Yoga is a wonderful thing.
It gives instant fulfilment and provides a transformation that lasts.
When it comes to fitness, not getting results when putting a lot of energy into something or not seeing results can take its toll and can lead to boredom and abandonment of your chosen fitness activity.
But one of the great things about yoga is that it can give noticeable mental and physical changes in a short space of time, while also laying the foundations for long-term fitness and health.
Yoga Is Suitable For Everybody
Yoga classes and groups are available in most areas and it is suitable for all age groups, fitness levels and for people with all kinds of goals.
Some people find it great to join a group for fitness and health where you can meet people from all walks of life. It is a great way to feel a sense of inclusion and acceptance, as yoga is something that anyone can do.
It Promotes Holistic Wellbeing and Health
Yoga is not about strenuous exercise, gruelling routines and getting the heart and body pumping, it’s about an overall healthy lifestyle including physical well-being and a healthy mind.
Yoga is very close to meditation in that it allows those who practice it to feel a sense of calm in a world that is always on the go. Focusing the mind is part of yoga training and it helps to achieve an inner peace and to de-clutter the mind to focus on your goals.
Yoga also teaches breathing exercises and meditation techniques that can help you to prevent your mind from getting muddled with everything that you have to do in a day. It can help you to de-stress and focus on one thing at a time.
There Are Lots Of Styles
Yoga isn’t just a single activity, there are lots of faces o yoga and you are able to find a style of yoga that is most suitable for you.
For example, you can choose to join yoga classes focused on relaxation, or join in pregnancy yoga. You can also opt to do yoga in the privacy of your own home, in a group session or get a DVD to do with a friend.
Hatha yoga is perfect for beginners as this form of yoga is about easy postures at a slower pace. If you want to increase your body strength you could try power yoga which is more about body resistance.
Advanced yoga is for those who are serious about yoga, and it is usually done in a warm room to speed up the process of eliminating toxins from the body by making you sweat more.
You Can Increase Fitness And Become More Flexible
Many forms of yoga have an element of body strengthening but all promote better flexibility. It is about feeling good internally and externally.
The postures in yoga are designed to strengthen and build up the muscles around the spine, known as the core muscles, and by working on these muscles it helps to improve posture and relieve pain and aching from other muscles. Stretching the muscles with yoga poses also helps to give a more lean look to your body.
Yoga is usually taught along with educating those practising it about healthy organic eating. When yoga and a healthy diet are combined, it can improve digestion and can help to fight against problems such as acid reflux and constipation.
Try this simple Yoga Pose:
The best posture for relaxation is Savasana – also known as the corpse pose and sometimes written as Shavasana.
This pose is thought to enhance the body’s innate ability to heal and rejuvenate itself.
It is usually practised at the end of a yoga session to allow the body to reset itself, however, it is equally effective as a means to promote deep relaxation for those who suffer from anxiety and stress.
Studies confirm that yoga alleviates back pain and reduces stress.
- Find a warm space without distractions.
- Lie down flat on your back.
- Separate your legs to about hip width. Let your feet flop open to the sides.
- Rest your arms alongside your thighs, but slightly separated from your torso. Turn your palms upwards, with fingers relaxed and curled in.
- Now lying comfortably, release any effort from holding your limbs in position. Relax your whole body, including your face. Let your body feel heavy.
- With your eyes closed, observe your natural breath. Feel it come in through the nose and reach the back of your throat.
- Move your awareness to the chest and feel it expanding slowly, rib by rib as the breath flows into your ribcage.
- Then bring your awareness to the abdomen and notice how it expands as the breath comes in.
- Slowly allow the breath to leave your body as the abdomen falls – the rib-cage and chest empty and your awareness of your natural breath continues.
- Repeat for a few minutes while focusing on your natural relaxed breathing rhythm.
- If your mind wanders, you can bring your attention to your breath but try to just notice it, not deepen it.
- Stay for a minimum of at least five minutes, longer is better. If you are practicing at home, set an alarm so that you are not compelled to keep checking the time.
- To come out – first begin to deepen your breath. Then begin to wiggle your fingers and toes, slowly reawakening your body.
- Stretch your arms overhead for a full body stretch from hands to feet.
- Bring your knees into your chest and roll over to one side, keeping your eyes closed. Use your bottom arm as a pillow while you rest in a foetal position for a few breaths.
- Using your hands for support, bring yourself back up into a sitting position.
You can use props if necessary to increase your comfort and make Savasana more relaxing.
- If you have lower back problems, a rolled blanket or bolster under your knees helps bring the pelvis into a more comfortable position.
- If the room is a little chilly, it’s difficult to relax so cover up first with something warm – a jumper, socks or a blanket should do the trick.
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