Whether you’re a gym regular or just getting started on your fitness journey, yoga has proven benefits that can’t be ignored. Maybe you’ve tried it here and there or perhaps you’ve always had the impression that yoga is “just not for you,” but now is the time to reconsider your perception of yoga and learn more about what it can do for your overall health and wellness.
What is Yoga?
Having been practiced for thousands of years, yoga has many different interpretations and styles. Overall, though, it can be described as a “physical, mental, and spiritual practice” that “aims to create union between body, mind, and spirit, as well as between the individual self and universal consciousness.” If that’s too much to try and wrap your head around, modern yoga is more focused on building muscle, improving flexibility and restoring the body through a series of postures.
If you’ve tried yoga at all, you’re probably familiar with its various poses, or postures, such as Downward-Facing Dog, Tree Pose, Child’s Pose, and Warrior I or II, which are some of the most common. You may have even advanced to the level of knowing some of the Sanskrit names for those yoga poses, like Savasana or Tadasana.
Yoga devotees and amateurs alike have a multitude of reasons for practicing it, from the physical results they see in their bodies to the mental benefits like easing stress or simply feeling better. Read on to explore some of the benefits of yoga and why you should consider adding it to your regular workout routine.
Benefits of Yoga
Yoga can be wonderful for your overall health and well-being. Whether you practice it occasionally or regularly several days per week, you can enjoy multiple benefits. And incorporating yoga into your long-term fitness goals will help you realize even more benefits.
Improves flexibility and strength
Moving your body into the various poses of a typical yoga session can require significant strength and flexibility. When you’re first getting started, though, there are a multitude of poses that are great for beginners. After you get acquainted with the basics, the great thing about yoga is that you can always challenge yourself further by adapting the poses. Regular practice stretches your muscles, and in turn, increases your flexibility.
Yoga uses your body weight, which helps to increase muscle tone. And with it being a whole-body workout, you’re not isolating muscle groups as you would in a typical strength training workout, so you’re getting total-body benefits. Yoga also draws oxygen into the muscles, which helps increase muscle performance.
May reduce pain
Through its unique combination of strength, flexibility, and breathing, yoga can be effective at pain reduction and reduced pain perception. A study showed that people who practiced yoga regularly for at least six weeks reported reduced pain and improved mobility, even when the study group practiced different types of yoga. This means that no matter which variety of yoga you practice, you can experience its many benefits.
Can help prevent health problems
Yoga can also help prevent certain health problems and diseases.
Pranayama, known as yogic breathing or breath regulation, is a part of the overall practice of yoga, which has shown to influence the body’s physiological systems. It can help reduce heart rate, blood pressure, arterial pressure, and circulatory strain, improving vascular well-being and protecting against heart disease. Pranayama can also help increase the vital capacity of the lungs to ward off asthma and other lung diseases.
Decreases stress and anxiety
In addition to the physical postures and a focus on breathing, yoga incorporates meditation to help achieve peacefulness of body and mind. Many studies have shown that practicing yoga can help reduce stress and anxiety by improving your mood and sense of well-being.
Stress has been proven to negatively affect the immune system, so reducing stress can also help boost your immunity.
If you have trouble getting to sleep or if you toss and turn throughout the night, yoga can help with that, too. Practicing yoga releases muscle tension and promotes relaxation, loosening up your body and preparing it for sleep. A less vigorous type of yoga is best right before bedtime, as more strenuous versions may actually energize your body. Experiment with your yoga practice times to figure out the ideal time to get the best quality sleep.
Anyone can do it
It can be intimidating to try a new fitness class or type of exercise, even yoga. Some people may think they’re not flexible enough or in good enough shape to try yoga, but those reasons are exactly why it can be great for you. Yoga poses can be adapted for beginner-level flexibility and strength, allowing for gradual modifications as your fitness level improves.
Yoga at EōS Fitness
When you’re ready to give yoga a try or build it into your regular workout routine, you can find a variety of mind, body, and stretch group fitness classes at EōS. Some of these are detailed below, but check your local gym for availability and class schedules.
Gentle Yoga is a traditional yoga class that’s paced slower and holds the postures longer, with more explanation and time to perfect the quality of your technique before moving into the more advanced postures and classes.
Power Yoga is more intense and faster paced than a traditional yoga class, allowing you to get sweaty, feel strong, and increase your athleticism.
In Vinyasa “Flow” Yoga, there is a dynamic flow from posture to posture which is aligned and linked to the breath. Moving with each inhale and exhale helps release negativity and stress while exhilarating the body.
If you like strength training but also want to incorporate yoga, the Yoga Sculpt combination class mixes in hand weight exercises along with traditional yoga poses.
There are many other yoga classes available at EōS, whether you’re a seasoned gym-goer or just getting started with your fitness goals. Whichever the case, you can benefit from adding yoga into your regular routine!