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Around the world there are many people that practice yoga as part of their daily and weekly routines. It is not coincidental that so many people choose yoga as a form exercise and for their overall wellbeing. So what are the benefits of yoga and a regular yoga routine?
Improves flexibility and strength
If you have not practised yoga before, or are returning to the practice after a break, you may notice a lack of suppleness in certain areas of your body. A regular yoga practice can help to bring suppleness and an increase in flexibility to your body. For example, when you first try yoga, you may notice that you can barely touch your toes with your finger tips, but over time and with continued practice, you should eventually touch your toes with ease.
Yoga has many weight-bearing poses, such as downward dog, plank and warrior. By incorporating poses like these into your regular routine, you can strengthen your muscles and your bones. Overtime, this strength can help to protect you from arthritis, pain and other joint related injuries. It is important to note however, if you already have an underlying health condition you should speak to a medical expert before embarking on any form of exercise.
Yoga can help you gain greater balance and stability
Building greater balance and stability can help prevent falls and injury. Since falls don’t usually happen when you are standing still it is important to not only establish your balance, but stability when moving too. This is where yoga comes in. Choose poses that you can hold to improve your balance, such as tree pose, mountain pose or chair pose. Then follow these with a gentle vinyasa (sequence of poses) to encourage stable movement from one pose to the next. Over time, you will notice you wobble or stumble less as you build up your core strength, leading to both greater balance and stability.
Bad posture can not only lead to neck and back pain, but cause numerous other problems over time. Unfortunately, modern society breeds bad posture, with people sitting more than ever and spending many hours looking down at phones and computers. All of this can cause you to hunch over, tightening muscles and eventually lead to misalignment. A regular yoga practice can help to release muscle tension aiding better alignment and correcting your posture.
Yoga is suitable for everyone of all levels
With so many different types of yoga from yin through to ashtanga, there is a yoga for you. Whether you are young or old, you should be able to find a type of yoga that will fit with your needs, wants and present fitness levels. If movement is difficult or limited you could try chair yoga, or if you are a yoga-pro looking for a challenge, ashtanga yoga will require you to have patience and discipline. So whatever your level have a look, there is sure to be a yoga style to suit you.
Reduces stress levels
Practicing yoga can lead to a reduction in stress levels, by releasing tension from the body. Not only will the exercises release tightness of the muscles and joints, the breathing exercises that accompany yoga will help to regulate your breath, release tension, and strengthen your chest muscles. Furthermore, many yoga practices are often accompanied by meditation or sound cleansing, both of these have been proven to help alleviate stress over time.
It can help to boost your immune system
Stress can have a detrimental, effect on the immune system, often leading to the onset of illness. A regular yoga routine can help to keep your immune system working to the best of its ability, by reducing stress. When yoga is performed alongside mindful breathing, the deep stretches and long breaths can help to improve your circulation, this in turn, will also strengthen your immune system and encourage cell regeneration.
Yoga encourages a better nights sleep
Incorporating yoga into your bedtime routine can help to encourage a better nights sleep. Not only will you relieve muscle tension that has built up through the day, but incorporating calming postures and deeper breathing can help ease any worry you have been carrying. Plus, as stated above it will increase your circulation, helping to balance out your energy levels and lower your blood pressure, all of which will contribute to a better nights sleep.
Meet like minded people
Although yoga tends to be a deeply personal practice, it can be sociable too. Meeting other practitioners and yogis can be a wonderful experience and bring added enjoyment to your life. These are people who you can discuss your journey with, should you wish. If you participate in a class, you may even find yourself sharing parts of your journey with others.
Yoga can be done anywhere
One of the huge advantages yoga has over many other forms of exercise is location. As long as you have a yoga mat or towel and enough space to place this down on the ground, yoga can be practiced anywhere. From a yoga studio, to your own back yard, as long as you are comfortable you can pop your mat down and get on with your practice.
As you can see, yoga has many benefits for your mind, body and soul. So why not give it a go? If you have never tried yoga before start with some simple stretches. With so many books and YouTube videos there is sure to be one that calls to you. If you would like to try a sun salutation click here to read our blog. Finally, don’t forget to tag us in all of photos at @surrender_to_happiness. We love to see how all our readers are getting on.