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Yoga – The Benefits Of Becoming A Human Pretzel

Written by Courteney

Posted on February 27, 2016 at 4:48 pm

What Is Yoga All About?

It seems like all we hear these days is “yoga, yoga, yoga!” Upon investigation, there are many good reasons for that. Yoga has a plethora of wellness benefits: it can enhance personal spirituality, help physical ailments, as well as aid in mental health and healing. But what exactly is it?

Yoga is an ancient mind-body practice that originated in India thousands of years ago. Today it is considered one of the best approaches to fitness and wellness, as it aims to discipline and align the mind, body and soul to help you achieve comprehensive peace, spirituality and balance while fabulously shaping your body.

Choices, Choices, Choices!

There are many different forms, styles, and levels of yoga to choose from such as Ashtanga or Bikram yoga. As it is often referred to as a tree with roots, limbs and flowers, yoga also has six branches:

  1. Hatha yoga: focuses on breathing and postures
  2. Raja yoga: a strict practice of the “eight limbs of yoga”
  3. Karma yoga: a form which focuses on reciprocation of positive energy
  4. Bhakti yoga: centered around positive emotional and mental wellbeing
  5. Jnana yoga: an intellectually-based practice
  6. Tantra yoga: promotes stronger spiritual connections within relationships

According to the Mayo Clinic’s feature on yoga, a great form for beginners and stress management is Hatha yoga because of its steady pace, breathing teachings and versatility.

Make Yoga Work for Your Body

One of the reasons yoga has been so broadly accepted as one of the foremost forms of fitness is because it caters to people of all different fitness levels and capabilities. When you join a yoga class, you are guided through breathing tips and safe ways to partake in the postures. Your instructor will also express the importance of going at your own pace and not pushing something that doesn’t feel right. It is the type of activity that you have control over, as you can modify poses that are outside your range of ability as you see fit. After taking a few classes and getting some proper instruction on how to safely perform yoga, many people even practice in a dedicated area of their home instead of venturing out to a class.

Health Benefits of Stretching It Out

There are almost boundless health benefits to practicing yoga. According to the American Osteopathic Association, some of the frontrunners include:

  • Increased flexibility and muscle strength
  • Balancing your body and metabolism
  • Weight loss and toning
  • Benefits to those with respiratory conditions (such as asthma) by helping to regulate and promote deep breathing, forcing stale air out of the lungs
  • Minimizing chronic fatigue by increasing energy and vitality
  • Cardiovascular benefits – helping to decrease inflammation around the heart in those with chronic heart problems
  • Helping decrease chronic pain such as back pain when practiced safely
  • Minimizing stress and promoting metal wellbeing
  • Decreasing anxiety through meditative practices

Precautions To Be Mindful Of

Yoga has been proven as one of the much safer methods of exercise, but as with anything, it can still be dangerous for people with certain conditions. If you are pregnant or have a herniated disc, history of blood clots, vertigo, severe osteoporosis or other forms of arthritis or uncontrolled blood pressure, you should talk to your doctor (or one of our qualified DocChat physicians) today to see if yoga will be safe for you to practice.

All in all, yoga has so many mental and physical wellness benefits that it can be life-changing. Seems to me that it is well worth a try! Namaste from DocChat!

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