by Tate Handy
With the explosion of yoga’s popularity over recent years, chances are the thought of taking a class and seeing how you like it has crossed your mind. You may have even heard friends who’ve tried yoga talking about the benefits it has had on their lives. But there may be more reasons to try it than even they know about. And some of these reasons could literally change your life for the better.
Here are 9 reasons to try yoga:
1.Stress Relief. No matter who you are or what you do on a daily basis, your life is sure to have stresses in it. But doing yoga reduces the physical effects that those stresses have on your body in two different ways. First, it encourages relaxation, which correlates with reduced mental stress. Second, it lowers the physical levels of cortisol, a hormone in your body that literally causes stress.
2. Improved Breathing. One of the first things you will learn in yoga class is the correct way to breath. These slower, deeper breathes increase the amount of oxygen in your blood while helping to improve the efficiency of your lungs.
3. Conditioning. Most of us have been taught that the best way to improve your conditioning is by doing standard cardio exercises like running, elliptical, swimming, and biking. But yoga can also have a positive effect on your conditioning by increasing your endurance and lowering your resting heart rate.
4. Flexibility. This is probably the most obvious benefit of yoga from the perspective of an outsider looking in, but that does not make it any less important. By stretching regularly during yoga, you will see an increased range of motion throughout many areas of your body. This has the dual benefit of making your body more flexible for everyday tasks, while also allowing you to increase the amount and difficulty of the yoga poses you are able to do.
5. Pain Relief. Have you experienced back and neck pain for most of your life? Are you suffering from arthritis? You may not realize it but you could literally be using the wrong muscles to make everyday movements. Yoga can help you ease those and other pains through the combination of physical stretching, body awareness, and mental relaxation.
6. Reduced Injury Risk. Yoga helps train your muscles both to stay loose and to do their correct job. Because of the added flexibility this causes, your body will be less susceptible to injuries ranging from muscle pulls to whiplash after a car accident.
7. Weight Loss. Yes, yoga helps you burn calories and reduce cortisol levels, both of which are extremely important when trying to lose or control your weight. Additionally, yoga classes will help you improve your eating habits by encouraging a healthier lifestyle and diet.
8. Balance.One of the clearest benefits of yoga is the effect that it has on your balance. Through the combination of practicing yoga moves and improving your core strength via regular yoga classes, you will find that your balance will become significantly better. This will benefit you in all aspects of your life.
9. Greater Focus. Do not underestimate the positive mental effects that yoga will have on your brain. The principles you will learn will help you relax, focus on the present, become more aware of your surroundings, and generally improve your outlook on life.
About The Author: Shawn Tremaine is a personal trainer and health and fitness writer, and has reviewed theChicago yoga directory. When he’s not working on helping others increase their health, he likes to spend it coaching his little boys soccer team.