The Benefits of Yoga

*By: Megan Deppen*

Photo: Jared Rice

When I was younger, I thought running was the “be all” of fitness. However, as I got older and my body could no longer take the constant pounding from running, I discovered other types of workouts that were just as beneficial to add to my exercise routine. One of those workouts is yoga.

Before I started doing yoga, my initial thought was that it would probably not be enough for me, since I was used to the high intensity workouts of running. Much to my surprise, I found yoga to be one of the most beneficial workouts you can do for your body. If you’re interested in trying yoga or wondering why you should start to incorporate it into your fitness routine, here are some reasons why you should consider it.

  • Improves Flexibility – If you need a good stretch before or after a strenuous workout or you just want to stretch your body, yoga is where it’s at. The various positions and sequences in yoga help to increase your body’s range of motion, which over time, will help increase your flexibility.
  • Strengthens and Tones Your Muscles – For those of you who think they won’t get a great workout doing yoga, think again! Some of the best toning exercises that I have done were from practicing yoga. It especially focuses on the core and arms, but it’s also a fantastic overall toning workout.
  • Helps Balance and Posture – My balance and posture aren’t the best, but doing yoga over the years has helped me improve on both of these things. Many of the poses you will do in yoga has elements of balancing, which also helps with your posture. Many of us sit in front of computers all day and tend to slouch and get rounded shoulders. Yoga can help strengthen your chest and back muscles, which is especially important as we get older and our muscles get weaker, therefore our balance and posture start to decline.
  • Improves Breathing – In yoga, there are certain breathing techniques that are incorporated into each practice. These controlled breathing techniques helps increase energy levels and help to alleviate stress, anxiety, and depression.
  • Helps Practice Mindfulness- When I was first introduced to yoga, I had some personal issues happening and I wasn’t in the best headspace. I remember thinking, how am I going to get out of this funk? Overall, working out in general helps to improve your mood and mental health, but yoga is different. It really helped me get out of my head and focus on the yoga practice itself. It was that one hour where I could forget about everything and practice my breathing techniques and mindfulness. To this day, I still remember how great I felt after my yoga practice and how it helped improve my mental state at the time.

Below are some great beginner yoga videos to check out.

Are you interested in trying yoga? Leave us a comment below!

Video: POPSUGAR Fitness
Video: MadFit
Video: POPSUGAR Fitness

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