In fact, yoga is designed to benefit not just your body, but your mind and thought process as well by providing a variety of meditation and stretching exercises that help you relax. While it certainly improves muscular strength, flexibility and cardiovascular strength, yoga’s benefits reach far beyond what a typical workout can deliver.
So, even if you already have a workout routine that you’re happy with, you should consider adding yoga because of how broadly it can benefit your body.
Particularly for those who might struggle with their flexibility, yoga can really help to improve other aspects of your workouts by making you more flexible.
To give a clearer picture of how yoga can help, you here are five ways it is the most beneficial:
1. Flexibility: Since yoga is primarily a series of stretches, flexibility is an obvious and primary benefit.
As we’ve already mentioned, those looking to improve flexibility should consider adding yoga simply for that fact alone. The increased flexibility you develop as a result of yoga can then translate into other types of physical activity, like other exercises or sports.
You’ll also reduce your risk of injury in other sports, since yoga stretches will tend to address nearly your entire body.
2. Posture: Posture is something that doesn’t often get discussed in casual exercise talk, but it’s extremely important if you want to get the most out of your workout and properly develop your muscles while maintaining a straight spinal column.
Yoga can help improve your posture by maintaining a straight spine and working the muscles that are responsible for poor posture in the first place.
Some might call this type of exercise as “corrective,” and can incorporate yoga or strength training, though yoga moves are a particularly effective way to improve in this area.
3. Breathing: You might find it hard to see how a stretching move could challenge your breathing, but yoga combines stretching, isometrics poses and posture, which, together can increase your heart rate and even build muscle strength.
It also forces you to control your breathing while performing the moves, which can help you while running or when engaging in other heart-strenuous activities.
4. Stress Relief: One of the reasons that yoga has become so popular is that it has become an effective tool for relieving stress and helps the mind and body to relax. While part of that is up to of how much you’re able to focus and relax your own mind, the poses are designed to help you do that and to keep your mind clear while you’re working out.
Relaxing and clearing your mind is an important component of any workout, so adding yoga to help boost that aspect of your routine is certainly a smart move, especially if you find yourself stressed out by exercise, but you still want to stay in shape.
Boosting Your Routine
Yoga can give your exercise routine a pretty significant boost since it addresses the entire body, while improving it in areas that will help you during other workouts.
If you are not already actively doing yoga, just start by including a few basic yoga moves into your workout routine and go from there. The more you’re comfortable with, the more you’ll be able to work into your exercise schedule.
Keep it simple at first and then move onto the more advanced yoga poses when you’re ready.
Virginia Cunningham is a freelance health writer for NorthWest and yoga enthusiast in Southern California. She personally practices yoga every day not only to increase her flexibility, but to keep her mind relaxed and to improve her posture. It’s something that she enjoys doing on a daily basis, and her kids love to join her as well!