Do you feel like you run around all day without a chance to rest? Come home at night frazzled, stiff, and unable to relax? If so, try yoga for relaxation and rejuvenation. Although yoga began as an Eastern practice with mystic origins, it has quickly been adapted into American culture as a relaxing form of exercise.
What is yoga?
Yoga is a practice that combines stretching exercises, controlled breathing and relaxation. Although there are many types of yoga, almost all of them focus on postures or poses and deep breathing patterns. The poses vary from simple and relaxing to challenging and invigorating. The deep breathing aids relaxation, a vital component of any yoga session. Many resources about yoga are available through books and videos (YouTube!), but it is best practiced with a trained instructor who is able to give advice and customize the program for your needs.
Here are some of the main benefits of yoga:
Yoga poses are designed to stretch muscles. Even if you start a class unable to touch your toes, repeated practice will relax and loosen muscles, so before long, you’ll be doing a forward bend with ease! Increased flexibility means less trouble picking things up off the floor and more fun playing with your kids or grandkids.
Yoga is proven to reduce chronic pain, including migraines. It is especially good for low-level aches and joint pains caused by stress or bad posture. However, it also helps with specific pain—for example, studies show that yoga can help with chronic back pain. Almost any yoga poses will relieve joint pain and tension aches, but if you want to relieve a specific problem, talk to an instructor about exercises that will address that area. The best results generally come from a combination of care methods, including chiropractic.
Many yoga poses require balancing, some on one leg or one arm, in many different variations. Although it may be difficult at first, repeated practice will improve balance. That means you’re less likely to fall, and therefore, less likely to break bones.
Finally, the most important one. Who isn’t stressed? In our busy, rapid-paced lives, yoga offers a chance to relax and rejuvenate while improving your health. The focus on deep breathing and calm thinking gives you a guiltless break from your unending to-do list. Doctors can’t say enough about the health benefits of reduced stress! Lower stress lowers your blood pressure, reduces your risk for a heart attack, prevents or lessens depression, and helps you sleep better.
When you finish a refreshing yoga session and lie down into the final corpse pose (lying completely still on the floor—kind of a mini nap!), you won’t regret trying yoga.