Whether it’s running, lifting weights or something in-between, there’s no denying the overwhelming burden of proof that moving is good for you. Trying to decide what to do, however, can be hard.
If you’ve been wondering if starting yoga might be a good way to incorporate some movement in your life, we’ve got seven awesome reasons for you to unroll your mat and get on it today!
1. Yoga Enhances Your Flexibility
This is the most obvious benefit most people are aware of. A regular yoga practice will stretch and lengthen muscles and tendons, allowing greater flexibility.
Interestingly enough, however, this isn’t the main aim of yoga. While twisting yourself into pretzel shapes is what most people envision when you mention yoga, the poses are simply the vehicle that drives the true purpose.
But that doesn’t take away from the fact that regular yoga practice will help you get deeper into those forward bends. And keeping yourself limber and bendy as you age is incredibly important.
2. You’ll be Zenned Out in no Time
Speaking of the true purpose of yoga, and what it’s really about, let’s talk about the benefits for your mind.
Yoga’s calming effect on the mind is well documented in study after study. Yoga has been shown in different studies to decrease anxiety and depression, allow better sleep and improve your day to day mental outlook.
Even five minutes of meditation can improve your outlook. By allowing your mind time to process the events that happen in your life, you’re better able to cope with life’s stresses.
Yoga works on our mental processes by allowing the mind to easily slip into a meditative state. Next time you’re feeling stressed, hit your mat and watch how quickly your worries slip away.
3. It Can Take Away The Aches and Pains
Improving flexibility is part of this, but there’s so much more.
By gently stretching and aligning your body, you remove the stiffness and soreness that comes from sitting too long at a desk and running around stressed and hunched over all day.
Further, it can offer relief from chronic pain issues that stem from stiffness and tightness in the muscles. This can be a result of an injury or simply the activities of daily life.
Many of us sit at desks all day long and spend the rest of our time running around, holding stress in our muscles as we scurry around getting everything done.
Yoga will stretch that stiffness right out, removing tension and the resulting aches and pains.
4. Yoga Will Make You Strong
If you’ve ever tried to hold a solid plank for longer than a minute, you know exactly how much strength is required to do yoga. Aside from increased flexibility, you’ll also gain some new muscles!
Yoga mainly works on the intrinsic muscles in your body, the ones that need to work to stabilize and balance you. But depending on the style of yoga you do, you might get more of a workout than you realize!
Flow styles of yoga that keep you moving from one pose to the next can develop some serious muscle strength, needed to hold poses and move from one to the next. Yoga that requires long holds of poses will work the intrinsic muscles, as well as the large muscle groups required in each pose.
5. Your Mind Won’t be The Only Thing With Better Balance
Because you’ll be working all those intrinsic core muscles, you’ll start to find you have better balance all around.
Whether it’s standing or sitting, as you develop your core muscles, you’ll find you have an easier time holding those poses that once made you feel like a weeble wobble. And the best news? It transfers.
All that increased balance will show in your day to day life. And when you’re perched on a step stool at work reaching for a box or taking the kids ice skating, you’ll appreciate that extra little bit of stability.
6. You’ll Learn About And Connect to Your Body
Part of that increased balance is because yoga connects you to your body.
Most of us walk around fairly out of touch with our bodies. We feel when they’re hungry or tired, but when was the last time you paid attention to exactly how your muscles feel when they’re stretched? How about the last time you focused your attention on pulling your core in or how the ground felt beneath your foot as you balanced on one leg?
One of the biggest benefits of yoga is this increased mind-muscle connection. Take some time on your mat, and you’ll realize you’re paying attention to your body in ways you haven’t for a long time.
7. It’s an Amazing Workout
Yoga may not be the same as climbing a mountain or pumping serious weights, but it’s an amazing workout in its own right.
Besides adding to flexibility and balance that will help you in other physical training modalities like those, if you’re doing it right you can still get quite the workout in on your mat.
Look for flow styles of yoga that keep you moving for increased cardio benefit. The longer hold pose styles will help build muscle strength. All styles will get you moving, and any movement is good!
Starting Yoga – The Perfect Routine For You
The perfect routine for starting yoga is the one you’ll actually do. Whether you’re starting with a few poses a day, or finding mixed styles of videos to follow along to, finding something you like and look forward to is key.
Starting slow to allow your body to adjust and adding poses and difficulty over time will help you build a routine you can stick to. Keeping a yoga journal with the poses and thoughts that come to you on the mat can also be beneficial.
Whatever style you choose, adding yoga to your day will improve your mood and help with stiffness and pain. You’ll also increase your flexibility, balance, and strength in the process!
For more helpful articles about yoga and other lifestyle topics you might be interested in, check out the rest of our blog!