The Benefits of Yoga

As humans, one of the few things we share in common concern is our bodies. More often our body image than the actual state of our body itself, but they go hand-in-hand well enough for people to be willing to try most anything to trim the fat and cut what they might consider to be a nice figure. The problem in this arena is that there are so many different ways to go about it. Between all the diets supposedly proven by science to be effective at promoting weight loss and all the exercise regimen infomercials that are on the market, it’s not only hard to determine who you can trust – it’s also hard to determine what may actually be effective.

The first thing you might want to determine is what your actual goals are. Getting in shape is sort of an umbrella term that means different things to different people. Some people want to lose weight, some people might just want to tone up. Others might want to build muscle. And others still might just want to do enough just to get blood pressure or heart rate down. Whatever your goals are, it’s very likely you’ll be doing something different from the person next to you. Not only because of different goals, but just simply because of how different each of our bodies are from each other.

One thing that many people don’t seem to take into account when they think of exercise is a yoga workout. Many people consider yoga to be that peaceful, meditative thing you do to increase flexibility and “free your mind” or whatever. And while yoga does give some of these benefits, it is often looked down upon compared to other exercises 1) because of how low-impact it is and 2) because of how low-intensity it can be. But, as long as your goal isn’t to burn a plethora of calories in a short amount of time, yoga could be a very beneficial regimen for you to consider.

In fact, the various programs of yoga can serve different benefits depending upon which one you choose. Many people are at least familiar with the basic workings of what is called hatha. It incorporates basic movements with a focus on breathing. Some might also be acquainted with the idea of bikram, or “hot yoga.” There are other forms of yoga such as vinyasa, which can be broadly likened to tai chi, as well as power, ashtanga and iyengar. Each of these vary in intensity and thus can have different benefits.

Generally speaking, however, yoga has the potential to hit upon all of the muscle groups and work practically every part of your body. It is also a great way to improve flexibility and range of motion. And while yoga doesn’t work with weights or any other sort of counterbalance, the effort required to hold yourself in several positions is a good way to build body strength. And the fact that it is a low-impact exercise regimen will have your joints thanking you. What might be the trump card for many people is that, unlike many exercise regimens that require equipment, yoga can be done from anywhere that has enough space to accommodate a yoga mat. So you can practice yoga in the privacy of your own home or in a backyard in the sunshine instead of being cooped up in a gym.

Yoga is also very practical even despite most conditions. With the flexibility of programs in the various forms of yoga, people with arthritis can still enjoy yoga. And with medical advice, those with high blood pressure, heart conditions or diabetes can still create some sort of yoga regimen. Even women who are pregnant can still practice yoga, with obvious limitations. But almost without exclusion, yoga is easily accessible, practical, and allows you to reap the benefits of high-intensity, higher-impact regimens as well.