Top Benefits of Yoga
Many of us spend a lot of time seated in one position, whether that is driving for hours each day, sitting at a desk, or curling up on the sofa to watch some television. This can leave us with stiff and inflexible joints, poor posture, back and muscle pain, and a host of other minor ailments that make life a little less joyful than it should be. Yoga can alleviate these conditions and help with others besides. Let us take a look at these:
Improve Flexibility and Posture
Hunching over a desk for hours at a time gives us an odd posture – head thrust forward, shoulders rounded and spine curved. Not only does holding this position for a long time leave us stiff and sore, it reduces our flexibility too. Yoga, even a fairly short session, works on the whole body, urging each limb to find and gently extend its range of motion.
At first, you might need to use yoga blocks and straps to achieve and hold the positions, but it will not be long before your body adapts. Regular yoga practice will find you adopting a better posture even while sitting at work – which in turn causes less pain, less stiffness and better flexibility. You might even want to move to a standing desk after a while, to give your newly healthy body more of a metabolic boost.
Speaking of Metabolism
Your metabolism is the process of using food that is eaten and converting it into useful nutrients, to be used or stored, depending on the body’s needs. A sedentary lifestyle causes our metabolism to slow down, so that fewer calories are needed and causing weight gain, even without changing one’s diet! Yoga, in moving the entire body, gives the metabolic system a shake-up, stirring sluggish systems into faster, more efficient operation, so that your nutrients are better distributed for healing and maintenance purposes and you feel happier and healthier. A pleasant side effect of this boost to the metabolism is that you will naturally burn off more calories – and may find yourself dropping that unwanted pound or two without too much extra effort.
Our digestions were designed when we were still primitive beings, moving about during daylight hours and sleeping lightly and shifting often at night time. For our digestions to work well, we need to be active, even if it is just a gentle ten or fifteen minute walk each morning – a yoga session qualifies admirably and brings along a host of other advantages with it, as detailed elsewhere in this piece. A regular yoga session will keep you regular too, and as the old saying goes, a regular person is a happy one!
Yoga’s final advantage is one that few other exercises have, especially exercise systems so forgiving that they can be done inside or out, at home or at the gym, squeezed into a few minutes or spread out over a couple of hours. It is, of course, the meditative side of yoga, in which practitioners sit calmly and simply focus on maintaining their position and on their breathing while they empty their minds of financial issues, of worries about the family, work concerns, any and all petty grievances and frustrations. Studies have found that a five minute meditation session can boost concentration, productivity and focus for hours – allowing yogis to do better for longer in almost all walks of life.
Yogi has many benefits to it, and is best thought of as a complete lifestyle change, rather than a once or twice a week activity like any other. Your body and brain will thank you!