I think it is safe to say that we all desire to find our inner peace and zen. And you may be able to achieve just that by practicing yoga—a mind and body practice that dates back to 5,000 years ago. Yoga is a form of exercise that combines breathing techniques, meditation, relaxation, strength, flexibility, and balance. In the recent years, yoga has gained popularity as a form of physical exercise that brings peace to the mind and body through relaxation and meditation, all while working out. So what is the claim to fame as to why yoga has nearly doubled in popularity since the early 2000s?
Yoga began as an ancient Indian practice about 5,000 years ago to bring people closer to their spiritual self. It has since evolved to be more about building strength, flexibility and balance through zen-ful techniques.
Due to its peaceful nature, yoga is said to relieve stress, increase flexibility, alleviate chronic pain and inflammation, improve balance, prevent injury, control breathing, and much more.
With yoga comes an important mental benefit—stress relief. As we discussed in our blog about hormones, cortisol is the stress hormone. When you have an excess amount of cortisol in your body, you are likely to stress eat, overeat and focus less on your physical and mental health. This ultimately will lead to weight gain over a prolonged period of time.
Similarly, chronic stress can lead to body aches, sleeping problems, headaches, substance abuse, and so much more. Therefore, it is critical to manage the stress in your life in order to lead a healthier lifestyle.
Yoga is praised as a technique that helps balance the mind and the body and with the meditative techniques associated with yoga, it is said to help individuals have a more peaceful outlook on life and to develop better reactive approaches to life’s circumstances.
Aside from the mental benefit of practicing yoga, there are physical ones too. As I mentioned above, continued stress in your life can lead to body aches and pains among other troubles. Just as yoga is good for relieving stress, it is also beneficial in alleviating pain or inflammation in the body.
Unlike some of the other forms of exercise we have talked about in the past—including HIIT—yoga is a low impact activity that requires minimal stress on the joints. Studies have proven that by practicing yoga, you are likely to cure back pain as well as pain in other parts of your body.
Also, yoga is a great way to increase your flexibility and mobility, lowering your risk of injury when engaging in other forms of exercise or when doing every day activities.
There are many different types of yoga practices—some that focus more on strength and others that focus more on breathing. Every form of practice is recommended, it really just comes down to your personal preference, your fitness goals, and your current level of mobility.
The practice of yoga has many mental and physical health benefits that work to help you produce more zen in your life. It is a great practice to get started with today and works well when combined with your current workout routine. It also supports a more balanced and active lifestyle.