INTRO TO YOGA
YOGA IS FOR EVERYONE
There are many pre-conceived notions about what yoga is, ranging from an acrobatic endeavor only for the very strong and flexible; to some sort of new age, spiritual practice where you sit around chanting. Sure, those exist, but the vast majority of yoga classes are fun, relaxing and full of normal, practical people just like you. Here are some reasons to give it a try:
(1) Yoga is a gentle way to become more physically active.
Yoga can be the gateway to other exercise. In and by itself, yoga is a complete fitness program, however, the strength, balance and endurance you develop through yoga often lends the confidence to attempt other activities which you may not otherwise have been willing to try.
(2) Yoga helps keep you young.
According to Human Anatomy and Physiology, “Exercise that coaxes joints through their full range of motion…is the key to postponing the immobilizing effects of aging on ligaments and tendons, to keeping cartilages well nourished, and to strengthening the muscles that stabilize the joints” Additionally, yoga incorporates deep breathing which helps improve lung capacity and increases energy levels.
(3) Yoga repairs the damage we do to our bodies.
Whether you are an athlete or have a job that keeps you sitting at a desk all day, your body pays a price. Tight muscles in the back, neck and legs are by-products of how we use our bodies. Spending one hour a week at yoga, undoing that damage, will make a marked difference in how your body feels and performs.
(4) Yoga can help manage stress and other physical conditions.
High blood pressure, depression, osteoarthritis, and asthma are a few of the conditions which studies have shown yoga helps manage. Also, yoga has been proven to reduce the stress hormone, cortisol, this reduction is instrumental in stress management.
There are many styles of yoga, the key is to find the type which fits your personality and needs. The perception that yoga is only for young, trendy women in expensive stretch pants is simply wrong. While that exists, there are other types of classes, accessible to all fitness levels and are actually fun for the participants.
Hatha yoga is slower moving and takes the time to hold poses. Look for “gentle” or “all-level” hatha classes if you are beginner. Vinyasa yoga incorporates a lot of movement. Quicker paced, these classes can be fun, and challenging.
Yin is a type of yoga which incorporates long holds to target connective tissues. Yin yoga is perfect for athletes. Restorative yoga is very slow moving and uses props like bolsters and straps. Extremely gentle, restorative yoga is perfect for those with chronic pain conditions.
Give yoga a try for yourself, you will probably find there are many other benefits which are not listed here.