If you are conditioned to believe that yoga is not for you because you “don’t bend” or you “just aren’t into that sort of thing,” then please, keep reading.
There is a saying in yoga: “Go where your yoga meets you today.” What does that mean, exactly? It means that just because you can’t touch your toes doesn’t mean you can’t do yoga. Even the most experienced yoga practitioners won’t have the exact same workout twice. And for you beginners, like any other new activity, sport or hobby, you have to start somewhere. After every yoga session, your body will be able to do a little more than the time before. Over time, like any physical practice, the measureable results will be revealed.
Yoga focuses on three main components: mindfulness, physical movements, and breath. Through the regular practice of yoga poses (asanas) the health benefits are reaped from head to toe, and include improved concentration, sleep and energy levels, as well as increased muscle tone, joint flexibility, balance, and weight loss. The breathwork in yoga (which, simplified, merely amounts to remembering to breathe deeply, slowly and regularly throughout the poses) has been shown to help both blood pressure and resting heart rate.
Yoga: A Complement to Any Type of Training
Yoga’s emphasis on stretching and flexibility result in strengthening— not just to muscles, but to joints and tendons as well. This is precisely why yoga is fast becoming a training mode for every category of athlete, from high school wrestlers to college swimmers to professional basketball and football players. Think about it: What athlete from any sport, or discipline couldn’t benefit from added flexibility, core strength, balance, and concentration?
The beauty of yoga is that if you are looking for purely a physical release, and a quick workout that can wake up your joints, muscles and tendons, yoga can help. You don’t have to be confined to a dimly lit room with soft music and a yoga mat. Of course, those elements will add the benefit of relaxation and more of a de-stressing component, but if you just need a good s-t-r-e-t-c-h and to get your blood flowing, yoga poses can be performed anywhere that you have enough room to lay down and stretch your arms out to your sides. Yes, this means even in front of the TV. Watching your favorite show? Get on the ground and do a series of five poses, holding each several minutes. This “Yin Yoga” practice, which calls for holding poses for 3 – 5 minutes or longer, especially targets connective tissues such as ligaments and tendons, as well as bones and joints that are not typically targeted during more active yoga sessions.
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