Yoga is an ancient practice that dates back 5,000 years. Originating in India, the art is now practiced worldwide. Yoga was popularized by California-based health and fitness experts in the 1980s and 90s. Today, there are numerous disciplines and benefits of practicing yoga. Each is designed around specific results such as quick weight loss or muscle shaping. However, the original Hatha discipline remains the most widely practiced because of its appeal to beginners and professionals alike.

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Hormone Balancing

There are numerous hormones in the human body, each with a specific job. For example, insulin regulates how sugar converts energy while cortisol stimulates stress as a natural alarm system. Testosterone and estrogen are also crucial for gender-based functions. Hormones must be balanced. High-quality testosterone replacement therapy is available, and this can be balanced with yoga. Too little or too much of any hormone has a severe effect on your body. For instance, too much insulin causes seizures, and an excess cortisol level will cause anxiety issues. 

 

Cardiovascular Health

Although you don’t move much when practicing, yoga is an intensive exercise. The stress positions required to mean you need to hold poses you aren’t necessarily used to and support your own weight. Therefore, your heart rate and blood flow will increase. Any exercise that raises beats per minute is classed as cardiovascular exercise. The still poses and transitions to more complex ones will work out your body as much as running when it comes to yoga. Although it isn’t recommended as a total replacement for jogging your favorite spot.

 

Increased Muscle Mass and Tone

Further to aiding your cardiovascular system, the weight and movement requirements are excellent for building muscle mass and toning your body. However, this will take a long time. Using only Hatha yoga and other disciplines might be more helpful. Power yoga, for example, is designed to build muscle mass quickly. It does this by emphasizing the flow of one pose to another very quickly in a connected way. This is in stark contrast to Hatha yoga, where slow-form poses are transitioned in a disconnected way. 

 

Greater Flexibility

Of course, the apparent advantage of yoga and improving the flexibility of your body. When performing specific poses with any discipline, you place pressure on specific muscles, tendons, and ligaments. However, not everyone is flexible, which is one of the reasons why yoga is great for beginners. You can start yoga after being injured and becoming inflexible, but always keep the following in mind:

  • Don’t perform a pose that restricts your breathing.
  • Don’t overwork muscles to the point of having to hold your breath.
  • Your spine should always be in a neutral position.
  • Only use your waist for twisting and not your shoulders.
  • Bend from your hips and not your back.

Posing acts to stretch these body parts with greater tension. With more practice, they become more flexible over time. Take it easy and only perform yoga poses that are comfortable and not too challenging. You could hurt yourself otherwise. 

 

Boosted Energy Levels

It may sound counterintuitive to perform a strenuous activity to gain energy, but you can improve energy levels by practicing yoga. The poses required and their transitions actively increase blood flow and circulation throughout your entire body. Backbend and balance poses are the most efficient for your energy levels. It is believed energy is increased as these poses increase serotonin and reduce cortisol. The latter of which is increased by a sedentary lifestyle. Therefore, these specific poses are recommended if you sit for work or don’t exercise much. 

 

Weight Loss

As with any exercise, yoga is a fun way to lose weight. The poses and transitions require you to work your muscles and endure positions you aren’t used to. As a result, these burn excess calories. Additionally, you can undertake more strenuous disciplines for quicker results. Power yoga is excellent for weight loss. But you could try the notorious “hot yoga” too. Hot yoga is a strenuous version of Hatha, performed in an environment with the heat turned up. Therefore, you will lose weight a lot quicker and tone muscle.

 

Social Interaction

You can practice any type of yoga alone. Many practitioners prefer a sole workout in the comfort of their homes. Yoga at home can be done with apps that guide you or YouTube instructors. But for most, yoga is an excellent way to boost social interaction. Social yoga allows you to meet new people and get to know your instructor. When an instructor knows you and your limitations, they can work with you for a personalized workout. The social aspect of yoga is also good for your mental health. An essential element of life as we emerge from the pandemic.

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