There’s more to fitness than lifting weights, taking on the treadmill, or signing up for spinning classes. If you’re looking to stay healthy without the strain, yoga could be the thing for you. Yoga has become incredibly popular over the last few years – just look at the number of studios, practitioners and products out there. It’s ideal for all age groups, while more and more men are taking part too. In fact, ‘yoga’ is even one of the top 15 popular words in the UK. These 10 benefits of regular yoga might help to explain why.
1. improves flexibility
Experienced yoga practitioners are known for their flexibility. But if you want the ability to contort your body into semi-impossible poses you need plenty of conditioning. Regular practice on the mat will be a huge help in extending your current range of motion.
2. increases energy
Let’s face it, we could all do with a little more energy now and then to keep up with the pace of modern life. 7 to 9 hours of sleep every night makes a good start, but many of us struggle on that front. Enter yoga. Studies have shown that some yoga poses can increase your body’s levels of cortisol, which in turn boosts your energy. And yoga also helps to relax your nervous system which leads to more restful, more energising sleep.
3. boosts your balance
When you start out, you might have to strain to hold the various poses. But over time your balance will improve and you’ll notice how much easier it is to hold position.
4. improves your posture
Bad posture can lead to all kinds of issues. Back pain, aching joint, neck problems… you name it. Yoga realigns your body and helps every part work together, so you can straighten out any potential issues before they take hold.
5. increases your strength
As you perform and hold various poses, your muscles will naturally strengthen over time. And as you begin to perform more advanced poses you’ll add more variety to your routine, so you keep surprising your muscles and keep your body working hard.
6. tones your body
Yoga also avoids the problem of increasing the size of your muscles, one of the outcomes of traditional strength training that doesn’t appeal to everybody. By using your own bodyweight as resistance, yoga is ideal for toning up without bulking up.
7. improves your respiration
A large part of yoga is paying close attention to how you breathe. Long, deep breaths will help you to expand your lung capacity. And as your lungs start functioning more effectively, it will also help to ease any respiratory conditions you might have.
8. increases your blood circulation
Low blood pressure and poor circulation can lead to organ damage. Yoga can be a big help in avoiding or counteracting the condition, working your heart and increasing your blood circulation to make sure your body receives all the oxygen and fresh blood it needs.
9. strengthens immunity
Do you easily catch a cold or flu? If so, your immune system might be letting you down. Yoga is a great way to strengthen your immunity to common ailments, because it improves so many of your bodily systems including circulatory, nervous and digestive – as well as relieving anxiety and stress. Speaking of which…
10. gives you that inner calm
Needless to say, Yoga is also good for the mind as well as the body. Regular yoga classes can help you to reach a state of inner peace by releasing positive chemicals like serotonin. The resulting calmness and clarity not only relaxes your mind but also serves to sharpen your concentration, perfect if you’ve got an important meeting or presentation later in the day.
Find your yoga on E²
The great thing about Yoga is the fact you don’t have to be an experienced zen master to make the most of the benefits on offer. Yoga is open to anyone and everyone whatever your level of fitness. These days, with such a range of styles on offer, you might want to try a few different classes to find which suits you best. And guess what? Yep. The free E² app makes it easy, letting you book classes on demand at the time and place that work for you.
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