Friday, January 15, 2016

Benefit from yoga in many ways. Here's a few

People turn to yoga because they recognize the value of strength training but are uncomfortable or nervous about lifting weights. The various poses performed in yoga can increase muscle strength and tone, providing similar benefits to weightlifting without forcing women to spend time among men in the weight room. But yoga does more than improve strength and muscle tone. The following are a few additional benefits of yoga, some of which may surprise even the most devoted of practitioners.

*Improved flexibility: Some people are intimidated by yoga because they feel their bodies simply aren't flexible enough to perform many of the poses typical of the average yoga class. While beginners may find the poses difficult, they are designed to safely stretch muscles. Over time, the poses may release lactic acid that builds up in muscles, and that lactic acid often contributes to fatigue, pain, stiffness, and tension. This release leads to improved flexibility, and like many physical activities, yoga poses become easier to perform as practitioners' bodies become more accustomed to them.

* Increased range of motion: Joint pain does not discriminate based on age or gender, and many sufferers of joint pain find it debilitating at times and at least mildly painful most of the time. But yoga can improve lubrication in the joints, increasing one's range of motion.

*Improved posture: The stronger, more flexible body that yoga often creates also contributes to better posture. Many yoga poses rely on the deep abdominal muscles to help maintain each pose, and this strengthens the body's core. A stronger core increases the likelihood that a person will stand straight and tall, an improvement in posture that many nonpractitioners would enthusiastically embrace.

*Reduced stress levels: Yoga practitioners often tout the effect that yoga has on their stress levels. Certain styles of yoga employ deep breathing techniques that force the mind to focus on breathing, and that focus has a calming effect, reducing stress as a result. Other yoga styles may employ meditative practices that aim to clear the mind of distractions that contribute to stress.  

*Heart health: People with a personal or family history of heart disease may be surprised to learn that yoga has been shown to have a positive effect on those dealing with heart disease. Yoga also has been linked to lower cholesterol and a healthier immune system.

To experience the benefits of yoga yourself, drop by Redefining Yoga and Pilates in Windham. <

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