Researchers have traced yoga’s roots back 5,000 years ago, but some believe it may be closer to 10,000 years old. There just might be some merit to why yoga lasted as long as it has and is only gaining in popularity. This piece discusses some of yoga’s benefits and provides some insight to help you get started.
Benefits of Yoga
When you practice yoga, you stretch and strengthen your muscles as you move your body through different poses and hold them. As a result, your muscles become more resilient to injury. Since you must remain stationary for certain positions, sometimes on one foot, you improve your balance. You also enhance flexion and function in various body parts. For athletes, these advantages can be particularly beneficial. Certain poses can ease pain and optimize function and flexion for people with back or joint pain.
While yoga offers its share of musculoskeletal benefits, it’s also helpful for stress relief, which can assist you in receiving a better night’s sleep.
Often, as noted by John Hopkins Medicine, yoga can increase mental and physical energy. After completing this practice regularly, you may be more alert. Yoga might even help you experience fewer negative thoughts or feelings.
By participating in yoga regularly, you may ward off certain chronic health conditions, including high blood pressure and heart disease, since engaging in yoga decreases certain risk factors. Through yoga, those with asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease may reap the reward of some symptom relief.
Talk to Your Doctor
Before you begin a yoga regimen, consult with your physician. Although this practice is generally safe for most, certain people are at risk for injuries or complications. Your doctor may recommend you avoid certain poses and can suggest other ways to make yoga safe for you. Some conditions that may interfere with performing yoga include:
- Risk of blood clots
- Herniated disc
- Balance issues
- Uncontrolled high blood pressure
- Severe osteoporosis
- Glaucoma or other eye conditions
If you recently experienced an injury, you may also need to alter your routine.
Conduct Some Research
Fortunately, once you’re ready to begin, you can find a wealth of resources to help, such as videos, blogs and books. However, if you’d like a more personal experience, you may find classes for all skill levels to help you get started. You can then learn from an experienced yogi how to breathe properly and perform poses correctly, along with other tips.
Research the types of yoga. One may appeal to you more than the others. For instance, Ashtanga is a fast-paced, more physically demanding form, while Yin yoga is a slower, more meditative form.
Get the Necessary Equipment
Purchase comfortable, nonrestrictive clothing, so you can move freely. You can buy a yoga mat, but it can wait until you’re sure you want to continue practicing yoga. You may even take a class without a yoga mat.