Starting to feel that tight morning feeling in your muscles every morning?
Yeah, I feel that too.
Whether you’re an athlete or a couch potato, you’re going to get tight often and you have to find a way to take care of it as soon as possible - because there will be consequences for having tight muscles!
When you hear "yoga," you probably think of women with foam yoga mats stretching and bending. You may think that it's not strenuous when compared to weight lifting or cardio.
The truth is, however, that yoga serves a very specific role that is highly beneficial. While exercise in general is good for your body, yoga can bring you some additional benefits that make it worth checking out. It can be either at a class in a studio (when they are available) or in the privacy of your own home while watching a few workout videos.
If you're on the fence, consider these five benefits to giving yoga a try.
Yoga builds strength and flexibility
A common objection that men have against yoga is that they aren't flexible enough to start a class. But, yoga's purpose is to build flexibility. You don't have to start with the ability to do the splits or backbends - you work up to that ability. Yoga is totally accessible to beginners, even if they are entirely out of shape when they first start. By working up to the more complex movements and poses, you will eventually build a stronger and more flexible body.
If you have muscle pain or injuries, you might feel too sore to do traditional weightlifting or cardio workouts. These can be hard on the body and make the pain worsen over time if they are the source of the injury. Yoga, on the other hand, reduces your risk of injury by slowly and carefully strengthening the body through gentle movements.
The movements in yoga are largely considered to be light, though they're usually also challenging. By gently strengthening, stretching and building your joints and muscles, you may notice your muscle aches subside. These are the pains that come from everyday life, such as back pain from sitting at the office all day or standing at your workplace too long. By working to gently build up these areas, while also alleviating tension, these movements will help you to enjoy relief.
Yoga has been found to be mentally and physically healthy. Because you are moving your body, encouraging weight loss, and building strength - your physical health will improve as a result of yoga. It also encourages mental health through fostering mindfulness .
You achieve mindfulness when you focus all of your attention to the task at hand. It's a critical part of yoga practice - as you breathe and focus on slow and deliberate movements, you foster that mindfulness.
It is well-documented to provide all sorts of physical and mental benefits for you. It helps foster more awareness of your body as you eat, for example, slowing down overeating and helping with weight loss. Mindfulness works as a way to focus on emotional awareness as well, allowing you to regulate your emotions better.
The practical application is that it helps you relax in your everyday life and see things from a different perspective. For one, your anxiety levels will be much lower and you will even get a bit of a confidence boost when you realize you can touch your toes again without pain!
The adult world can be full of stress from all sorts of sources and many people lack the resources, or the awareness, to really cope with them healthily. Yoga is a popular form of stress relief because of the emphasis on mindfulness, which I mentioned earlier..
With mindfulness, you can learn to take control of your emotions. You will be able to help yourself fend off the negativity that is weighing you down while welcoming positivity and calmness into your life.
I know all of this sounds very abstract, but by starting yoga and listening to your instructor, it will open the gateway for you into meditation, which is a skill that can further decrease your stress.
In good yoga classes, there is a huge focus on combining mindfulness and breath. When your body is sore and your mind is fatigued from holding the positions too long, you have to focus your mind in order to hold positions longer.
What makes yoga challenging is that you have to hold a difficult position for a long period of time, which not only tests your balance and flexibility, but it also challenges your focus. If you lose focus, you will lose the position.
This practice of focusing to hold the position will improve your overall concentration and your mood after the class.
Very often, I find that an exhausted mind is a peaceful mind.
Yoga is known to also improve sexual performance in both men and women. If you're looking for a little boost in the bedroom, you can use yoga to benefit your sexual function.
Because yoga helps you to become more flexible and also helps to regulate blood flow, it can lead to better performance. Hopefully, we all know how hip mobility is super important for this!
As yoga increases body awareness as well, anxiety that may be felt in the bedroom may be alleviated, and blood flow will be improved to the groin.
Mindfulness will also encourage you to focus more on the moment, helping you and your partner enjoy your time even more.
Lastly, the breathing that you learn in yoga will help accentuate sensations in the bedroom. There have been many studies done about this and there are many different type of breath to experiment with.
To summarize, yoga does the following for you:
Overall, you will find that practicing yoga is not very invasive to your body like other sports and will give you a plethora of benefits! Let’s just say that the risk/reward ratio is quite high!
Words by Matt Soroka
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3 March 2021