Yoga is all the rage these days and with good reason. Yoga is an alternative form of exercise which is low-impact but also does the body much good. According to a study in the US, yoga is the 6th most common alternative therapy used by people, with roughly 6.1 percent of the entire population having dabbled in it. Yoga is used as a means of meditation, body conditioning, and achieving flexibility. Almost all types of yoga combine postures, breathing exercises and relaxation techniques.
People have been looking to yoga in order to benefit their health in a number of ways. These include:
Increase in flexibility – Yoga over time stretches the body and works on the joints to give it more flexibility. This also lets the body achieve greater posture as well as better coordination.
Increases strength – Yoga usually calls for slow deliberate movements that are held in place for a few seconds. This counts as resistance training which increases strength in the muscles as well as in the bones.
Weight loss and muscle toning – more and more, yoga is used as a low-impact means of losing weight and toning muscles. There are certain yoga moves that target specific parts of the body.
Alleviation of back pain – chronic lower back pain can be helped by some yoga poses by easing tightness and spinal compression. The better posture promoted by yoga also helps the practitioner avoid further pain from wrong posture.
Preventing stress – yoga is a form of meditation and meditation is good for alleviating stress. Picking up a hobby that will promote clear-headedness is always good for people experiencing stress, especially when paired with breathing exercises and muscle relaxation techniques.
Preventing depression – yoga calms the mind and brings about a sense of well being that can benefit people who are undergoing depression. Being in the classroom setting can be extra beneficial to people undergoing depression.
When beginning yoga, it is best to consult with an instructor or thoroughly research moves before beginning them on your own. Many yoga moves, while they look simple and easy to do, are actually advanced moves that can cause injury to the untrained. There have been cases of arterial tears, rotator cuff injuries and spinal compression because of yoga, so it should be approached with care. Many people spend years perfecting this craft, so a beginner should stick to beginner exercises when just starting out.
Big meals should be avoided before yoga, but a light snack will do. Water should also be avoided during class, but it is okay to take it before and after the session. Do not be afraid to tell your instructor that you are a beginner so that you can be given some useful information suitable for your level. It would also be beneficial to read up on the basic concepts before embarking on your first session, as well as arming yourself with the necessary items (proper clothes, yoga mat) for the session.