8 Benefits of Yoga

James Fowler Physical TherapyCore Training, Stretches & Warm-UpsLeave a Comment

Yoga is a therapeutic practice used by people for centuries. It has restorative powers that can cure body aches and pains, as well as clear the mind. There have been many studies that show it can help with depression and anxiety. To say the least, yoga has many benefits and we’ve put together a list of these benefits below.

1. Improve Joint Mobility

According to gaia.com, yoga helps to promote the flow of synovial fluid. Synovial fluid is what makes your commonly used joins, like your knees, move smoothly and pain free. Yoga also strengthens the muscles that support your joints. This allows your joins to endure more pressure – making walking or jumping a lot easier on the knees.

2. Help Strengthen and Lengthen Back Muscles

In many of the various yoga poses, your back is a key component. Depending on the yoga position, yoga instructors often remind each yogi to draw their shoulder down and back, while also squaring your hips. This guidance is to help strengthen and lengthen your back. The New York Post interviewed an 84-year-old woman who had suffered with scoliosis all her life, but found a cure in yoga. Take this as inspiration that no matter your age, yoga can help with your back problems.

3. Overall Body Strength

Beginner, intermediate and advanced levels of yoga classes improve your overall body strength. Whether you are holding a position for a longer period of time or flowing through a quick paced vinyasa, the muscle groups are working to keep your balance. The common flow from a downward dog into a plank, then to chaturanga and lastly into upward dog strengthens your arms, core, lower back and gluts.

4. Greater Flexibility

For anyone that has done yoga, increasing your flexibility is an obvious one. Yoga is a workout that consists of constant stretching. By the end of the class, your tight areas will already feel looser and more flexible. If you keep up a regular routine, you’ll being doing standing splits with a much greater ease.

5. Cardio

While it should not be replaced for regular cardiovascular exercise, many of the faster paced classes offer a great cardio workout. You spend the hour or so constantly changing positions on a breath-by-breath basis. These fast pace classes up your heart rate while also working every muscle in your body. Hot yoga can also be a great option for those who want to get their heart rate up and sweat a lot.

6. Protection from Injury

Yoga can protect your bones and muscles from injury. You build muscle while stretching your muscles and keeping them fluid. This can prevent tears and strains. Yoga doesn’t only help your muscles, but helps to build bone strength. By building bone strength you are preventing the possibility of future injuries, like fractures or breaks. So if you are prone to breaks or are a competitive/professional athlete, start thinking about making yoga part of your weekly workout routine.

7. Clearing Your Mind

Yoga has been proven to help relax and clear the mind. You are so focused on your breathing patterns and finding the right position of your hips to improve your warrior 3 to be worrying about all the items you haven’t crossed off on your to-do list. Harvard researchers, as well as many other research facilities, have also found that yoga can help decrease depression. It lowers your heart rate and helps you relax; pushing aside any anxiety you might be feeling. Some yoga teachers also have a very soothing voice and disposition which helps you relax and breath.

8. An in-home workout that doesn’t anger your neighbors

It’s hard to do a workout in your New York City apartment that doesn’t involve jumping or other loud noises. Yoga is a slow paced workout that won’t lead to your neighbors banging on your front door. What’s better than that!

Yoga has countless benefits but we’ve decided these were the most important. We hope this article has encouraged you to try your first yoga class, or pull out your old mat from the back of the closet. As a reminder, every person is different, so we strongly encourage you to find a class that fits you best. If you have never taken a yoga class before, or it has been a decent amount of time since the last one, start at a beginner level and work your way up. Your body needs preparation in order to prevent injury.

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