I usually write about the importance of a good diet, but lately I’ve been writing about exercise. If your going to keep the pounds off, you must have a plan to burn the calories your eating and you have to eat enough to maintain your body. So it’s a “catch-22”. Eat to maintain and burn up what you eat. Yoga can help with that.
Yoga is a great way to work on your flexibility and strength. Just about everyone can do it, too — it’s not just for people who can touch their toes or want to meditate.
Some types of yoga are about relaxation. In others, you move more. Most types focus on learning poses, called asanas. They also usually include attention to breathing.
At any level of yoga, you’ll probably start to notice benefits soon. In one study, people improved their flexibility by up to 35% after only 8 weeks of yoga.
Strike a Pose for Strength
Some styles of yoga, such as ashtanga and power yoga, are very physical. Practicing one of these styles will help you improve muscle tone.
But even less vigorous styles of yoga, such as Iyengar or hatha, can provide strength and endurance benefits.
Many of the poses, such as downward dog, upward dog, and the plank pose, build upper-body strength. The standing poses, especially if you hold them for several long breaths, build strength in your hamstrings, quadriceps, and abs. Poses that strengthen the lower back include upward dog and the chair pose.
When done right, nearly all poses build core strength in the deep abdominal muscles.
Better Posture From Yoga
When you’re stronger and more flexible, your posture improves. Are you worried about osteoporosis? Yoga can help with that. Talk to your doctor.
Most standing and sitting poses develop core strength, since you need your core muscles to support and maintain each pose.
With a stronger core, you’re more likely to sit and stand “tall.”
Yoga also helps your body awareness. That helps you notice more quickly if you’re slouching or slumping, so you can adjust your posture.
Yoga usually involves paying attention to your breath, which can help you relax. It may also call for specific breathing techniques.
But yoga typically isn’t aerobic, like running or cycling, unless it’s an intense type of yoga or you’re doing it in a heated room. Intense yoga can burn more calories for it’s not for beginners.
Less Stress, More Calm
You may feel less stressed and more relaxed after doing some yoga.
Some yoga styles use meditation techniques that help calm the mind. Focusing on your breathing during yoga can do that, too.
Good for Your Heart
Yoga has long been known to lower blood pressure and slow the heart rate. A slower heart rate can benefit people with high blood pressure or heart disease, and people who’ve had a stroke.
Yoga has also been linked to lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels, and better immune system function.
As a person gains weight and becomes overweight, your body tends to be susceptible to disease and a good diet and regular exercise will fix that. Yoga can be that exercise. Regular yoga, even if you do it at home can improve most of your vitals. If you’re not one who exercises you will feel better in a few weeks. Don’t get discouraged and quit. If you’re not getting the results you hoped for, increase your exercise or adjust your diet. Just going to one Yoga class a week will teach you Yoga poses but you should do yoga at home also. Yoga needs to be done everyday. I do Yoga poses at night watching TV. 20 minutes a night will keep you in shape for the next class. The important thing is not to quit. Be flexible in your thinking and be willing to make changes to get better results.
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