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Health and Fitness News

Is Yoga for You?

Many people practice yoga to improve their physical and mental health. Should you be one of them?

You’ve heard of yoga and you’ve seen people doing the strange, static poses. Maybe you’re wondering what the big deal is about this ancient Buddhist system of meditation, postures, and breathing exercises. Today, millions of people use yoga as a way to get their recommended amount of exercise, but they find along the way that it also improves their mental health and well-being.

If you’re on the fence regarding yoga, keep reading to learn eight reasons why you should consider giving it a try.

1: Yoga Increases Flexibility

You may see the postures and think there’s no way you could get in such a position. After all, you can’t even touch your toes. But don’t worry, the more yoga you perform, the more flexible you become. Over time, what used to seem impossible becomes do-able. Your muscles will loosen and aches and pains diminish.

2: Yoga Builds Strength

As you perform the various poses associated with yoga, you’ll increase your muscle strength. Strong muscles support bones and joints. Overall general strength helps protect you from injury, back pain, and conditions like arthritis and everyday activities become easier. All because of yoga!

3: Yoga Manages Stress

Looking for a healthy way to cope with the stress in your life? Give yoga a try. The peaceful meditation and deep breathing exercises help bring a sense of calm and mental clarity. You’ll feel your mind and body relax as you focus on the present rather than the stress at work or home.

4: Yoga Encourages Weight Loss

It’s not the positions that help you lose weight, but the mindset that’s encouraged. Practicing yoga doesn’t burn many calories, but it promotes a sense of self-awareness that inspires you to be a more conscious and mindful eater. Feeling in tune with your body creates a healthier relationship with food. You’ll be more likely to eat when you’re hungry, stop eating when you’re full, choose healthy foods, and avoid emotional or distracted eating.

5: Yoga Improves Heart Health

Yoga may be better known for its mental health benefits, but it’s also effective at getting you in better physical shape. Many of the poses require strength and endurance. Regularly practicing yoga helps to reduce blood pressure, lower high blood sugar levels, and increase blood flow. Improved circulation means oxygen-rich blood is carried to all areas of your brain and body, which is essential for optimal health.

6: Yoga Protects Bones and Joints

The positions of yoga require the full range of motion of your joints. Full joint movements help keep them healthy and strong. The bends and twists of yoga work to keep your spinal disks in good working order. Because many of the postures are weight bearing, meaning they require you to hold your own bodyweight, they help to strengthen your bones. Reducing stress can also help protect your bones from damage.

7: Yoga Leads to Better Posture

Do you frequently find yourself sitting or standing hunched over and wish you had better posture? One benefit of Yoga is improved posture. Improper posture can lead to fatigue, back or neck pain, and degenerative spinal issues. Good posture helps keep your head and body aligned, while helping you feel and appear more confident.

8: Yoga Boosts Immune System

The meditation, mindfulness, and relaxation that come with yoga are known to reduce stress hormone levels. Less cortisol circulating in the body means a stronger immune system. Chronically high levels of cortisol can lead to a host of health conditions including memory loss, depression, osteoporosis, insulin resistance, high blood pressure, and weight gain.

So when you’re ready for a joint-friendly, gentle exercise that can help improve your physical, emotional, and mental health, get in a pose and breathe!