Why Do Yoga? - Benefits and Lifestyle
Yoga is a thousands year old practice for stabilizing the body and mind. Yoga has withstood the test of time because it’s adaptable, and because it works! Today’s yoga offers benefits that extend to improved strength, flexibility, mobility, and happiness. Learn more about why you should do yoga, and how to get started.
Benefits of Yoga
Yoga is rooted in an ancient Sanskrit word which means “union” or to “join together.” Yoga strengthens the relationship between body and mind. When the body is in a state of health and balance, so too, is the mind. We not only feel better physically, but we’re happier and more at ease. While the ancient sages knew this intuitively, science is beginning to catch up. The following are just some of the researched-backed benefits of yoga.
- Yoga Reduces Stress: Yoga limits the release of the stress hormone, cortisol.
- Yoga Reduces Inflammation: Those who practice yoga regularly have fewer inflammatory markers in their bloodstream.
- Yoga Improves Heart Health: Yoga reduces stress and inflammation but also lowers blood pressure for a healthier heart.
- Yoga Reduces Chronic Pain: Movement keeps joints hydrated and can also alleviate symptoms of arthritis.
- Yoga Improves Sleep: Those with a regular yoga practice fall asleep faster and sleep more soundly through the night.
- Yoga Improves Lung Capacity: Yoga can increase lung volume and has been proven effective in reducing the symptoms of asthma.
- Yoga Improves Strength: Yoga builds muscular strength and even strengthens bones, preventing osteoporosis.
- Yoga Improves Balance: Yoga can prevent falls in older adults, and may even mediate the effects of inner ear dysfunction.
- Yoga Improves Flexibility and Mobility: A healthy range of motion can prevent pain and injuries.
Adaptability of Yoga
The yoga practiced today is not the same as the yoga practiced thousands of years ago, but it’s strikingly similar. Yoga has lasted throughout the centuries in part because it’s able to provide us with what we need, when we need it.
There’s yoga for strength, yoga for balance, and yoga for flexibility. Some styles of yoga offer us rest and passive relaxation, while other styles raise our heart rate and make us sweat. Yoga can be adapted for all ages and is enjoyed by young children and seniors alike. Each yoga pose can be modified to make it less or more challenging. And yoga poses can be modified for participants with limited mobility or for those who must remain seated in a chair. There’s truly a yoga style for everyone, and anyone can do yoga.
Learn to do Yoga
In the past, the easiest way to learn yoga was to attend a class at your local studio. Today, many yoga studios are temporarily closed due to Covid-19. Understandably, many people would rather practice yoga at home. A home yoga practice is also nice for beginners, who may feel nervous about participating in a public class.
To learn yoga at home, there are endless options available. Yoga teachers host a variety of paid and free classes on their websites, apps, or YouTube channels. You can follow along at your own pace, but you won’t receive personal instruction.
Live classes on Zoom may offer occasional feedback, in the form of a quick pointer once or twice per class. Private Zoom sessions include personalized feedback, but come at an expensive price.
An app like FitAtom teaches you yoga in the comfort and safety of your home, and gives you direct feedback on your form, in each and every pose. Just like yoga, it’s an offering that provides what’s needed in this specific space and time. Use FitAtom on its own, or as a personal coach in between your online yoga sessions.