Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past few years, you’ve probably taken notice of the fact that the yoga mat has recently emerged into a similar role that iPod headphones once held as the ubiquitous accessory-of-choice that also serves a functional purpose. This clearly speaks to the ever-growing popularity of yoga, which some may see simply as a passing trend that’s currently peaking. But in truth, yoga is much more, as it offers a wide range of health benefits that anyone can seize.
Yoga has been around for thousands of years, but it wasn’t until the 1980s that it began to be practiced on a large scale in the western world. Starting in 2008, though, was when yoga started to experience a major surge in popularity, to the point where nearly 9% of Americans currently practice it to some extent regularly.
There are more than 100 different types—or schools—of yoga, but most sessions typically include breathing exercises, meditation and assuming postures called asanas that stretch and flex various muscle groups. Due to the wide range of different schools, it’s possible for anyone to practice yoga regardless or their age or activity level, and Hatha yoga is generally considered best for beginners.
More than just a workout, yoga encourages a healthy overall lifestyle and focuses on the integration of mind, body and soul, and it provides both instant gratification and lasting transformation that helps many who practice it come back for more. In addition, yoga can lead to numerous health benefits, which include the following:
10 health benefits of practicing yoga
- 1) Reduces chronic pain, especially with relaxation techniques
- 2) Lowers blood pressure
- 3) Improves sleep and helps insomniacs to relax and get to sleep easier
- 4) Increases flexibility by stretching muscles
- 5) Improves muscle tone and increases strength, especially the core
- 6) Protects from injury and enhances overall athletic performance
- 7) Helps you to manage stress and develop coping skills that will lead to a more positive overall outlook on life
- 8) Helps with maintaining a balanced metabolism and weight reduction
- 9) Improves posture and body awareness
- 10) Improves respiration, energy and vitality
This list goes on, and it’s clear that yoga can be a powerful force in the lives of those who practice it. So for those of you who are considering yoga but are skeptical for one reason or another, take this a sign that you have nothing to lose, but a whole lot to gain if you give it a try. For any additional questions or for any aches or pains you might be experiencing, visit us at Dynamic Sports Physical Therapy in New York City. Call 212-317-8303 for more info or to schedule an appointment.