Regardless of how many workout trends have come and gone, yoga has survived for thousands of years for a very good reason: it offers a number of benefits that other exercises do not. In addition to helping with weight loss, yoga is excellent for stress management–practicing this ancient activity can help you develop a more toned body and a calmer state of mind.
Devoting time to yoga can help you gradually build strength in your arms, core and lower body. If you put a lot of effort into yoga, you are likely to walk away from an hour-long session just as sweaty as you would after Zumba or any other aerobic activity. Bikram yoga can be especially intense, as the sessions are done in a room heated to 95 degrees or higher.
If you give yoga enough time, then the weight loss benefits will begin to show. However, because yoga is so gentle, it’s also appropriate for people of any age and fitness level, which means it can be a great way to exercise as you work to keep your muscles and bones strong during anti-aging therapy.
A toned body is just one benefit that yoga offers. Yoga focuses on slow movements and deep, calming breathing, and because of this, it can calm the mind, improve mood and leave you feeling mentally reinvigorated.
Yoga can provide mental benefits like:
- Improved concentration
- Better management of depression and anxiety
- Reduced stress
- Improved mood
The best way to begin practicing yoga is to take a class. Though yoga is accessible to beginners, there are many different styles, and it uses terminology that can be confusing to newcomers. Finding a good instructor at your gym or a local studio will help you get acquainted to the practice and learn some basic yoga moves, called poses. Each pose is designed to target certain areas of your body and nervous system, stimulating your senses and triggering a stress release.
To continue improving your skills at home, you can begin practicing the poses and sequences of poses you learn in class. You can also find many instructional yoga videos online, which will walk you through routines designed to help in a variety of ways. Certain routines use twisting followed by opening poses to release tension from the body, while other routines focus on rapid breathing or balancing for core strength development. Some are intended to help you wake up in the morning; others are designed to help you calm down to get to sleep at night.
When you’re looking for a yoga routine, think about your own needs and find one that will help you the most. More physical routines may be best if weight loss is your goal, but simple breathing exercises and gentle poses may be more appropriate if you’re looking for stress relief.