Benefits of doing yoga

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Benefits of doing yoga

A guide to the benefits of yoga

One form of exercise that is becoming popular amongst many people is yoga. This is a kind of stretching and doing different poses that look pretty weird to do but offer a range of health benefits. This form of exercise has been practiced for thousands of years and is rapidly growing in popularity. It is likely you have come across yoga at some time but did not know what it was all about. Well if yoga seems like something you would be interested in then we recommend you keep reading as in this post we are going to be analysing the positives of doing yoga and helping you weigh up if it’s something you should start putting into your fitness regime. 

Firstly, we need to go over what yoga actually is. This is an ancient form of exercise that focuses on strength, flexibility, breathing and mental wellbeing. It originated in India around 5,000 years ago and has been adapted through time in different ways. It’s now one of the most common practices done today. As well as tradition forms there are many different types of yoga out there. These include Iyengar yoga, yin yoga and hatha yoga. If you would like to find out more about the origins of yoga, then check out this article by Dr. Ishwar V. Basavaraddi

Increased flexibility

One benefit of yoga is that it improves your flexibility. This practice involves stretching yourself into ranges of motion you may not go into normally. So regular yoga will improve flexibility as your muscles will become used to going into a full range of motion and strengthen your joints. As well as becoming more flexible, this will also make you less injury prone as your muscles will be stronger in certain ranges of motion and joins will be looser. 
With increased flexibility there are many other benefits that come along with this. These include feeling loser, improved posture and improved performance. As well as these there are many other benefits of becoming more flexible and it’s something every athlete or sports person should look at improving. This is often a attribute that is overlooked but being flexible is something that could shoot your training to the next level and help you reach your fitness goals. 

Increased strength and muscle growth

Although not really associated with getting ripped, yoga can actually build muscle and strength. As many of them movements performed by yogi’s involves holding and lifting your body weight it comes to no surprise really that you will build muscle. As well as lifting body weight in many movements you will have to hold your position for a certain amount of time. This may sound easy but as many of us have seen by doing exercises like the plank, this time feels like a lifetime and does get your muscles sore. One thing to take into consideration is that all types of yoga are slightly different, and others will involve movements that may work other muscle groups.
Although you can gain muscle mass and strength from yoga, it shouldn’t replace regular weight training. When it comes to bulking up there is nothing better than resistance training. Its recommended to do yoga alongside resistance training. This could help with recovery, flexibility and muscle soreness. To find out more about yoga and gaining strength then check out this article by Kelly Turner, a certified personal trainer. 

Mental benefits

Yoga is usually associated with being calm and being a form of meditation. There are many mental benefits that can be gained by doing yoga and one of these can include improving your mood and behaviour. A study was done that investigated the effects of yoga in depressed young adults. The results showed that yoga did elevate the people’s moods and reduce depression. Yoga also increases levels of gamma- aminobutyric acid (GABA), which helps regulate nerve activity. This is relevant to people who have anxiety disorders as it can relieve anxiety. 
Yoga is also been proven to reduce stress levels, that is a common problem for many adults. Stress can lead to many other serious conditions like high blood pressure or obesity. There are also breathing techniques that you can learn from yoga that can be used instantly in times of stress. Things like deep breathing and meditation have similar stress relieving effects to yoga. Its also believed that yoga helps your heart rate, which will make you naturally better at managing stress and is great for cardiovascular health.

Lose weight 

As well as all the above benefits, yoga is an exercise that can also help with fat loss goals. Although weight loss may be increased in more extreme forms of yoga, all types are shown to increase a person’s metabolism. An increased metabolism will result in more fat being burned by your body. If you would like to find out more about how doing yoga long term can affect your metabolic rate, then check out this study by the national institute of health
The increased muscle mass gained by doing yoga will also result in more fat loss and look aesthetically better. A clearer mind and reduced stress levels caused by yoga will also aid in weight loss as you will be less likely to overeat. Eating disorders like binge eating are associated with high stress levels and anxiety, which are things that can be reduced or managed with yoga. So, as well as burning calories yoga helps you stick to a stricter diet and stay more disciplined.

Negatives of yoga 

Although there are many benefits to doing yoga, like anything there are a few possible risks to this type of training. One possible risk is injury, if you are inexperienced or not doing the movements right then there is a great risk you can be injured. There are also certain yoga movements that have been linked to bone damage for people with osteoporosis, this is a condition when the body doesn’t produce strong enough bone and they become weak. So before thinking about yoga its important to check if it will cause you more harm than good and to try and train with a professional that knows what they are doing to reduce the risk of an injury. 
Overall, yoga has many benefits and is something worth considering putting into your training regime. This is especially good for people who don’t like higher intensity activities like running and resistance training, as it still provides an effective workout without getting too sweaty. So if this something that seems like it will interest you then yoga is one of the easiest sports to start doing as it requires very little equipment. A yoga mat is all that’s required and there are many yoga classes available due to its rapidly growing popularity.