Yoga is an amazing way to increase strength and flexibility. Many people are under the misconception that yoga is limited to individuals who are looking to meditate, but this is absolutely false. Just about anyone from a child to their grandparents can benefit from this exercise. There are various types of yoga exercises available, with some geared towards relaxation, and many others focused on learning poses, usually referred to as asana- defined as “posture;” its literal meaning is “seat.” There are other techniques that call attention to breathing.
Yoga works by stretching your muscles, leaving you feeling less stiff and tired. Some practices, such as Ashtanga and power yoga, are much more physical than other styles, such as lyengar or hatha. While ashtanga and power yoga both work at increasing muscle tone, lyengar and hatha can still enhance strength and endurance. Poses such as the plank or upward dog has the ability to build upper body strength, while the standing poses, if held long enough, can strengthen the hamstrings, quads, and abs. When done properly, most poses build core strength in the abdominal muscles. Studies show that many people noticed that their flexibility increased by 35% in just 8 weeks.
A better night’s sleep is just another perk enjoyed amongst yogi. According to a study from Harvard, eight weeks of daily yoga fundamentally improved sleep quality. Another study showed that practicing yoga twice each week helped cancer survivors sleep better, leaving them feeling less fatigued. Mitchel Bleier, a yoga teacher of 18 years and owner of Yogapata in Connecticut says, “Sleep issues are like anxiety. Your head can’t stop spinning, and you don’t know how to relax. Breathing and mental exercises allow the mind to slow down, so you’re going to start to see yourself sleep better.”
What else are you waiting for? Roll out those Yoga Mats and Relax!