The Benefits of Yoga – Is it for me?
Yoga is for everyone! It doesn’t matter if you are physically challenged, extremely athletic or somewhere in between. The ancient art and science of yoga focuses on your natural tendency toward health and self-healing, and creates strength, awareness and harmony in mind, body and spirit. It is helpful for everyone, regardless of age and ability.
The relaxation techniques incorporated in yoga can lessen chronic pain, such as lower back pain, arthritis, headaches and carpal tunnel syndrome. Yoga can also lower blood pressure and reduce insomnia. Other physical benefits of yoga include:
- Increased flexibility
- Increased muscle strength and tone
- Improved respiration, energy and vitality
- Maintaining a balanced metabolism
- Weight reduction
- Cardio and circulatory health
- Improved athletic performance
- Protection from injury
Aside from the physical benefits, one of the best benefits of yoga is how it helps a person reduce stress, which is known to have devastating effects on the body and mind. Stress can show up in many ways, including back or neck pain, sleeping problems, headaches, drug abuse, and an inability to concentrate. Yoga can be very helpful in developing coping skills and reaching a more positive outlook on life.
Yoga’s incorporation of meditation and breathing can help improve mental, emotional and spiritual well-being. Regular yoga practice creates mental clarity and calmness; increases body awareness; relieves chronic stress patterns; relaxes the mind; centers attention; and sharpens concentration. Self-awareness is particularly beneficial, because it can help with early detection of physical problems and allow for early preventive action and healing.
Whether you’re a couch potato, a parent, a business person or a professional athlete, size and fitness levels do not matter because there are modifications for every yoga pose and beginner, restorative and chair yoga classes are also available. The idea is to explore and expand your limits, learning to let go more deeply, not to strive for some pretzel-like perfection. It is a great way to get in tune with your body and your inner self.
-Excerpts taken from an article by Natalie Nevins, DO
A board-certified Osteopathic Family Physician and certified Yoga instructor in Hollywood, California