July 12, 2013
Why Try Yoga?

The benefits of yoga are endless, but I wanted to look at five main benefits that anyone can gain from doing yoga.

Flexibility- Most people do not spend enough time working on flexibility. As you age, your flexibility will decrease unless you work on it regularly. In a perfect world, we should all do some stretches every single day, but I know that is not going to be the case, so working on flexibility 3-5 days a week is going to be ideal. Going to a yoga class allows you to be lead correctly through total body movements that will let you work on optimal mobility in your muscles and joints.

Strength- People sometimes just think of yoga as stretching, breathing, and laying on a mat, but you can gain strength through doing yoga as well. Poses consist of total body movements that are held in positions for extended periods, challenging your muscles and balance. When muscles are challenged to this fatigue point that is when the strength gains are made.

Balance- A strong core is essential in developing good balance and the total body poses in yoga rely on the strength of your core as an essential component to be able to perform the poses correctly. The transverse abdominis is engaged in all the poses to offer core support. It originates in the lower torso, supporting all the organs while stabilizing your trunk. Focusing on proper engagement of the transverse abdominis can help daily activities such as: carrying groceries, picking up kids, getting in and out of your car. Having this strong core, which can be developed through yoga, your balance will also greatly improve. If you have the strength to stabilize your torso, you will be able to better control your external limbs through a range of motion.

Decrease Stress- First of all, the setting of a yoga class is bound to decrease your stress. Think of a yoga classroom, the lights are dim, there is peaceful music playing and the voice of the instructor is calming. It’s not too often that we are in this type of setting in the real world. In addition to the calm, peaceful setting that yoga offers it can help you relax by focusing on purposeful breathing, stretching tight or tense muscles and it gives your body a way to channel your stress from the day into something productive.

Improve Posture- How often do you remind yourself to pull those shoulders back during the day? Or to stand/sit up straight? Yoga is a great class to teach you better posture. In yoga, you need to be very aware of your body position. Shoulders should be down and back away from your ears, belly button in to keep the core tight etc. These techniques are great to utilize during your daily activities even if you are just sitting at a desk. I always tell clients that being aware is half the battle. If you aren’t aware that you need to adjust your posture, then you won’t correct yourself throughout the day. Going to a yoga class helps make you aware. The instructor will encourage and correct body alignment to the optimal position, so with these reminders you will relax that upper back at work, bring those shoulders away from your ears and maybe even take a moment to stretch out those tight chest muscles.



Written by Erin Hauch

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