While it may just look like a series of relaxing stretches, yoga is actually a full-body workout that provides everything from increased strength and flexibility to decreased stress, anxiety and insomnia. (Which means you will be sweating … so don’t forget to apply Secret Outlast Deodorant to stay fresh throughout your practice!)
Whether you’re beginning with a DVD in the privacy of your own home or taking a class in a studio, practicing yoga has numerous advantages for both mind and body. As with any new exercise regimen, check with your doctor first to make sure yoga is right for you. In the meantime, read on to find out how yoga works to improve your health and happiness.
1. Increased Strength
Yoga is a form of strength training that uses the weight of your own body. Slow burn poses will have your muscles shaking – in a good way! – building core strength even when it seems the poses focus on other areas of the body.
When practicing plank and side plank poses, for instance, you’ll quickly notice toned arms, shoulders and abs, while chair poses will tone gluteal muscles. Improved strength not only helps prevent injury and makes everyday tasks easier, it also boosts your metabolism.
2. Improved Flexibility
Don’t underestimate the importance of stretching. Not only do the deep stretches of yoga feel great, you will find yourself standing taller after your practice. Yoga’s focus on lengthening and stretching will make you look and feel long and lean.
Plus, hip openers and poses for the chest and spine improve posture, which is especially helpful after a long day slouching in your desk chair.
3. Immune System and Detoxification
Did you know that practicing yoga could boost your immune system? Stress increases the likelihood of catching a cold or the flu, and yoga keeps that stress to a minimum.
The circulatory, digestive and lymph systems work to eliminate toxins from the body, and yoga is one of the best exercises to stimulate those detoxifying systems. Poses like spinal twists gently massage internal organs to aid digestion, and circulation is improved through poses like downward dog, where the head is positioned lower than the heart.
4. Mental Benefits
Our lives are busy and stress can take a toll on us mentally and physically. Yoga is a way to relieve that stress and anxiety naturally. Give yourself the gift of one hour to focus only on your own well-being. There is an unmistakable calm and peaceful feeling that comes from practicing yoga. You may even find that you’ll get a better night’s sleep after your yoga practice has washed away the stress of the day.
In addition, as you breathe your way through challenging yoga poses, you are improving your mind-over-matter strength, helping you be better equipped to deal with challenging, anxiety-provoking situations.
Laundry Tip: Post-practice, throw your yoga wear straight into the wash with Tide PODS Plus Febreze for the cleaning power of Tide with your favourite Febreze scent!
How could you see yoga improving your stress, anxiety or physical state? Take a deep breath and let us know in the comments!