Yoga is a discipline which connects the body and mind by combining poses with breathing, concentration and relaxation exercises.
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This practice provides both physical and mental benefits.
The main advantage of yoga? Strengthening the body!
By practicing yoga, the muscles are worked statically, concentrating on aligning the body in yoga poses. Using gravity to help with poses helps to ground yourself and keep your balance. Poses target different parts of the body for a varied muscle workout: the abs, back, arms or legs. Other poses like the warrior pose use all the muscles in the body.
Yoga particularly helps to strengthen the core muscles in the back and abdomen which help to stabilize our bodies and keep good posture. Strengthening them thus helps to improve posture and prevent back pain.
In yoga, the repetition of poses and regular practice, as well as controlling breathing, helps to improve flexibility. This is not innate and can be acquired through simple practice. Breathing correctly gradually relaxes the body, helping it to become more flexible. It prevents any discomfort during stretches, which can sometimes be intense, and limits tension in the body.
The flexibility acquired through practicing yoga helps to improve mobility, increase range of motion and to feel more comfortable in your everyday movements. Increasing the flexibility of our muscles and tendons also limits the risk of injury during fitness activities.
More than just a sport, yoga is a time to reflect on yourself, a short break to relax and experience moments of serenity in our everyday lives.
The main way of achieving this is through the breathing exercises (pranayama) in yoga that help to relax the mind and reduce stress. The breathing techniques used have multiple benefits: they can sometimes be calming, sometimes invigorating and sometimes balancing
Concentrating on breathing and balancing poses, which require stability and anchoring, enable you to focus on the present moment, the here and now, and forget everything else around us. This distancing of ourselves from our everyday lives helps us to take a step back from our worries and problems, and instill a sense of letting go.
In addition to strengthening the body and providing a well-deserved rest, yoga is beneficial for your health. Firstly, working on your breathing helps to manage stress and anxiety, which can impact on the quality of your sleep. The mental and breathing exercises relax the mind and help to eliminate negative emotions to promote healing sleep. And better sleep means better quality of life!
And finally, some yoga poses also provide a sort of gentle massage for our internal organs, also revitalizing the rest of the body by helping the energy circulate better. So, by teaching us to breathe better, yoga also helps improve blood circulation and thus improve the function of our internal organs. As a result, it helps to strengthen the immune system and increase your general health.
The benefits of yoga, whether you practice gentle or dynamic yoga, should no longer be a mystery to you!
So, get yourself to a yoga mat in a gym or at home and practice as much as you can!