The Benefits of Yoga

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

You may have been hearing how good yoga is for you. This may make you wonder what yoga is and what are the benefits? Yoga is a total mind-body workout with postures that both strengthen and stretch while bringing awareness to your breath. Following are just some of the benefits that can be obtained in a short time frame. 

Yoga Woman Forward StretchIMPROVES FLEXIBILITY
You may not be able to touch your toes, but with a consistent practice, you will notice a gradual loosening. Tight hips can strain the knee joint or tight hamstrings can cause back pain, the loosening achieved in yoga will help alleviate these aches and pains. 


BUILDS STRENGTH 
Many yoga poses are weight bearing exercises. You may be balancing on one leg, supporting yourself in Downward Facing Dog, or practicing push-ups in Chaturanga. All these poses build strength. 
 
Yoga Guy Swan StretchIMPROVES BALANCE
Poses standing on one leg or more advanced arm balances build core strength that keep you upright. Better balance means fewer falls. Less wobbly on the mat translates to less wobbly off the mat. 


PREVENTS BACK PAIN
Constantly sitting at a computer or driving can cause tightness throughout the body. Yoga counteracts these conditions by increasing flexibility and strength.  

TEACHES BETTER BREATHING
Most people take shallow breaths. Yoga brings focus to the breath and teaches to breathe deeper which benefits the entire body. 
 
REDUCES STRESS
Because concentration is required during a yoga practice, stress seems to melt away while engaged on the mat. Yoga’s emphasis on being in the present moment can help gain perspective. Learning to live in the present teaches you not to dwell on past events or anticipate future events.

Yoga Woman Back StretchHELPS YOU SLEEP DEEPER
Yoga can offer relief from the stresses of modern life and downtime for the nervous system. A by-product of a regular yoga practice is better sleep which means you will be less tired.   

 

INCREASES SELF CONFIDENCE
Yoga improves your mind-body connection which in turn gives you a better awareness of your own body. Yoga teaches subtle movements that allow you to improve your alignment while putting you in better touch with your physical being. Yoga teaches you to accept your body as it is without judgment. Self-confidence builds as you become more comfortable in your own body. 
 
Regardless of age or fitness level, yoga has something for everyone. There is no better time than the present to begin your yoga practice. 


By Traci St. Pierre  Mind & Body Program Lead, Green Bay YMCA

Learn more about our Mind & Body Programs