Yoga, Not Just Flexibility

Source : Article Snatch

By : Franklin Vick.

Everyday we encounter advertisements about fitness products to help us lose weight and tone our abs and body, but hearing about yoga, an exercise with all the benefits and much more- is rare.

Many think this is just a method to maintain flexibility, something bodybuilding wouldn’t do- the benefits of yoga are wide and go beyond just physical and physiological.

People think that the single biggest advantage of yoga is flexibility. If you’ve ever seen a yoga class or checked out a yoga clothing site, you will be amazed by all the twisting and folding that a yoga practitioner can do. Practicing yoga brings a greater range of motion, particularly to your hamstrings, back, shoulders and hips.

The yoga poses, some of which may be held for prolonged periods, also help you build strength and muscle tone. You will also have improved balance as you learn to achieve poses.

By increasing flexibility and strength, some types of pain may be prevented. After a long drive, imagine how good it would feel when you go for a stretch. Yoga extends this to much of your body and can help with back pains, shoulder pain and even carpal tunnel pain, among others.

During yoga you also focus extensively on breathing. Among the benefits to your body, learning how to breathe slower and deeper as you move through a pose. You may feel lightheaded as you sharpen your breathing technique as your blood carries a better supply of oxygen, so better be ready. It will pass and is likely to occur only during your first few attempts. Controlled breathing can also help you in other ways as it can be used for pain management and stress reduction.

While any exercise carries mental benefits as well as physical, the benefits of yoga come not from endorphins but from concentration and calmness. Concentration on breathing and body positioning is very important in yoga, this is also a good tool for stress reduction and to calm your thoughts. You may find that yoga in the evening helps relax your mind and body for sleep.

Enrolling in a class, buying a video or watching a show is just as easy as beginning to practice yoga. A carpeted area or a yoga mat and loose or flexible clothes are also needed. Whether in a class or alone, pay attention to your body. Use a modification of a pose if you feel pain while attempting it or you can try again once you’ve gained the strength and flexibility for it. Poses will become easier and you’ll find that toga can be a fulfilling way to spend “you” time if you continue to do it.

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