Most of us probably spend our days sitting at a computer. Whenever I spend a whole day in a library I find myself sitting in a really bad posture several times a day. And when I leave, I realize how stiff my body feels, how much my back and shoulders ache and how I can barely focus on anything anymore. I feel like my blood circulation has slowed down significantly and I’m in a serious need of fresh air.
Earlier I would probably have headed out for just a run or a workout at gym and not paid any attention to stretching, slowing down and breathing. Today I know how different workouts can support one another – you can’t compromise strength for flexibility or the other way around because you really need them both. However, the most important thing is that you enjoy what you are doing.
Anyway, to the point of this post: what are the real benefits of yoga (or some of them because there are so many)?
Improved flexibility and muscle strength
It’s not true that yoga is just about sitting in a lotus-pose and meditating. There are so many different varieties for everyone, even to those seeking more physical exercise. For example vinyasa flow and ashtanga are quite physical forms focusing on dynamic flows and binding the movements and successions together with breath.
It’s also not true that you should be very flexible to try yoga. I have always been very lazy when it comes to stretching (I regret it now and every time I’m experiencing some back pains) but I know that yoga will improve my flexibility along the way. The best part is that I don’t feel like I’m stretching when I’m doing practising. Also, all the cool looking poses and asanas shouldn’t be the goals but rather means of making you feel better. Learning them gradually will improve your patience, strength and flexibility along the way.
Yoga helps you to focus
Practising regularly will help you to focus. Why? Because the most important thing about yoga is the breath. And when you try yoga for the first time you really have to push your mind to focus on your breathing. And whenever you are practising your mind will probably start wandering a bit until you realise it was breath that you were supposed to be focusing on. Breathing right doesn’t only improve your ability to concentrate but it also has a meditative effect on your mind and it helps you to relax. And did you know that breathing is one of the best ways to detox our bodies?
Yoga improves your posture and increases blood flow
Especially twisting poses, backbends and forward bends improve your posture and help to tackle back pains. They also help to protect your spine and bring more flexibility to it. Twisting poses, inverted poses and asana flows increase the blood flow which brings more oxygen to your cells and makes you feel more energetic and happy. Also, the higher levels of serotonin due to consistent practice make you feel happier and help to tackle depression.