It may be confusing to understand how something that composes only of stretching and holding poses is considered to be a great fitness technique. Yoga has grown in popularity over the years, and for good reason.
In fact, here’s six of them.
Although any exercise is considered to be great for our mental health, yoga can be specifically used to help with mindfulness. Mindfulness is the art of becoming aware of the world around you while focusing on and accepting your thoughts and any physical and emotional feelings you are having at present as a means of reducing stress and anxiety.
As you listen to the yoga instructor’s voice and focus on your breathing, you may be able to release the tense feelings from your muscles and focus your attention away from your stresses and worries. A 2008 study suggested that the ongoing practise of yoga allowed the participants to deal with their emotional struggles through self-awareness and being present in the moment (Schure, Christopher and Christopher, 2008).
The flexibility that comes with each yoga class doesn’t just benefit you in the bedroom. You may have more energy and be able to move your body in ways you have never before. It allows you to work the muscles that you otherwise wouldn’t, making them more lean as they grow in strength.
That’s not the only way yoga can promote flexibility. With the ability to take a class or do it from home, you are able to fit it into your busy schedule with ease.
The cost effectiveness of yoga compared to other means of exercise may surprise you. A formal class may not sound like your cup of tea or fit into your budget. This issue is easily solved. Just get yourself a yoga mat, clear some space on your living room floor and load up a YouTube tutorial or two, and you have yourself your own personal class in the comfort of your own home!
Great for all fitness levels
Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced yogi, there’s a routine out there for you. With different levels of difficulty, lengths of classes and types of routines, there is something different each time you put down your mat. There are also different variations of yoga, such as aerial yoga, if you are looking for something that’s more outside-the-box.
If you live and breathe yoga and you have some time on your hands, you could even run your own classes as a side hustle. With the correct certifications and training, you can bring another option to this thriving market.
Push your limits
We’re not going to lie, yoga isn’t a walk in the park. You will work hard. You will need a lot of practise. You will have to push your limits. This is a good skill to take into the real world. Taking risks is a healthy way of making crucial changes your professional and personal lives.
The results can be as rewarding as being able to pull off that headstand you held for 30 seconds in yoga class this morning.
Relieves aches and pains
Just like a good chiropractor, yoga may be able to help soothe back pain and migraines. According to the Yoga Journal, the ability to stretch your body slowly into various poses allows your muscles to relax, releasing the pain and improving your posture.
A study from 2007 that measured the impact of yoga on the treatment of migraines over three months claimed to have found a substantial decrease in “frequency of pain, hospital anxiety depression score, sensitivity and total pain rating index”, including the pain’s intensity (John, Sharma, Sharma and Kankane, 2007).
There have also been various studies testing the effectiveness of yoga on lower back pain, including on from 2009 which claimed that there was a decrease in pain over a number of weeks of practising yoga (Wiiliams et all, 2009).
Author - Jessica Testa
John, P. J., Sharma, N., Sharma, C. M., & Kankane, A. (2007). Effectiveness of yoga therapy in the treatment of migraine without aura: a randomized controlled trial. Headache: The Journal of Head and Face Pain, 47(5), 654-661.
Schure, M. B., Christopher, J., & Christopher, S. (2008). Mind-body medicine and the art of self-care: Teaching mindfulness to counseling students through yoga, meditation, and qigong. Journal of Counseling and Development: JCD, 86(1), 47.
Williams, K., Abildso, C., Steinberg, L., Doyle, E., Epstein, B., Smith, D., ... & Cooper, L. (2009). Evaluation of the effectiveness and efficacy of Iyengar yoga therapy on chronic low back pain. Spine, 34(19), 2066.