Yoga is an ancient, spiritual and traditional form of exercise that enhances strength, flexibility and breathing. The practice of yoga originates from India and dates back 5,000 years, when it was traditionally used for spiritual and physical well-being. There are many different types of yoga, including Ashtanga, Iyengar and Sivananda, which focus on different body areas, such as breathing or posture. No style is necessarily better than the other, and you may have developed your own yoga practice depending on your needs. Together, these can help strengthen physical and mental well-being, especially when practiced regularly.
Several studies have concluded the positive benefits of yoga on physical and mental health. Yoga encourages you to relax, slow down your body with controlled breathing, increasing your focus on the present and allowing your body to switch from a “fight or flight” phase into a “rest and digest” phase, resulting in a lowering of your heart and breathing rate, your blood pressure and cortisol levels (the hormone associated with stress).
The most obvious benefit of yoga is the flexibility that gradually increases as the practice is continued. Muscle and connective tissue around your bones and joints begin to loosen, associated with a reduction in pains and aches. Yoga movements also promote an increase in blood flow to your joints and muscles by moving them through their full range of motion, squeezing and soaking areas of cartilage that are generally not used.
The act of practicing yoga relies on slow and deliberate movements to maintain balance and posture. By making these motions, you can build and maintain muscle strength, which reduces muscular pain by strengthening your body’s ability to hold itself and reduce your risk of falling or injury.
Yoga is for everyone, young & old, fit & unfit. You don’t need to be flexible or have an injury to begin practising yoga, as it is an excellent way to increase your flexibility and strength and help you maintain good mental health.
Yoga is the same as any other form of physical activity. You should begin simple, then gradually increase your movements and stretches at your comfortable pace. You should learn yoga from a qualified teacher who can guide you and help you get the most out of it.
Yoga is popular with those who have arthritis as it is a gentle way of exercising joints while increasing your strength. However, some Yoga moves are unsuitable for certain types of arthritis, such as Knee pain or Osteoarthritis. You should find a Yoga teacher who understands arthritis and is able to adapt movements to your needs. This is especially important if you have had a joint replacement. Check with your doctor or physiotherapist for advice on what yoga moves you should avoid, as it will be based on your condition.
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