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Beyonce, Halle Berry, and Jennifer Aniston swear by it. The American football team, the Seattle Seahawks (Superbowl 2014 Champions) have taken it up, as have the US Marines.
Although studies are still ongoing, the findings are very encouraging. Yoga is a very complete mind and body exercise system that offers several benefits to its practitioners, which are listed below.
1. Psychological Benefits
Certain forms of yoga have a lot meditation and breathing exercises, which help reduce stress and anxiety. It can also enhance your mood and overall sense of well-being. People also report that they sleep better. The mental aspect of yoga teaches you to clear the mind, help you to focus, and not be distracted so easily.
2. Improved Strength and Cardiovascular Fitness
Long term practice can improve balance, flexibility, blood circulation, range of motion, and strength. This will also lessen the likelihood of injuries and sprains when you do other physical activities.
Yoga also benefits you in other ways. When combined with breathing exercises (pranayama), yoga increases oxygen intake in your blood. This greatly improves your cardiovascular fitness.
3. Full Body And Low Impact Workout
When you lift weights, you’re only exercising a small percentage of your body. Yoga, on the other hand, can work out every part. For example, the Sun Salutations series of postures make you strengthen and stretch every major muscle group in the body.
There are small stabilizer muscles in your legs, glutes, and core (which you’re not aware of) that get worked on with yoga. All the various yoga poses help to stretch and build muscles, so that, in the end, you have a leaner, stronger, limber, and more flexible body.
Furthermore, yoga is low impact. This is extremely beneficial for people with bad backs, ankles, knees etc. So you get the exercise, but do not stress your bones and joints.
3. Rehabilitative Benefits
Yoga is also effective in alleviating chronic problems related to muscle tension, poor blood circulation, poor digestion, low energy, arthritis, depression, as well as back problems. This is not to say that yoga should be used as a kind of alternative medicine, but it is proven to work very well in conjunction with prescribed medication. Or, better yet, as a preventive measure.
Yoga is also very good for rehabilitating some chronic injuries. By strengthening the surrounding and connected muscles, this will help compensate for a bad knee or back.
4. Yoga for Pregnant Women
Pre-natal yoga when practiced under trained supervision, is generally regarded as a safe form of exercise for pregnant women. In fact, there are benefits as it helps improve the flexibility of the body, and strengthens the pelvic muscles, which will aid the delivery and minimize complications. Prenatal yoga will help improve circulation in the body, stimulates the organs and glands, and help reduce blood pressure.
Despite being thousands of years old, yoga, has revolutionized how we see exercise, our minds, and our bodies.
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