How Yoga Keeps You Healthy

We all know that yoga is a pretty hot trend.  But, it’s not just a trend, and it’s nothing really new either.  In fact, yoga may have come into being around 500 BCE, and has shown up in some of the earliest texts out of ancient India, including the Rigveda.  Of course, recently it has come across the ocean as a sort of exciting, spiritual exercise.  Now more than ever, there are yoga studios cropping up and people becoming certified teachers.  But, what’s the appeal of yoga?  Does it keep you in shape?  Well, allow us to inform you how yoga keeps you healthy.

How Yoga Keeps You Healthy: Flexibility

When you’re asking how yoga keeps you healthy, you’re probably thinking weight loss, organ function, or heck, even chakra stuff.  But, do you think about how your flexibility is incredibly important?  After all, being inflexible can also indicate that you’re not very strong, particularly in a certain part of your body.  But, what’s more, inflexibility can lead to injury.  If you are in a car accident, for example, you’re more likely to get injured if your body refuses to bend a certain way.  Someone who is a little more flexible, say, due to regular yoga practice, may come out of a major car accident with fewer injuries.  So, how does yoga keep you flexible?

One of the aspects of yoga are the asanas.  These are positions that you put your body into, and while they have some crazy Sanskrit names, they are pretty memorable in English.  For example, “corpse pose” is one in which you lie on your back, usually at the end of a practice, and stay still (like a corpse).  Some asanas are great for flexibility, however.  For example, “cat and cow” poses require you to be on your hands and knees.  You then alternate between bending your back toward the floor and arching it up toward the ceiling.  And, this can help prevent back injuries, especially those due to inflexibility along the spine.

How Yoga Keeps You Healthy: Aerobic and Anaerobic Exercise

Some people break down types of exercise into two groups: aerobic and anaerobic.  Basically, aerobic exercise is light activity, and you can usually do it over longer periods of time.  An example could be jogging.  Anaerobic exercise is something you do in smaller spurts, like sprints.  You can’t really sustain anaerobic exercise very long, because the amount of oxygen you can consume (even breathing more quickly) cannot keep your muscles going at the same rate.

Both types of exercise are important for health.  Some people swear by interval training, which involves anaerobic exercise, because it works to burn fat faster.  However, aerobic exercise can be very beneficial, too.  Yoga usually falls into the aerobic exercise column.  For example, a normal class goes for about an hour, which is certainly sustained exercise.  And, breathing is very much a part of a common yoga class – focus is put on how much you breathe and when you breathe.  If you take any power yoga class, however, you’d quickly find out that there are moments you could not sustain.  And, that means you are losing weight and burning fat.  For most of us, that’s a key part of exercise, and plays a key role in how yoga keeps you healthy.

How Yoga Keeps You Healthy: Mental Health

Any yogi will tell you that an important part of a yoga practice is the spiritual – or at least mental – side of it.  And, many people who practice yoga practice meditation, or even consider meditation to be a part of yoga.  If you find that you have a lot of stress in your life, yoga may be an important way that you can manage that stress.  And, that’s important for health.  Stress releases a hormone called cortisol, which is bad for you in many ways – weight gain being one of them.  With the help of yoga, you may be able to keep your mental health looking up, and your cortisol levels down.  So, if you’re looking to take up a new hobby, you may want to consider yoga.  And, don’t be worried if you’re not a particularly active person.  There are types of yoga for everybody, even beginners.