Why you should consider beginning yoga this year
Can’t tell the difference between downward-facing dog and tree pose — or even touch your toes? For some people the idea of beginning yoga can be a little intimidating but finding a class for every age and ability level is now easier than ever. Plus starting up a regular yoga practice can deliver some surprising health boosts. Here are some of the perks of hitting the mat.
It’ll help you cope with stress
Feeling frazzled? Yoga postures and meditations can lower stress levels so you feel calmer and more relaxed says the Mayo Clinic. Over time that could offer relief from symptoms like anxiety depression and fatigue — and even help you reduce risk factors for chronic diseases like high blood pressure.
You’ll improve your flexibility and strength
Regardless of your age and flexibility level regularly practicing yoga lengthens your tendons and muscles to make them more elastic — and increases your range of motion according to the Yoga Foundation. You’ll get stronger too since yoga postures work your muscles from head to toe.
Yoga may help you maintain a healthy weight
Despite what you might think even low-key styles of yoga can help you torch more calories. Plus practicing yoga could encourage you to eat more mindfully. In fact one review published in Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine suggests that a regular yoga practice can be effective in promoting weight and fat loss.
It could help relieve pain
Before reaching for a pill try some stretching. Practicing yoga could actually change the way that your brain copes with pain according to recent findings from the American Pain Society.
There’s a type of yoga for everyone
Whether you’re looking for a mild stretch session or a vigorous workout there’s a yoga practice for you. A good thing to keep in mind is that a class marked as “Hatha” will likely be an introductory class according to Gaiam Life. Here are three basic styles to consider:
- Yin yoga
Quiet and calming yin yoga involves seated and lying-down poses that are usually held for several minutes notes Yoga Journal. It’s slower and more meditative than other types of yoga.
- Vinyasa yoga
Vinyasa yoga classes coordinate postures with breath to flow from one pose to the next. There are several types of Vinyasa yoga including Ashtanga yoga and power yoga. Some Vinyasa yoga classes are geared towards beginners while others may be more advanced.
- Hot yoga
Classes are heated anywhere from 85 to 105 degrees and are designed to help your body release toxins. Hot yoga can be intense so check with your doctor before going to a class.
Remember beginning yoga can deliver big benefits no matter your flexibility level shape or size so go ahead and give it a try. Who knows? Before long you might even be able to touch those tootsies.
Image source: Flickr