Most people think of yoga as being some strange form of exercise that requires you to turn yourself into a pretzel. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Some types of yoga like Hatha and Iyengar most focus on perfect postures, and peculiar ones too, but others like Kundalini yoga are easy enough for anyone to do.
Some people also think they are too old for yoga. In most cases, however, yoga is low impact, with the exception of Ashtanga and Bikram styles, so you can get a good workout through yoga but often without even breaking a sweat.
Yoga is an excellent form of strength training, so it can be used as part of an overall exercise program that balances strength building with cardio exercise to get the heart pumping faster to exercise it more, since the heart is the most important muscle in the body.
In addition to a stronger body, you will also gain a strong mind. Yoga requires concentration and mental focus in order to achieve the poses and hold them or practice the different kinds of breathing in yoga, which are known as pranayama.
Good breathing can lead to less stress and anxiety and better overall health and vitality, which in turn can lead to better decision making and improved relationships. After all, it is hard to do anything well when you are sick.
Other valuable benefits of yoga include:
- Delaying the aging process through effective detoxification of your body
- Decreasing fatigue
- Increasing energy throughout the day after your morning practice
- Boosting the metabolism to burn calories more efficiently
- Developing long lean muscle that can help maintain a healthy weight
- Improving the quality and duration of sleep
- Giving greater control over your body and mind
- Increasing body awareness, for better workouts
- Boosting self-confidence
- Offering greater relaxation and less stress in life
With so many benefits to yoga, what are you waiting for? Grab a towel and some DVDs or head off to an introductory yoga class in your neighborhood and learn first-hand just how beneficial yoga can be to body, mind and spirit.