Yoga has been around for more than 5,000 years and it’s not surprising for several reasons. There are many different forms or “practices” of yoga, but they all have the same basic concepts. It is a total mind, body, soul workout including stretching, strengthening and meditation.
I feel like you either love yoga or you hate it. Regardless of how you feel, there is scientific evidence that yoga is so good for your body and has many health benefits. You do not have to be a “yogi” to practice yoga. You don’t even have to get into the spiritual side of it. The physical part of yoga in and of itself has so many benefits.
I am using the term yoga, but I also mean just general stretching and strengthening. Yoga teaches you to listen to your body and to be in tune with what it needs. Yoga is great for prayer or meditation and relaxes your mind, body and soul. It is so relaxing and rejuvenating.
Now, I know that yoga is mostly female heavy. BUT males have the same benefits and it is not “girly”! No, you do not have to wear yoga pants!! If you are too embarrassed to attend a class, you can do it at home and you don’t even have to call it yoga. You can call it stretching and strengthening. There are so many YouTube channels with free yoga routines. It has too many benefits not to incorporate yoga into your workout routine. Below I list some of the many benefits.
From the American Osteopathic Association:(1)
- Increased flexibility
- Increased muscle strength and tone
- Improved respiration, energy and vitality
- Maintaining a balanced metabolism
- Weight reduction
- Cardio and circulatory health
- Improved athletic performance
- Protection from injury
If you have never tried yoga, you are seriously missing out. First of all, IT IS SO HARD!!! Like, hard. Like you will sweat and your heart will race. If you just watch people doing it, it does not look hard. But let me tell you, it IS! I don’t say this to scare you, but to let you know that yoga is worth your time and it is such a good workout.
Some people are afraid to attend a yoga class because they think they are not flexible enough. Yoga is not all about being flexible. Yes it is possible to bend your body in weird ways and many yogis do that. However, you do not have to be flexible. People of all types can enjoy yoga. Yoga is meant to improve your flexibility so you’ve got to start somewhere. The more you do it, the more flexible you will become.
Yoga helps a person manage stress levels and teaches them how to cope with it. Stress has so many manifestations and some of them include inflammation, chronic pain, backaches, headaches, insomnia, etc. Yoga can help to reduce all of these side effects because it helps to relieve stress.
If you struggle with chronic pain and have joint problems, yoga might be your solution. Yoga is a full body workout but it does not have high impact on your joints. You can modify each exercise to ensure that you aren’t putting more stress on your injured joints. It will also help to stretch and strengthen those weak and injured muscles to assist in recovery.
Yoga requires no equipment and you can do it anywhere! You can literally do yoga in your bedroom. It is nice to have a yoga mat, but it is not necessary. You can look up workouts on Pinterest, Google, or YouTube and do it right in your bedroom. It is great if you are traveling and don’t have any equipment.
If you are one that doesn’t necessarily enjoy working out, yoga is a great option because it is a workout but also so relaxing. It is not stressful and great for your mental state. Usually when I don’t feel like working out, I will do yoga because it is a great workout but I don’t have to do a ton of jumps and push ups. It gets my heart rate going without me having to do a lot of crazy movement.
I want to encourage you to just TRY yoga. Try it and see how you like it. If you do not like it, then don’t continue to do it! It’s all about finding the exercise that you enjoy and to continue doing that. I think that yoga is a forgotten type of exercise in many groups but it should be incorporated in some way to each person’s exercise routine! Whether it is more stretch yoga or strengthening yoga, it is so beneficial and each person will see results!
Video below is a sample 20 minute yoga/stretch/strengthening routine I created! Check it out and try to do this type of exercise in your workout routines! I have recently started to do this once a week and I am loving it.