Wednesday, October 14, 2020

Why Choose Yoga For Your Exercise Program.

I try to incorporate Yoga a couple times a week, especially on days that I don't want to do anything too energetic.  I started doing yoga when a friend suggested I take it up because it had helped her tremendously so I found a couple DVD's to use at home.  Although at first glance, it doesn't look like it will do much but it's been found that yoga burns calories, tone muscles, and combines strengthening with stretching.

Yoga is not just yoga, instead there are many types which is why you need to check out a variety of ones to see which one works for you.  The most well known ones begin with Hatha yoga which is the one people picture in their minds when they hear the word yoga. Haha yoga pairs a series of movements with breathing while Vinyasa uses a series of move that flows from one into the next.  Then there is Power which combines moves into a fast, high intensity practice designed to build muscle and Bikram is made up of a series of 26 challenging poses done in a hot room.  Finally is the Iyengar yoga that relies on blocks, straps, and chairs to help the body move into proper alignment.  Some of these are slow and easy gentle while others are more demanding.

Yoga general works most parts of your body.  There are poses which work almost every core muscle in the body. Yoga is designed to help people build arm strength using only the weight of their bodies.  In addition, most poses work  leg muscles including the quadriceps, hips, and thighs.  Certain moves such as the warriors poses, squats, and ridges which help shape the rear and other moves stretch the back muscles. 

So what are the advantages of using yoga for one's overall health.  Yoga can help improve flexibility because many poses stretch muscles while increasing the range of motion.  Yoga by itself is not considered aerobic exercise unless you are doing one of the faster ones such as power yoga.  Since some poses such as Downward Facing Dog require you to hold up your body weight using arms and legs, it improves the strength of both because it builds muscle.  Finally, it allows people to participate in a safe low impact workout.

Yoga is considered good exercise for people who have diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, or high cholesterol but it is recommended one add in some aerobic exercise for its benefits.  It is also suggested one check with the doctor before beginning yoga to determine if some moves are better to do than others for any conditions they have.  Although yoga is not necessarily high impact, it does help people relieve stress while being in the moment.  

I told you my friend used yoga for her back, I started yoga to help keep my balance so I wouldn't loose it as I age.  It has been shown that yoga can help improve both physical and emotional balance and one study showed that if teenagers practice five minutes of yoga a day, they can cut down on the probability of twisting an ankle by 77%. There are three areas that yoga focuses on to help with balance. The first is alignment because the body has to be in line especially in line with gravity to be able to balance.  Second, it uses strength to get into and hold the body alignment while making some adjustments as necessary.  Finally, yoga requires our attention to keep the body aligned so we can continue balancing.

Iyenger and Hatha yogas provide the best moves to improve balance because the moves are slower and allow people time to think about the move.  As mentioned earlier, yoga is for all ages and even if you are older, it is possible to start practicing yoga since there are versions that can be done while sitting in a chair.  Let me know what you think, I'd love to hear.  Have a great day.

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