Practiced for over a thousand years, yoga is well-known for its unique poses and challenging postures, but there is more to yoga than a high degree of flexibility. Yoga encourages self-regulation in our day to day life, and can help us achieve a higher consciousness through simple breathing exercises, meditation, and stretching.
A goal is always important to have when practicing yoga, as well as keeping in mind that different approaches will bring different benefits. Yoga is increasingly viewed as beneficial to mental health, but there are also many physical benefits that will improve your quality of life.
Here are 6 physical areas you can focus on improving, by doing yoga on a regular basis.
Release Tension in Joints
Yoga cultivates a deep sense of awareness, allowing you to release stress from your body, and have a relaxed, calm, and centered mind. Working for hours at a desk can create tension in your neck, shoulders and back, causing discomfort if not addressed. Yin Yoga is a slow-paced yoga session which requires long holds on poses, allowing you to get a good stretch of your primary connective tissues, relieving aches and tensions in key joints.
Help with Migraines
A busy schedule may mean skipping one too many meals or relying on caffeine to stay focused. This can cause stress and insufficient sleep at the end of the day, which are common triggers for migraines. A 2007 study saw two groups over a 3-month period and showed patients who practiced yoga experienced reduced intensity and frequency in their headaches, compared to those in the self-care group who did not practice yoga. Although the discomfort of a migraine can be relieved by medicine, there is evidence that yoga is a great alternative to help recurring headaches.
Improve Strength and Cardiovascular Fitness
The effects of yoga are known to improve flexibility, balance, blood circulation and strength. Better mobility decreases your chances of getting injured or spraining something, meaning you can continue your physical activities. There are also great improvements to cardiovascular fitness during yoga, as oxygen intake increases through the constant breathing exercises.
15 minutes of Gentle Yoga before going to bed can be hugely beneficial to the quality of your sleep. Simple yoga-like poses such as neck rolls and shoulder rolls can help relax and loosen muscles before getting into bed, and you can even stretch your hips, legs and back to help with falling asleep faster. Wake up feeling more refreshed and ready to take on the day.
Diarrhea, constipation, and abdominal pain are some of the symptoms of IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome). Instead of going straight for the medicine to help with the discomfort, try some yoga to ease the constipation, as your body’s movements speed up the transportation of food and waste through the bowels.
Poor posture and slouching causes muscle tension in the back and joints, as well as leading to pain, breathing issues and fatigue. Not holding yourself properly can also affect how you present yourself to the world. Having good posture is crucial to being able to walk around confidently in your own body.
A steady yoga regimen will mean your ligaments, tendons and muscles will lengthen and simultaneously build strength, resulting in better posture and spinal alignment. An improved posture is recommended to those looking to reduce back pain.
At Fitness First, we understand each individual has different needs, and we have a wide selection of yoga classes to help suit you best. Designed for everyone, our yoga classes aim to promote a sense of wellbeing and fitness through your whole body, by providing guidance on how to reduce the stress and tension that comes with a fast-paced, modern life. You can check out the online livestreams of yoga and other wellness classes from our sister brand Fivelements Habitat. Click the link to access a variety of online yoga and wellness classes led by experienced teachers. Find your zen and bring out your best self.
Committed to promoting and supporting the integrity and diversity of the teaching of yoga, Fitness First Asia is a registered yoga school approved by the Yoga Alliance USA since 2007. Pregnant women or anyone with medical conditions such as high blood pressure should seek advice from their healthcare practitioners before practicing yoga.
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