Yoga is an excellent form of exercise for people of all ages, body types and backgrounds. It does not require specialized equipment, just a calm space, loose clothes and perhaps a mat, making it accessible to almost anyone. It has many health benefits – here are a few of them.
This is perhaps the most obvious benefit of yoga, though flexibility is not actually the aim of the practice. Rather, yoga is about strength and control. You should never push yourself to stretch further than is comfortable when doing yoga, but eventually, after repeated sessions, you may find that the flexibility in muscles such as the hamstrings, calves and lower back increase.
Doing yoga will also teach you to be more aware of your posture, as many poses are difficult or impossible if not starting with the correct stance. Many people spend a lot of time sitting at desks, giving little thought to the way they hold their backs and arms. Even after just one class with a professional, you should be able to notice what you're doing with your body in different positions and adjust to make yourself more comfortable in the long term.
More Control of Your Balance
There are many yoga poses designed to practice balance, and of course the more you do them, the more control you will have of your balance. This can be especially helpful for people with vertigo, disequilibrium or inner ear infections that cause disturbances to their sense of balance.
Deeper and More Restful Sleep
Studies have shown that regular yoga practice can result in better quality sleep, which in turn leads to lower levels of stress and higher alertness. There is one particular kind of yoga – yoga nidra – which is specifically aimed at full-body relaxation to allow the nervous system time to fully relax and unwind, and can be employed just before bed to help you fall asleep.
Lower Blood Pressure
Other scientific research has shown that doing yoga can lower the blood pressure of sufferers of hypertension significantly after just three months. High blood pressure can eventually lead to heart attacks, strokes or kidney disease, more conventional treatment for which almost always involves medicines such as diuretics or beta-blockers. It's well worth considering yoga as a treatment for hypertension if it's something you suffer from now or are likely to in the future.
Not only a great all-round form of exercise that will increase your general level of fitness, yoga also benefits your overall health. If you start by doing a few basic poses for twenty minutes a day at home or at a beginner’s class once a week, you’ll notice the positive effects of yoga right away.