For thousands of years, yoga has been practiced as a tonic for body, mind, and spirit. This ancient discipline encourages relaxation through controlled breathing, meditation, and holding various body poses. In recent decades, yoga has become increasingly popular. But is yoga really a form of exercise? Experts say the answer is yes.
Mind and Spirit
Yoga is an excellent form of exercise for the mind and spirit. The deep breathing and meditation of hatha yoga (widely considered to be the most popular form of yoga in the U.S.) will help you relax. The concentration required during a yoga session helps take your mind away from daily stresses. As a result, practicing yoga may help you sleep better. You may also develop more effective coping skills and a more optimistic outlook.
Yoga is good exercise for the body. Many yoga poses require great physical flexibility. Even basic poses require you to stretch muscles, which will increase your overall range of motion.
This increased flexibility makes you less vulnerable to injury. Learning new poses helps you improve your kinesthetic awareness–your ability to know where your body is in space without looking in a mirror. Balance improves as you learn and master more complex poses.
There are many different types of yoga, some more vigorous than others. Yoga that involves significant intensity (such as Ashtanga yoga and power yoga) may boost muscular endurance and stamina. Finally, yoga’s ability to promote relaxation can help lower your blood pressure.
While yoga offers many benefits to your body and mind, it also poses potential hazards for some people. Anyone with a history of back or joint problems should consult a physician before undertaking yoga. Pregnant women generally should refrain from performing twisting poses that place pressure on the uterus.
Certain health conditions may limit the extent of your yoga practice. Consult a physician before performing yoga if you have high blood pressure, osteoporosis, or a history of blood clots.
While yoga can be learned from books or videos, you’re more likely to properly master the technique safely by taking a yoga class. We hope you’ll come try one of ours!