Welcome to the new Yoga Blog. Discussing the benefits of yoga seems like as good a place as any to start. There are numerous benefits to yoga and I wasn’t’ aware of most of them when I started. Reasons for choosing yoga vary, but for me, I started because I hate all other forms of exercise. Seriously.
Yoga has been around for a long time. Depending on the source, it is between 4,000 and 26,000 years old. Either way, it’s a long time, and there are many good reasons the practice has survived this long. Here are some of the benefits, in no particular order.
What makes yoga unique from other forms of exercise is the fact that there are both physical and psychological benefits to the practice. The physical benefits include improvements in posture, strength, flexibility, endurance, energy and coordination. In addition, the cardiovascular, respiratory, and gastrointestinal systems of the body function more efficiently.
Other physical benefits of yoga include stabilization of weight, which makes it a good choice for toning. Many people notice an improvement in sleep patterns and more efficient breathing after beginning a yoga practice. Yoga supports and enhances the immune system as well.
A big benefit of yoga is the non competitive nature of the practice. There is a fairly low risk of injury and people can often practice yoga, even when they have trouble with other forms of exercise. Each person moves at her own pace, depending on fitness level and flexibility, with no pressure to keep up or be better/faster/stronger than anyone else.
As beneficial as yoga is to the physical body, for some the psychological benefits are more important. Regular yoga practice works to stabilize mood, encourages self acceptance, and creates a feeling of well being. In addition, improvements in concentration, memory and attention have been noted.
In the United States, yoga is generally practiced as a form of exercise. But in other parts of the world, it is also a path to spiritual enlightenment. For practitioners who view yoga in this light, the benefits go far beyond the physical or psychological.