If you are an avid athlete who runs, swims, or lifts several times a week or if you are getting into the workout scene for the first time in a long time, yoga provides numerous benefits for you. Some of you may be “cardio junkies” or “HIIT enthusiasts.” In no way does that mean that yoga is not for you. Alternatively, yoga may be just the thing you need to help you achieve your next goal, calm your mind and body down after a hard workout, or help prevent injury. Yoga also welcomes beginners as it helps you work on your breathing and creates a foundation for form and technique.
The practice provides many health benefits. Here are 5.
Why Practice Yoga
1. Improves Your Flexibility
The more you practice yoga, the more your body responds to the stretches and poses. It will begin to lengthen out and you will notice how much easier it is to touch your toes or stretch into an upward facing dog. While your body is tight, it might produce pain or small aches. The tightness can change your body’s alignment and lead to injury if you do not learn to stretch your body back out. Flexibility realigns your spine and can reduce overall bodily pain.
2. Builds Muscle Strength
Lifting weights at the gym is not the only way you can gain and tone muscle. Body weight can be sufficient if you practice consistently and take care to work on correct form. Yoga introduces a new way to think about muscle strength. As you stretch and hold your poses, you are gaining muscle as well as flexibility. This helps create the long, lean, and tone look.
3. Perfects Your Posture
Neglecting your posture can create many different pain points. Slumping can not only cause pain in your neck and down your back, but can also lead to muscle or joint problems down the road. Take care of your spine, and in effect, the rest of your body by implementing yoga into your weekly routine. The flows and stretches reorient your body to stand up straight and train your muscles to maintain perfect posture throughout the day.
4. Increases Your Blood Flow
Yoga also improves your circulation and blood flow. As you bend and twist, don’t forget to breathe. You will allow more oxygen into your cells and wring out venous blood from your organs which allows more room for newly supplied oxygen to enter in. Yoga also encourages inversions, which can take the form of a headstand or plow pose, where you lie on your back and lift your legs up to the ceiling and over your head if you can. Inversions jump start your blood flow by causing it to flow in the opposite direction. Try this if you notice any puffiness around your ankles. Your body will begin to pump the pooled blood in your ankles back up to your lungs, heart, and brain.
5. Ups Your Heart Rate
You may be surprised to hear that this aerobic exercise improves your heart health dramatically while also lowering your risk of heart attack and depression. A lot of yoga classes call for sun salutations and chaturanga flows. These exercises prompt you to move from a lying to standing position every few minutes. The more you move your body up and down in this way, the more you improve your cardiovascular health and get your heart pumping. The practice also lowers your overall heart rate after a workout and increases your overall endurance. If you love to exercise, you may want to add in yoga a couple times a week and see how it improves your heart rate and endurance in other workouts. If working out is new, yoga is a perfect foundation for increasing your heart rate to prepare for other exercises.