AustinPUG Health

AustinPUG Health

Popular around the world, the practice of yoga has become a way to exercise, clear the mind and relax the body for millions of people around the world, evidenced by the multi-billion dollar industry that has sprung up around it in recent years.

So what is all the excitement about? While still obscure-sounding for some of us, yoga isn’t nearly as foreign or as complicated as you may think, requiring only an open mind and a body prepared to gracefully stretch, leading to improved mental and physical health on a variety of levels.

Still need convincing before you add yoga to your exercise regimen? Here are six of the unbeatable benefits of yoga:

1. Clear Your Mind

Like meditation, yoga requires you to focus on your breathing as you gracefully stretch and gently tone your muscles, leading to a clearer mind and an improved perception of your own body. While most apparent during practice, the benefits of yoga for the mind are apparent at every turn, leading to increased patience, better focus and improved thought processing.

2. Increase Flexibility

Yoga stretches your body like no other exercise can, bringing with it the promise of a gymnast’s body! You may need to practice over an extended period before you’re walking on your hands, but even a single session of yoga will make it very obvious that your muscles can bend and stretch in ways that you never thought possible.

Besides toning muscles and helping to keep you generally fit, this increased flexibility is also a wonderful way to improve your reflexes and even prevent injury by making your body better equipped to deal with unexpected pulls and bends.

3. Be Stronger

Like any exercise that puts your muscles to the test, consistent yoga practice will make you stronger, having proven to be a surprisingly effective strength-training exercise. Despite its low-key appearance, with slow, deliberate actions as opposed to quick movement or heavy lifting, yoga is praised by everyone from dieticians to professional athletes for its ability to tone existing muscle while adding to overall muscle mass.

4. Learn to Breath

You already know how to breath, of course, but yoga works to teach us the vast importance of that act which we so easily take for granted. With its strong focus on deliberate breath during practice, yoga brings to your attention the act of breathing itself, reminding you of the benefits of deep, strong intake of air and naturally leading to improved blood flow, brain function and muscle building thanks to the increased dispersal of oxygen in your body.

5. Lose Weight

Whether you’ve got a few extra pounds to lose or you’re starting out even significantly overweight, the many variations of yogic practice are each excellent ways to burn calories, helping you to metabolize excess fat more quickly and efficiently. You can start as slowly as is necessary, teaching your body these new motions, before moving into more upbeat and active sessions that will help you to really work up a sweat; no matter how you practice yoga, you can be sure that your excess fat reserves will suffer for it!

6. Relieve Stress

Because yoga requires deep focus on breath and movement, it is an instant stress reliever, helping you to forget a day’s worth of worries with only a few stretches. Studies have repeatedly shown that yoga has a measurable effect on blood pressure and heart rate, not only during practice, but even over long periods of time in regular yoga practitioners, making yoga an excellent choice for not only physical fitness, but mental health as well.

Categories: Mental health

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