A lot of people have misconceptions about yoga, thinking it’s only for very fit people and automatically deciding that they wouldn’t be able to do all those crazy poses. Now, after years of practice, there are some pretty crazy poses, but that’s really not what yoga is about. If you’ve written off yoga as not for you, here are 5 reasons why you should practice yoga that will make you change your mind.
- Mind-body connection
The word “yoga” means “union”, and a good yoga practice is about finding that union between your mind and body, and the union of you with your own spirituality. The meditative aspects of yoga help you be more aware of what is happening in your body, can help you focus on the big picture, and even help you crystallize thoughts and goals that used to be vague and aimlessly wandering through your mind.
- Anyone can do yoga
Contrary to many people’s misconceptions, yoga is actually an ideal exercise for people who have had little or no physical activity, people recovering from injuries, people with medical conditions or disabilities, and even pregnant women! While yoga can be intense, in its original form it is a very gentle yet effective form of exercise, and with the help of your doctor and properly trained instructor can be adjusted to your body’s specific needs.
- Yoga relieves stress
We could all use a little less stress in our lives, and yoga can give your body some much needed stress relief and relaxation. The stress-reducing benefits of physical activity are well-documented, and yoga in particular can ease tension because of the meditative nature of the exercises. You’ll probably find that yoga improves the quality of your sleep as well, which will reduce your stress even further.
- Alleviate certain medical conditions
If you have a medical condition, always check with your doctor before trying a new exercise routine. When done correctly, yoga can help improve overall well-being as well as medical conditions like arthritis, osteoporosis, back pain, chronic headaches, high blood pressure, and even depression. Many of these conditions are related to stress and inflammation, which yoga is known to reduce.
- Improve physical fitness
Obviously, yoga is exercise and exercise improves your physical fitness. But yoga does this in a way that’s unlike any other form of exercise. The gentle stretching and twisting that occurs in yoga poses and when flowing from one position to the next improves flexibility and muscle tone while lubricating your joints and essentially squeezing toxins from your body. Your muscles will be loose and limber while getting stronger, and depending on how quickly you flow through a vinyasa (an ordered series of positions), yoga can also provide an amazing cardiovascular workout. Finally, the breathing exercises implemented in yoga practice can improve lung capacity and stamina and even help people with breathing disorders like asthma breathe more easily.