What Are the Health Benefits of Yoga? The Answer May Surprise You.
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It is simply a myth that yoga is only for relaxation and meditation. While there are yoga classes that focus on meditation and relaxation, they are a minority of the yoga practices available. Yoga is a form of exercise that offers a number of health and fitness benefits.
Glenda Twining, Cooper Fitness Center yoga instructor and author of multiple yoga books explains the health benefits of yoga and how to use yoga to strengthen your core.
What are the health benefits of yoga?
Yoga offers numerous health and fitness benefits, including:
- Promoting weight loss through increased cardiovascular efficiency. To burn calories, you have to get your heart rate up. A yoga class can get your heart rate up to between 145 and 155 beats per minute. Increasing heart rate during exercise is key to burning calories and improving cardiovascular health.
- Strengthening, sculpting and toning the body. Yoga creates long, lean muscles through a focus on constant movement and stretching. You won’t bulk up doing yoga, but you will get stronger!
- Increasing flexibility and posture. Core and back strengthening poses reinforce and lengthen the spine and help to prevent spinal degeneration.
- Improving emotional health and well-being. Though it is an intense cardiovascular workout, yoga also focuses on breathing and relaxation. Exercise in any form is a proven stress-reliever, but yoga provides even more emotional and mental benefits. By quieting your mind and focusing on breathing, your body will become calm and balanced. Deep, rhythmic breathing carries oxygen throughout your body, releasing muscle tension.
How can yoga improve the core?
Nearly every yoga pose works to strengthen the core. During each pose, you should be focused on engaging your abdominal muscles, and your instructor will frequently remind you to keep your “tummy attached to your spine.” As you move through poses in yoga, you are creating a supple, flexible spine. No matter your age, a strong core will help prevent injuries and help you feel more youthful and confident.
Getting started with yoga
Yoga is an exercise for people of all physical fitness levels, from beginner to elite athlete. The first time you try yoga, you will likely feel awkward, but by your second and third classes, you’ll begin to feel familiar with the flow of the class and poses, and you will start to reap the benefits. Are you ready to get started with yoga? Follow these tips for yoga beginners:
- Depending on your fitness level, you may want to begin your yoga practice with one-on-one instruction from a yoga teacher. This individualized training will focus on your personal needs. Do you have a previous injury that requires special attention? Through one-on-one instruction you can learn how to modify the poses to fit your own needs and fitness level.
- If you prefer to start with a group class, choose a beginner yoga class. When you arrive, be sure to notify the instructor that it’s your first time so he or she can introduce and explain the foundational yoga poses.
- As a beginner, place your mat close to the instructor so you can clearly see each pose. This will allow you to follow the flow of the class more easily. It will also allow the instructor to keep a close eye on you.
Cooper Fitness Center offers various levels of yoga instruction, for the beginner through advanced. Take one of Glenda’s classes at Cooper Fitness, and you’ll be sure to work every part of your body, strengthening your core. Each muscle group will be toned and immediately stretched out as you move through a flow of poses.
Article provided by Cooper Aerobics Marketing and Communications.