Yoga is very much in vogue right now. It seems like everyone is doing it, or at least dabbling in it. But what is the big deal? Why is it becoming so insanely popular?
To really understand this, you need to experience yoga for yourself. During the first fifteen minutes of a session, you hardly feel like anything is happening. However, as you go on, it becomes more intense until it reaches a climax. Then you have a warm-down until you’re finally laying down on your back, feeling sweetly fatigued and covered in sweat.
As a mind-body type of exercise, yoga offers some crazy benefits to practitioners. Here’s what to expect if you ever want to get involved in it.
Yoga isn’t just about flexibility: it’s also about strength. That’s one of the reasons it’s so hard. It forces you to put your body in all kinds of new and contorted positions, strengthening it from every angle.
Because of this strength-building effect, yoga is great for building strong bones. The weight-bearing aspects of the activity encourage the body to create more osteoblasts which then strengthen and improve bone mass. Just doing fifteen minutes per day can make a tremendous difference in overall health.
Better sleep is another weird benefit of yoga, again backed by science. It helps to put the body in a “rest-and-digest” mode, which means that it activates the part of your nervous system associated with relaxation.
You probably know this from your own experience. Once you do exercise, you just feel so much better and can relax more easily.
Who would have thought the solution to insomnia was yoga mats?
The ability of yoga to improve your mood is profound. You can go into a session feeling absolutely awful, but come out of it feeling refreshed and happy in a way you never imagined was possible.
Yoga effectively stops depression in its tracks. Furthermore, it helps you break the vicious cycle of feeling bad, not wanting to exercise, and then feeling even worse. The movements get you out of a funk and help you feel better.
Science backs this up. Clinically depressed people who do yoga for three months report a 50 percent reduction in symptoms.
Reduced Risk Of Heart Disease
Rates of heart disease are extremely high in the western world. It is still the leading killer. However, yoga may be heart-protective.
There are several reasons for this. The first is that it helps people to relax. Even though it is taxing, there is a post-exercise reduction in blood pressure which protects the cardiovascular system.
Yoga is also an aerobic exercise. Holding various positions and doing constant down dogs and up dogs causes the heart rate to rise significantly in most people, regardless of how fit they are.
The more blood flow that people have, the healthier the cardiovascular system becomes.
So given these science-backed benefits, will you be taking up this ancient yogic practice? Or will you stick to more conventional forms of exercise.