Every day I look on Instagram and see artfully taken photographs of men and women contorted into different positions with a gorgeous nature scene in the background. Yoga is becoming increasingly popular (and visible through social media), but the benefits of practicing yoga extend beyond just a pretty picture.
Improved flexibility is one of the first things you’ll notice after you begin practicing yoga. At first, it may seem impossible to get into the seemingly simplest yoga poses, but after time you’ll find that it’s a cake walk for you. We tend to hold stress and tightness in the hips, hamstrings, and spine among other places, and tightness in those locations can lead to issues with the knees as well as back pain. Yoga helps with that as many of the poses focus on stretching and lengthening.
Many, if not all, of the yoga poses that you’ll practice are designed to strengthen the muscles in your core and spine. When those muscles are strong and properly functioning, you may see reduced neck and back pain. You’ll also be able to feel the muscles in your legs and arms being worked during certain poses.
There are a lot of physical benefits to practicing yoga, but it also really helps alleviate stress. Both acute and chronic stress can have awful effects on the mind, and in turn on the body. When we’re stressed, we tighten up and carry tension in our neck, shoulders, and back predominantly, and can experience lack of sleep and difficulty focusing among other things.
Using yoga to incorporate meditation in with your stretching and strength training can do wonders for your mental and emotional wellbeing. You’ll find more mental clarity and awareness and a reduction in your stress levels as well as having an easier time focusing.
There are so many benefits to practicing yoga, and anyone can start. There are ways to modify each yoga pose if you’re unable to practice it in the way that it is presented to you. What are you waiting for? Grab a mat, find a class or tutorial, and get started!
Check out the top 5 yoga channels on youtube!
By: Kayla Harwick