Are you feeling stressed or just looking for something new to add to your exercise routine? Yoga may be the answer that you are looking for.
Yoga is used to harmonize the body, mind, and spirit. Only about 10% of people in America practice yoga over the course of a year. Yoga is great for wellness, but can also be used to treat health problems. There are different types of yoga from Hatha, which is the most often form of yoga to Iyengar, which uses things like blocks, straps, and chairs to help align your body.
Yoga can target your core, arms, legs, glutes, and back depending on different poses. Yoga targets the arms without using any free weights or machines, but just uses your own body weight. What can get better than not having to use any machines or weights?
The perks of doing yoga are increasing your flexibility because yoga stretches your muscles and can increase your range of motion. Yoga also increases your strength. Even though you are using your body weight, it doesn’t mean that you aren’t increasing your strength! You will build up your strength over time the more you practice using yoga.
Because yoga is a mind-body practice, it can really help reduce your stress levels, lower your heart rate, and blood pressure. These are the greatest benefits to using yoga. I can tell you that when I have a bad day at work or my kids are stressing me out there are two options for me: either go run/jog around the neighborhood and breathe in the fresh air or do yoga. There is just something about taking some deep breaths while holding a position (such as downward dog) that stretches your muscles and makes you relax all at the same time that just gets rid of your stress. I feel the same thing happen when I go run and get some fresh air.
The best news about practicing yoga is that everyone can do yoga because there is such a vast difference in poses and stretches. If you are a beginner, don’t stretch as far as someone that has been practicing yoga for years. You have to build up your tolerance and that will take time. If you are interested in starting yoga, I’d highly recommend it for not only health benefits to your body, but also the benefits to your mind, such as stress relief.
My favorite yoga pose: Downward dog
To complete this pose you start in the plank position. You then want to pull your pelvis toward the sky. You will be in the form of an A. It is important to keep your arms and legs straight, but your knees and arms should not be locked. You want to position your head between your arms and look toward your navel. You want to take at least 5 deep breaths while holding this position. Slowly lower yourself to your hands and knees. Repeat as needed.