Yoga is a popular way to increase flexibility, gain strength, and reduce stress. This system of physical and mental practices originated in India roughly 5,000 years ago. One translation of the word "yoga" is "union," referring to the connection of body, mind, and spirit. There are many different types of yoga that range from gentle to strenuous, but every form improves your health from head to toe, inside and out.
One of the most well-known benefits of yoga is increased flexibility. Keeping your joints, tendons, and muscles limber is essential for avoiding injuries, and for decreasing pain and tension throughout the body. Many people suffering from arthritis find relief from pain and stiffness through a regular yoga practice. The increase in flexibility also improves body alignment, creating better posture.
Yoga is known for its ability to soothe stress and anxiety. It helps to release tight muscles, and brings the body into balance. These benefits not only help you sleep better, but they result in reduced fatigue and increased energy throughout the day.
The poses (asanas) practiced in yoga utilize various muscles and movements that promote balance throughout the body. Over time, this increases your strength, stability and coordination, which can help reduce the risk of injury. Being balanced also refers to the state of equilibrium that your body can regain and maintain with regular yoga practice. When your internal systems are aligned and working together, greater health can be achieved.
All types of yoga are great for your heart! Regular practice lowers your heart rate and decreases blood pressure. Moving through asanas strengthens your heart muscle, which helps it pump blood with more efficiency and with greater amounts of oxygen. Improved cardiovascular health can greatly reduce your risk of heart disease.
Yoga develops inner awareness and mindfulness. It focuses your attention on your body's abilities at the present moment. It helps develop strength of both body and mind. For many people, yoga provides a retreat from their chaotic and busy lives.
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