Top 5 Reasons to Do Yoga
Elisha Jachetti, Certified Personal Trainer
We all have heard about how yoga is a healthy and great way to exercise, but do we know why exactly? These are just a few reasons that yoga is an amazing outlet for the body, mind, and spirit.
1. It will help build strength. Most yoga classes are structured with a series of postures, or asanas. Some of these postures require practitioners to stand, sit, or lie down, to be upright or in an inversion, twist, or bend. The muscles must be engaged to facilitate the poses. While there are many branches of yoga, all in varying levels of difficulty, every one challenges the body in an unique way. If yoga is done regularly, muscle strength will start to build, resulting in long, lean muscle development.
2. It will improve flexibility. Have you seen advanced yogis contort themselves into seemingly crazy poses? That takes flexibility, not only in the muscles, but in the joints as well. Yoga poses work by causing certain muscles to contract at the same time that other muscles are lengthening. After, another pose is done that targets the same muscles in reverse. The previous muscles that were contracting are now lengthening and vice-versa. A major goal in yoga is to be balanced.
3. It will relieve aches and pains. Movement in general helps to alleviate certain aches and pains. However, yoga specifically has poses that are very therapeutic. Precise posture is a major focus throughout every pose. When the body is properly aligned, it can move in the natural way it was made to function. As this is achieved in class, it also starts to translate over into life outside the studio.
4. It will help calm the mind. In yoga, it is required to be conscious of the breath. The instructor will constantly remind you when you should inhale and exhale, until you start developing these habits on your own. In fact, the ebb and flow of your breath is so important that the instructor may choose to dedicate time just to breathing alone! Focusing on the steady rhythm your lungs create requires full attention, allowing other distracting thoughts to melt away.
5. It will energize you. Certainly, movement and exercise wake up the body, preparing it for action. However, yoga goes above and beyond. It requires you to use every inch of your physical being, including the fingertips and toes. As a result, when you leave yoga, you should feel as if every single cell has been awakened. Moreover, the culmination of a yoga class ends in savasana, or corpse pose, during which you lay flat on your back, breathing and relaxing the body. It is the chance to recharge your batteries after the workout, so that when you go out into the world afterwards, you feel refreshed.
Even if you have been practicing for awhile, it is important to remind yourself why you continue to do it or perhaps, it is a wake up call to refocus on your efforts and what you wish to achieve. If you have never done yoga before and are seeking some of these qualities above, then stop waiting and get started today!
The bottom line: Do Yoga. And if you are already doing it, do more! Look at all you have to gain! Namaste.