Thirty years ago, if you were out running, people would stop their cars and ask you if you wanted a ride somewhere. The thought that you were running for any other reason apart from being late was unimaginable. Fast forward to today and gyms everywhere are full with sweaty millennials stepping to the beat of Beyonce or Kygo.
Something similar has been happening with Yoga more recently. It’s hard to walk for more than a few blocks in most large cities without coming across a yoga studio. There are more than 20 million yogis in the country, which is about 1/6 adults! You are probably reading this because you’re not quite sure why this is happening and if they know something that you don’t. They can’t all be hippies, right? Or all trying to learn how to do a headstand?
As it turns out, yoga has a number of wide-ranging benefits and is probably something that each and every one of us stands to gain a lot from. Not only can it be a great workout, it’s also very useful for preventing and managing chronic conditions like pain, obesity, asthma, IBS, fatigue and insomnia. Here are our favorite reasons to do yoga and why you should give it a try too!
1. Flexibility and mobility: Yoga uses the weight of one’s body to help stretch out our muscles and ligaments. Over time, this makes them more pliable. This increases the range of motion that’s available to us and also reduces the risk of injury while working out or even just walking around, bending over and lifting heavy objects.
2. Posture: Yoga is great for the posture. It strengthens a number of muscle groups including your glutes, core, middle and upper back and neck. It opens the chest up and with some repetition, really teaches you and your body how to maintain an upright and healthy posture.
3. Stress Relief: Yoga is the ultimate stress relief activity. Whatever you’re worked up about will bother you a lot less after a nice session of yoga. With time and as your focus improves, you’ll feel cumulative benefits, making you more resistant to stress.
4. Breathing: Yoga trains you how to breathe more deeply and rhythmically. This improves the circulation of blood in your body, brings more oxygen into the lungs and hence can be very beneficial for conditions like asthma.
5. Concentration and focus: When you practice yoga consistently, you start to notice a lot of subtleties in the postures. Holding and rotating different muscle groups simultaneously while also balancing your body requires a very high degree of concentration. As you improve your ability to focus in yoga, you begin to notice effects outside of yoga as well.
6. Strength: Yoga is also a great strength training workout. Unlike lifting weights, it tends to work smaller muscles groups and as such, it’s a great complement to most traditional gym routines. This is also why very strong athletes can find yoga pretty challenging when they first try it out.
7. Stamina: More aerobic types of yoga like Vinyasa, Ashtanga and Bikram/Power Yoga also require a lot of stamina as you hold and move through poses. It may not seem like cardio at first, but it totally can be!
8. Balance: Yoga develops our balance and makes us much less likely to fall. This is especially important as we get older, but also helpful for us all!
9. Sleep: Yoga helps calm down your parasympathetic nervous system, making it much easier to fall into restful sleep.
10. Mind-body connection: Last but definitely not the least, yoga helps you develop a stronger mind-body connection. You become more aware of sensations in your body, and thereby your feelings. Over time, you also learn how to quieten your mind, much like in meditation.
Try out the yoga sequences on the Vivo App! You’ll start to feel the benefits in a very short period of time!