Believe it or not, Yoga has been practiced for more than 5,000 years, and currently, 11 million Americans enjoy its health benefits. A technique for prevention, cure, healing and focus, Yoga involve “asanas” which enables you to develop flexibility, strength and balance and therefore a healthy body and mind.
Here are some benefits of Yoga and the areas that you can benefit from it.
Yoga and Flexibility: Why the first 2 days are the most difficult
Yoga do not preach or inculcate in you a gymnastic spirit. The popular notion about Yoga is that one needs to stretch and swing their body a lot which makes a lot of us worry about whether we are too old or unfit or “rigid” for it. Truth is, no age is too old to improve ones flexibility.
Yoga works through asanas which in turn work by stretching your muscles. When your muscles work more than usual, it produces lactic acid in them which accounts for the stiffness and fatigue- a reason why most of us do not carry on with Yoga. What one should understand is this is also the phase when lubrication in the joints are increased- the outcome is a sense of ease and fluidity throughout the body!
Yoga also stretches the soft tissues of your body that surrounds your muscle- participants had up to 35% improvement in flexibility after only eight weeks of yoga. Live through the first 2 days and the benefits would be quick!
Yoga and Strength: Yes it makes you stronger
If you are looking at strengthening your body, ashtanga and power yoga are your best bet as they are more vigorous than others and involves a lot of muscle movements. If you are looking at something more toned down with regards to the intensity of exercises, Iyengar is a good style to opt for. A Yoga style that focuses on less movement and more precise alignment in poses, Iyengar or Hatha Yoga provide strength and endurance benefits and when practiced correctly, build core strength in the deep abdominal muscles.
Yoga means concentration, relaxation and calm
We all suffer from “mind chatter” that can terribly affect our concentration. Certain styles of Yoga use specific meditation techniques that quiet the constant “mind chatter”. A condition arising out of dissatisfaction and stress, Yoga for concentration helps you calm your mind by reducing stress. Acting on biochemical responses, Yoga lowers the levels of hormone neurotransmitters — dopamine, norepinephrine, and epinephrine, thereby creating a feeling of calm. Some research also points to a boost in the hormone oxytocin- the so-called “trust” and “bonding” hormone that’s associated with feeling relaxed and connected to others.
Yoga and the Heart
Perhaps one of the most talked about areas of the health benefits of yoga is its effect on heart and heart disease. A technique long been known to lower blood pressure; you’ll be surprised to know that Yoga was a key component to the heart disease program designed by Dean Ornish, MD. The first of its kind to partly reverse heart disease through lifestyle and diet rather than surgery; on a biochemical level, several studies suggests a possible anti-oxidant effect of yoga that decreases cholesteroland triglyceride levels.
Other than the aforementioned, Yoga is also said to have a positive effect on learning and memory, slow the aging process, increase a person’s sense of self-acceptance, and improve energy levels. While gymming will involve a lifetime of gymming equipments, one can practice Yoga anywhere- but make sure you are well trained by your trainer to do so or the effects could be pretty adverse.