The holiday season is upon us, and we all know that with the fun and family time comes increased pressure. To reduce the stress of the season, consider adding yoga to your exercise routine or your list of resolutions. Yoga originated in India more than 5000 years ago and has endured and spread around the world for good reasons. The myriad of mind and body benefits of regular yoga practice makes it one of the most beneficial physical activities we can do. Here are 7 reasons why you should be doing yoga.
1. Increases Flexibility
Increased flexibility is the most obvious benefit of doing yoga, and it is more important than we might think. Being more flexible improves posture, increases mobility, and protects the body from injury. The flexibility we gain from regularly doing yoga will decrease the risk of work-related soreness and allow us to do other physical activities we enjoy.
2. Improves Balance
Improved balance is another benefit of yoga we should not overlook. As we age, if we don’t consciously work on maintaining balance, we can lose it and risk severe consequences. Many yoga poses focus on improving the stabilizing muscles and even doing the modified poses reaps rewards.
3. Helps Relaxation
Yoga also helps relax the body. Through a combination of strength and flexibility work, mental focus on maintaining poses, and breathwork, yoga is a physical workout that also relaxes us. The poses release tension from the muscles and can even reduce muscle knots.
4. Helps Focus
A relaxed mind is another glorious side effect of yoga practice. Focusing on maintaining form naturally forces us to free our minds of intrusive thoughts, becoming a form of mindfulness meditation. Focusing on our breathing and posture helps us return to the present moment and set aside our stressors, if just for that moment. Practicing this mind relaxation during yoga class helps us apply the same techniques when we face stressful situations in our daily lives.
5. Reduces Physical Stress
The natural consequence of this activity is a greater mind and body connection. Practicing yoga creates an awareness of the body that helps us recognize the physical signs of stress as they emerge and gives us skills to circumvent them before they manifest as physical pain.
6. Improves Breath Control
Breath control is a pillar of yoga practice is another useful skill for reducing stress in our lives. Yoga encourages an awareness of breath and how to breathe more fully into our bodies. Stress can cause harder breathing or hyperventilation which can lead to other physical difficulties. Practicing deep breathing helps us prevent that from happening and helps us recover when we feel our breath becoming shallow, which, in turn, helps us limit the effects of stress on our minds and bodies.
7. Helps With Chronic Illness
Several studies have shown that yoga can help manage some chronic health conditions such as lower back and neck pain, depression, and symptoms of menopause. Some also suggest that yoga can help people lose weight and quit smoking. People considering beginning yoga to help with a chronic illness should consult a doctor before starting and work with a licensed yoga instructor to develop a solid foundation of skills and philosophy.
The physical and mental relief people find from yoga helps reduce anxiety and makes living life a bit easier. If you have never tried yoga, find a beginner’s class with a qualified instructor with a good reputation. Experienced instructors know how to guide your practice from where you are to help you achieve your goals. If there are no yoga studios in your area, online classes such as on YouTube can help you start. Starting this practice with a friend or family member will be a holiday gift for yourself and them. Make sure you hydrate and eat a balanced diet to fully reap the benefits of your exercise routine. Include Superberries Aronia berries in your post-exercise meals or beverages to help with recovery and promote stress reduction.