Written by Sarah Milano
One of the oldest practices in the world, yoga has been changing lives for thousands of years. Originating in ancient India, yoga has spread to other countries in recent years as a form of body conditioning. Unlike many typical exercises, yoga is a multi-faceted exercise that conditions all three parts of your being: the body, mind and soul. This makes it a great way to improve physical, mental and emotional health all at the same time.
Benefits of Practising Yoga
Although yoga may not look like much of a workout, it is actually a very challenging exercise. Yoga poses are usually held static between 20 seconds and 1 minute. Your heart may not be pumping as hard as it would if you were jogging, but your muscles are getting a great workout. The best part is that you don’t need any equipment and you can do it in the comfort of your own home or backyard!
The biggest benefits that you can receive from practicing yoga include:
Improved Cardiac Function
Like most exercises in general, yoga can have a significant impact on your heart and circulatory system. In particular, regularly practicing yoga can lead to lower blood pressure, cholesterol and heart rate.
Reduced Stress Levels
Yoga teaches how to properly inhale and exhale while holding a pose. Proper breathing can bring a sense of peace to our minds and can help alleviate any worries and stresses. Yoga also encourages clearing your mind and letting go of all your worries. In fact, by regularly practicing yoga you can effectively keep stress under control.
Practising Yoga teaches you how to breathe properly. Often we take short, shallow breaths when we should be taking deep breaths from the abdomen. Breathing properly can actually help with those who have asthma and can keep it under control.
The quietness and relaxation invoked by yoga helps to direct attention to one thing at a time. Over time, this can help improve focus and attention span in everything you do including school and work tasks.
Improved Balance and Flexibility
Yoga poses are all about lengthening your muscles which will increase your flexibility. Increased flexibility can reduce physical pain and improve range of motion in the joints. Since most poses have you support your body in different ways than average, you will also improve your balance.
Reduced Back Pain
Yoga is all about strengthening the core muscles and improving posture. As a result, your back muscles will become stronger and will be better able to support your body. Those who suffer from chronic back pain can experience a marked difference.
Better Sleep Patterns
The combination of physical exercise with the mental relaxation helps your body and mind to sleep better. This is especially true if you practice yoga a few hours before bedtime.
Yoga is a great exercise to add some variety into your family fitness routine. When the weather is nice, yoga is especially refreshing when done outside in nature. You can do it at a local park, beach or even your own backyard. In just 20 minutes, you can hold poses that cover all the major muscles group and put your mind at ease. The best part of practicing yoga as a family is that it is a healthy way to spend time together and will bring you closer as a family.