Yoga and Fitness

“Yoga is the fountain of youth. You’re only as young as your spine is flexible” – Bob Harper

Yoga is all about physical, mental, and spiritual discipline and attempts to use meditation to attain spiritual insight and tranquility. The relationship between yoga and fitness has been proved beyond doubt and more and more people are realizing the importance of yoga in the super stressful lives we all lead these days. Yoga brings about a harmonious balance in your body and rejuvenates the soul. The main focus of yoga is to attain a balance in your body and thus relieve your body of all ailments. Yogic postures enhance joint and muscle flexibility in a natural way and also make your body more immune to diseases, thus helping you keep your body and mind fit. Meditation is a key element of yoga and it helps you delve into the depths of self knowledge.

If you are new to the concept of yoga, you must be wondering what kind of positive changes it brings about to your body and how it helps you lead a peaceful life. Read on to find out the key benefits yoga has to offer.

Pain Relief – Regular practice of yogic asanas can ease body aches, especially the ubiquitous back ache, to a large extent. It is also said to help tackle conditions such as asthma, digestive disorders, diabetes, arthritis, and chronic fatigue.

Flexibility – You will notice a good improvement in the flexibility of your body with regular yoga practice. Yoga is said to lengthen ligaments and tendons thus making your body more flexible.

Stress Relief – Yoga aids in reducing your stress levels and helps you relax. In today’s hectic lifestyle, this relaxation technique helps us fight stress in its own simple ways.

Strength – Yoga increases your overall body strength as many postures in yoga involve all our body muscles.

Weight Management – In the long term, yoga also helps in weight control by reducing your cortisol levels which in turn promotes burning extra fat. Thus yoga can help you achieve your overall fitness goals by toning your body.

Breath Control – Yoga teaches us how to take slow, deep breaths through pranayama, which enhances lung function and increases breath control. This is particularly helpful for people who suffer from breathing problems.

Circulation - Yoga enhances blood circulation in our body and hence can be beneficial for people suffering from hypertension.

Focus – Yoga also helps in enhancing concentration and memory apart from boosting your mood and keeping you zestful.

Cardiovascular Conditioning – Yogic postures promote oxygen intake and hence helps in lowering the heart rate.

Mental Peace – Practicing asanas, meditation, and pranayama regularly reduces anxiety, provides relaxation and hence an inner peace, which is one of key benefits of practicing yoga. It slows down ageing by keeping the body lubricated and clean. It imparts mental clarity, calmness and enhanced body awareness.

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Dos and Don’ts
As with anything in life, there are some dos and donts to keep in mind while practising yoga. The important ones are listed below:

  • Avoid eating 2 to 3 hours before a yoga session. Doing yoga, or any work out for that matter, on full stomach can give you nausea and cramps.
  • Before starting a yoga session, stretch up a bit, lie down quietly and take a few deep breaths.
  • If you suffer from any medical condition or injuries, skip poses that will aggravate your condition.
  • Avoid using mobile phones during yoga practice so as to maintain peace during your session.
  • Have a cause or goal in your mind, on which you can focus while practicing yoga. This improves focus.
  • Be quiet and calm throughout the session.
  • Always use a mat and don’t practise yoga on the floor
  • Once the session is over, take time to reflect on the asanas you practiced and their benefits for future use.
  • Last but not the least, do not push your body too hard. Do what you can rather than forcing your body to do some tough posture perfectly right from day 1. You may injure yourself by doing that. Give yourself some time and love what you do so that it becomes a rewarding experience.

By practising yoga the right way, you will be in a better position to understand the intricate bonding between yoga and fitness of your body, mind and soul.

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