Yoga…some see it as the solution to mental and physical issues that can arise in a person’s life.
And they could be right. A yoga workout can offer a lot of benefits.
And one of the best things about yoga is that you do not need fancy equipment or an expensive gym membership to get started.
A quiet clutter-free space and a yoga mat will get you started.
Yoga is an activity you can do almost anywhere…your living room, designated yoga room, the beach…well you get the idea.
There are many places that make a great spot for a yoga workout.
It really depends on where you choose to do your stretches and sequences.
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A Yoga Workout for Healing
If you think you need an hour a day, you don’t!
Even if you only have an hour a week once a week that is okay but being able to find 10 – 15 minutes a day in the morning is even better.
If you are not a morning person that is okay too. Just try to find a small window of time daily or even every other day.
Healing and improved quality of life can be the outcome. Here are 10 benefits of practicing yoga.
1. Decreased Stress
Research shows that 80 to 90 percent of visits to the doctor are caused by stress (1).
There are things that can be done to reduce stress and yoga is one of these things.
A gentle yoga practice at the end of the day is an ideal way to unwind and relieve tension from your body.
We can’t always change the things in our lives that can cause stress, but that does not mean you have to suffer through and do nothing.
Yoga is a no-cost natural way of managing the feelings of overwhelm and stress that you may encounter daily.
In a national survey, over 85% of people who did yoga reported that it helped them relieve stress. Exercise, in general, is an excellent way to relieve stress.
2. Relieves Anxiety
Anxiety is another condition many people deal with regularly. Depression and anxiety can be debilitating.
Often times people are prescribed medication to manage these disorders.
While the medication can help relieve anxiety and depression, most of the medications cause less than desirable side effects.
Yoga can also help relieve anxiety and depression.
When it comes to the broader practice of yoga, many experts agree that a combination of asana, pranayama (breathing), and mindfulness (or some form of meditation) is likely to be most effective at quelling apprehension and the science seems to bear this out (2).
3. Reduces Inflammation
Inflammation can be the result of a number of things, including injury and infection.
Lifestyle, food and environmental factors can also contribute to inflammation in the body.
Changing your lifestyle and eating a cleaner diet can go a long way in reducing inflammation. Adding yoga to your schedule can be beneficial as well.
Including yoga and living a simpler life can help promote a healthier, less toxic lifestyle.
4. Promotes Weight Loss
While practicing yoga may not burn loads of calories, it is the concepts behind yoga and its teaching that can help change the relationship you have with food.
This can result in you making different food choices and ultimately taking off excess pounds.
Yoga philosophy promotes a vegetarian diet based on natural, unprocessed foods.
Being conscious of how you eat as well as blessing your food and giving thanks encourages you to be aware of what you are eating.
These practices also believe that food is for nurturing and nourishing the body.
Food is to be eaten mindfully and not on-the-go or in front of a screen. Will these tips cause you to consume fewer calories?
Maybe, but yoga will give a good chance at having the strength to make the necessary changes to lose weight and enjoy clean foods.
5. Fights Depression
For some people, depression can be debilitating and for others, it can be annoying and ruin your day.
When it comes to depression there are a number of things you can do to fight it.
It may be as simple as changing course and doing something you truly enjoy and putting stress and problems out of your mind for the time being.
However, for some people, depression can require medication. It is between you and your doctor what course of action you take to manage depression.
Many people are opting to give holistic methods a try, such as; yoga and counseling to avoid the side effects that can be caused by taking medication.
Need a quick fix for depressed feelings? Concentrate on your breathing and do some slow stretches.
Or take a brisk walk and release those endorphins (feel-good body chemicals).
Always be willing to try natural methods for dealing with depression, but don’t be afraid to ask for professional help.
6. Reduces Chronic Pain
Back pain is the worst. Yoga was one of the first recommendations made to me when I suffered from back pain.
And it has been a lifesaver. Combined with walking and sitting less, my pain is pretty much gone.
When I have discomfort, I know what to do to relieve it. Keep your body limber and stretch your muscles regularly with yoga.
Not only will you feel younger longer, but it will also happen with less or no pain.
Yoga exercises are designed to gently stretch your muscles, increase the range of flexibility in your joints and bring suppleness to your spine.
Yoga poses, such as; the cobra, the locust and the seated forward bend are perfect moves to soothe away your back pain.
7. Increases Energy
Following the yoga philosophy will bring you one of the greatest benefits of all…more energy.
Meditation, clean eating and simple body weight poses are the key ingredients to feeling less tired.
Not only does yoga stimulate your body, but it also stimulates your mind as well.
8. Improves Flexibility and Balance
As the body ages, it becomes less flexible and more out of balance, but there are things you can do to keep your flexibility and balance from slipping away from you…no matter your age.
Yoga is all about gently stretching your muscles to make them reach a little bit farther and be a little less tight.
Holding the poses for a period of time will help keep you more balanced over time. Want to be more flexible and balanced?
Take 20 minutes and practice the standing forward fold, the downward dog, the crescent pose, the pyramid pose, and the child’s pose, the butterfly and finish with the spine twist.
You will not believe how good you will feel 15 minutes later!
9. Improves Breathing
Being aware of your breathing is one of the main components of yoga.
There are poses (called asanas) and breathing (called pranayama). Yoga is well known for its breathing exercises and meditation practices that promote a sense of serenity and calm within the body and mind.
Additionally, tai chi and yoga have been shown to improve breathing in individuals with lung disease.
Yoga can also help relieve the anxiety and depression that can be associated with having these medical conditions.
These exercises can also improve lung capacity as well.
10. Increases Muscle Strength
Yoga is one of the best all-around activities for both mental and physical strength.
If you are looking to bulk up, you may want to pass on yoga and move on to weights.
But for someone trying to stay toned and keep muscle tone, yoga is perfect.
You may be wondering where the resistance comes from…it is from your body.
The plank, side plank, dolphin push-ups, handstand, the crow and the side crow are great poses for building strength in your arms, legs and core.
Final Thoughts – Yoga Workout
And there you have it…10 ways you can start improving your physical, mental and spiritual help starting now.
The hardest part is getting started. Even if you pick 2 poses that will stretch your muscles, feeling the difference will make you want to pick 2 more.
The next thing you know, you will be creating your own yoga sequences and completing yoga challenges!