Stress management, peace of mind, flexibility, improved sleep, and decreased physical and mental pain. Are any of these missing from your life?
Yoga has been the answer for many individuals bringing them to an elevated place in their lives. Some come to yoga seeking mental clarity, while others come to reap the physical benefits. The truth is yoga offers a combination of health and fitness benefits.
Clarity of Mind
Before I began practicing yoga regularly, I was strictly looking for the physical benefits. I was excited for the challenge of conquering some of the more difficult poses and becoming more flexible. I was taken off guard by the peace of mind and mental clearing which occurred each time I practice. The calming and focusing effect of Ujjayi breaths, which capture your thoughts while you flow from pose to pose, leave you with a renewed sense of clarity. There have been many times when I begin my practice bogged down by the stresses of work, physical ailments, hardships and by the end of my practice my mind and body have shifted into a less foggy more connected space. You will never fully understand this until you experience it yourself.
Strength and Flexibility
Yoga is designed to strengthen you from the inside out. The poses are structured to create length and balance. Both balance of strength from front to back and top to bottom. Your upper and lower body strength increase drastically as you use your own body weight to create resistance. Isometric contractions are used in most poses as you contract and hold positions. This creates strength and stability from head to toe. Your body awareness increases as well as your core strength and overall stability. Tight muscles are stretched and weak areas are strengthened. This benefit will leave you with improved posture and a decrease in injury.
Do not be intimidated by the picture of the half naked girl demonstrating a pose you have never or will never be able to get your body into. The beauty of this form of exercise is EVERYONE can do it! There are so many different types of yoga and so many variations of each pose. Choose a style that suits you. Whether you are young, old, injured, athletic, pregnant, male, female or obese there is a mat for you in any class.
For me, yoga has been the final puzzle piece to my overall fitness. I still love to teach and do intense workouts like Incline Fit at the FreeMotion Fitness Facility, but my body and mind have received so much balance from my regular yoga practice. I encourage you to try it!
Natalie Vetica, iFIT Head Trainer