Saturday, October 4, 2008

Yoga - What Are the Benefits?

Yoga is extremely popular for a reason. It is a great form of exercise that is highly accessible. The best part is that it is good for you as well. There are four key areas of benefit from yoga and they are:

  • Stability and balance
  • Flexibility
  • Strength
  • Wellbeing and Stress Management

Stability and Balance

Most yoga classes will involve some form of balance and stability work. Whether it is holding a simple pose through to more advanced moves, yoga will help to develop these skills. Whilst most of us take stability and balance for granted, both skills will deteriorate as you get older. Take a minute to see how you are faring. Stand on one foot and see how long you can hold it for. You will probably notice that it is a lot harder than when you were younger to maintain your balance. Whilst most of us take both for granted, stability and balance are really important for healthy living. As we age we need these skills to help prevent falls or minor injuries. It is for this and many other reasons that balancing exercises, such as those included in yoga, are great for both your short and long term health to help you have a longer, more active life.

Flexibility

Touch your toes! Have you ever noticed that a young child can turn themselves upside down and inside out at the blink of an eye, whilst some of us are struggling with simply touching our toes? Flexibility is an important part of your physical health and is improved through the stretching aspect of yoga. Stretching can have similar benefits to massage as it helps to release built up toxins that are sitting in your muscles and improves recovery. Flexibility also helps with maintaining joint mobility over time so you can bend and stretch for years to come. It is great for those of us with aching backs, shoulders and necks that are generally the result of too much sitting and not enough moving!

Strength

Yoga will help you to develop your strength as you carry your body's weight through various poses and routines. The benefit of strength training is not to become like the incredible hulk, but rather to help maintain bone density and muscle strength. These are both important to help prevent the long term risk of injury and bone deterioration. There are lots of areas of strength that are important throughout your body and a good yoga session will generally help improve many of them. This is a great alternative for those of us that lack the interest for pumping iron at the gym.

Wellbeing and Stress Management

And finally, any discussion about the benefits of yoga would be incomplete without mentioning the wellbeing and stress management benefits. This is probably a whole other article in and of itself. Yoga helps to centre the mind, and create a more relaxed and meditative state. It is a way of releasing tension from throughout your body and letting go of your negative energy. To really enjoy yoga you have to learn to quiet your mind, so you can focus on your breath rather than the actual work that your body is doing at the time. This is a really valuable skill that can be applied in lots of different situations that may otherwise be stressful or create anxiety.

In summary, yoga has benefits for both your mind and body. It will help you with your wellbeing and over time can provide a strong base for a positive and healthy lifestyle.


Source: Kareene Koh

http://www.find4me.com.au.

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