From reducing stress to improving posture, there is so much more to yoga than meets the eye, so here are five reasons to try a yoga class.
Studies have shown regular yoga can improve balance and coordination in as little as six weeks. Yoga poses like warrior pose or traditional tree pose help to strengthen the body through stabilising muscles of the hips, improving balance, while a series of movements that travel through lower body rooted exercises to upper body exercises work on improving coordination.
Yoga isn’t all about slow breathing – by putting your body through a variety of different movement patterns, incorporating several angles and progressing poses, your body will be challenged and you’ll feel your heart rate rising to keep up. Yoga is designed around the idea of moving your body to increase its strength and durability, so it’s safe to say your body will benefit from this style of workout.
New to yoga? You might find yourself slumped and slouched – but with some strengthening of the core and encouraged awareness of the body and it’s movement patterns, you’ll find your posture improving and poses becoming easier because of it. Once you improve your posture, you'll also reap the benefits of reduced anxiety, improved productivity, fewer headaches, more energy, stronger joints and less stress.
Yoga can be a great way to slow down and clear the mind after a jam-packed day of work, family life or both. By encouraging relaxation, yoga can help to lower the levels of cortisol (stress hormone) in the body and calm the mind. Breathing exercises practiced in yoga, called pranayama, have been developed over thousands of years to calm and tame that endless stream of thoughts. During a yoga class this style of breathing is used to help increase concentration through movements and poses, but it is a technique that can also be used outside of a class to calm thoughts, relax the body and let go of any negativities.
Some good news for those of you with low-back pain – yoga may reduce pain and improve function! How? Fred Busch, a dedicated practitioner of Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga and director of the Miami Yogashala, says: “Yoga gently strengthens the muscles in the back, as well as the abdominal muscles. Back and abdominal muscles are essential components of the muscular network of the spine, helping the body maintain proper upright posture and movement. When these muscles are well conditioned, back pain can be greatly reduced or avoided.”