Yoga has been around for thousands of years, originally designed as a path to spiritual enlightenment.
Today, Hatha yoga has become a popular form of exercise and stress management.
There are many different types of yoga of varying difficulty, but each one consists of structured poses (asanas) practice with breath awareness (pranayama).
Research has shown that regular yoga practice can produce many health benefits, including increased fitness, reduced stress levels and increased feelings of happiness and well-being. This is in part due to the meditative quality of yoga practice.
Health benefits may include:
Cardiovascular: yoga postures rely on holding tension for short periods of time. This improves cardiovascular fitness and circulation. Regular practice may even normalize blood pressure.
Digestive: improved circulation and the massaging effect of surrounding muscles speeds up sluggish digestion.
Musculoskeletal: joints are moved through full range of motion encouraging mobility and reducing tension. This releases muscle and joint tension, stiffness and increases flexibility. Holding asanas builds strength and endurance. Weight-bearing postures may help those with osteoporosis. Long-term benefits include reduced back pain and improved posture.
Nervous system: improving circulation, easing muscle tension and focusing the mind on the breath all help to soothe the nervous system. Long term benefits include: less stress, anxiety and fatigue, improved concentration and energy levels and increased feelings of calm and well-being
When you step on the mat, there are a few important things to consider:
Yoga practice is individual – it is about you and no one else. It is not a competition. But it is about personal growth – physically and mentally.
Yoga postures or movements should never cause pain. Work within your limits, knowing when to push yourself and when to back off. If you are unsure speak to your teacher or consult with your physiotherapist.
If you are over 40 and haven’t exercised for awhile, consult with your doctor before starting an exercise program
Find a class and a teacher that works for you. If you go to a class and are put off by the teacher or studio, do some more research or talk to a friend, find someone or somewhere else that works for you.
Think of giving Yoga a go? Or interested in learning more?
Check out our Yoga and Pilates pages for details on when our next courses start!
We hope to see you on the mat soon!