure
- Weight reduction
- Protection from injury
- Increased flexibility
- Increased muscle tone and strength
A consistent practice can be as short as 15 minutes a day or as long as 90 minutes, so it is easy to fit into any schedule. Research has shown that those who practice yoga for as little as 30 minutes a week for four years, have less of a chance of gaining weight in middle age and have lower body mass index than those who do not practice yoga. Additionally, those who participate in a yoga practice have been found to have greater endurance, muscle strength, flexibility and cardio vascular fitness.
Practicing yoga stretches and tones the muscles of the body and may be used to relax overused muscles, decrease potential for injury, and improve energy levels which may enhance athletic performance or participation in daily activities. An individualized plan can be developed in order to target your desired goals and make yoga part of your daily routine. There is no condition that your body needs to be in to start, anyone can practice yoga, all you need is breath and the desire to try something new!