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The Benefits Of Yoga

Downward Dog

Estimated reading time: 5 minutes

Around the world, many people practice yoga as part of their daily and weekly routines. It is not coincidental that so many people choose yoga as a form of exercise and for their overall well-being. 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. 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 fingertips, 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. Over time, this strength can help to protect you from arthritis, pain and other joint-related injuries. However, it is important to note that 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 essential to establish your balance and stability when moving too. This is where yoga comes in. Choose poses you can hold to improve your balance, such as tree, mountain, or chair poses. 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.

Corrects posture

Bad posture can lead to neck and back pain and 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 this can cause you to hunch over, tighten muscles and eventually lead to misalignment. Regular yoga can help 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 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 patience and discipline. So whatever your level, have a look; there will surely be a yoga style to suit you.

Reduces stress levels

Practising yoga can lead to a reduction in stress levels by releasing tension from the body. The exercises will release the tightness of the muscles and joints, and the breathing exercises that accompany yoga will also help regulate your breath, release tension, and strengthen your chest muscles. Furthermore, many yoga practices are often accompanied by meditation or sound cleansing, which 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, deep stretches and long breaths can help to improve your circulation; this, in turn, will also strengthen your immune system and encourage cell regeneration.

man doing yoga outside a caravan

Yoga encourages a better night’s sleep

Incorporating yoga into your bedtime routine can help to encourage a better night’s sleep. Not only will you relieve muscle tension built up through the day, but incorporating calming postures and deeper breathing can help ease any worry you have been carrying. As stated above, it will increase your circulation, helping balance your energy levels and lower your blood pressure, contributing to a better night’s 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. You can discuss your journey with these people, 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 advantage of yoga over many other forms of exercise is location. As long as you have a yoga mat or towel and enough space to place this on the ground, yoga can be practised anywhere. From a yoga studio to your own backyard, 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 will surely be one that calls to you. If you want to try sun salutation, click here to read our blog or for five daily yoga poses for well-being, click here. Finally, click here, for a comprehensive guide to downward dog and don’t forget to tag us in your photos at @surrender_to_happiness. We love to see how all our readers are getting on.

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