I had my first yoga class today, and it was amazing. I have never felt so relaxed and in touch with my body. The aches and pains and soreness from all the running I’ve been doing lately just melted away, and it was one of the best fitness experiences I’ve had to date.
So other than personally telling you that yoga is the best thing you’ll do for yourself, I’ve also got a host of other reasons why you need to start doing yoga.
Here they are:
1. Run Faster
Yoga teaches body awareness, and helps improve your stride.
“When you stretch your body properly, and strengthen opposing muscle groups in balance, you increase your range of motion, and can move more quickly through space. For example, the space between the start and finish lines.
The yoga breath has been shown to increase endurance in marathoners by twice the distance in just one session!”
2. Lose Weight
Most of us scramble around our daily lives, worrying and stressing about our responsibilities and problems. What we don’t know is that stress increases cortisol levels, which can lead to weight gain.
Yoga reduces stress, thereby reducing cortisol levels.
WebMD wrote an article about Yoga for Weight Loss, and they said this about a study that was performed:
“With funding from the National Cancer Institute, Kristal and colleagues at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle led a trial involving 15,500 healthy, middle-aged men and women. All completed a survey recalling their physical activity (including yoga) and their weight between the ages of 45 and 55. Researchers then analyzed the data, teasing out other factors that could influence weight change – such as diet or other forms of exercise.
The end result: They found yoga could indeed help people shed pounds, or at least keep them from gaining weight.
Those practicing yoga who were overweight to start with lost about 5 pounds during the same time period those not practicing yoga gained 14 pounds.”
So even though yoga doesn’t have the kind of calorie burn that other activities do, it is a critical step in the weight loss and maintenance processes!
3. Gain Flexibility
The secret to getting long and lean muscles can be accomplished through improving your flexibility. Yoga is perfect for this! I’ve never had a better stretch in my life. Being flexible is also a great way to prevent injuries.
4. Prevent Diseases
“In a study of health insurance statistics, yogis and meditators showed hospitalization rates that were 87% less than non-yogis for heart disease, 55% less for benign and malignant tumors, 30% less for infectious diseases, and 50% less for out-patient doctor visits. ”
I hope you guys have the same experience with yoga as I did. As someone who was all “yoga is unimportant! I’ll just stretch,” I’ve made a complete 180 and realized that the benefits of yoga can only be understood once you’ve actually taken a class.
Yoga can also be budget-friendly. Check out Tara Stiles on Youtube — she is the coolest yoga instructor ever and has tons of free yoga videos, and there are plenty of great ones if you’re new at yoga like I was.
Good luck, have fun, and namaste.
photo by lululemon athletica via Flickr Creative Commons