We love yoga. This much is obvious, seeing as how we run a yoga website! Most of us have been practicing yoga for years, and have seen numerous benefits physically, mentally, and spiritually. If you haven’t taken a yoga class before or don’t know much about it, you may be unaware of how it can improve your life. We have compiled a list of some of the surprising benefits to practicing yoga. Once you know these benefits, I’m sure you’ll want to grab a yoga mat and start right away!
#1 More Flexibility
Have you ever known anyone that can put their feet behind their head? Do the splits very well? Most likely, that person practices yoga. There is a whole lot of stretching going on in a yoga class. Certain movements target the glutes, hip flexors, hamstrings, groin muscle, and much more. Even after one or two classes, you will notice that your flexibility will start to improve. Stick with it long term and you will see beautiful results. And, with more flexibility, you are less likely to have a serious injury.
#2 Better Posture
Part of yoga is about finding your center and listening to your body. You are forced to concentrate on sitting or standing tall during certain movements, creating a long and lean body. You’ll notice that by keeping your shoulders back and focusing on not slouching, your posture will improve. Ballet dancers are known for having great posture, and the concepts learned in yoga about standing straight and keeping your chest up also apply in dancing techniques. Plus, having good posture also makes you appear thinner!
#3 Intune with your Body
One aspect of yoga that takes some getting used to is being conscious of your breathing during the exercises. If you take a yoga class, you might hear the instructor say something along the lines of “Concentrate on your breathing,” or “Take a deep breath in, and out.” These reminders help us to be aware of how our body responds to the movements and create a natural rhythm between what we do and how we breathe. Breathing in sync with the movements also prevents any lightheadedness or dizziness that can occur.
#4 Improved Balance
Do you have a difficult time walking in a straight line? Is it hard standing on your toes without falling over? Taking yoga can help with this. Specific yoga exercises force you to focus on targeting your core and glute area for balance exercises. I know for some of us, working on our balance can be a struggle, especially if you are prone to experiencing motion sickness, vertigo, or other inner ear issues. Take these exercises slowly and you will improve over time. You might even notice your issues being less of a problem.
#5 Ability to Relax
This one is probably my favorite. Along with breathing, relaxation exercises help you to be more intune with your body. In conjunction with proper breathing techniques, you are able to fall into “relaxation mode” and clear your mind. It’s a form of meditation meant to force you think about, well, nothing. Since we are all stressed out most of the time, relaxation exercises give you a chance to let some of that stress go and appreciate the calmness and silence.
There are numerous other benefits to practicing yoga, but this list is just the basics. Really, there are no scary aspects to doing yoga. Just go at your own pace and listen to your body and inner soul. Then, you’ll really reap the most rewards.