Benefits of Yoga

When some people think about yoga, they envision sitting crossed-legged, meditation and strange contorted positions. Yoga includes stretching and breathing techniques that help the practitioner to develop a balance between mind and body. Yoga exercises and positions help develop both joint flexibility and strength. You don’t have to be an expert in yoga or spend a month meditating in the wilderness to take advantage of the fitness benefits of yoga. Everyone can participate in yoga exercises and practice yoga breathing techniques as part of their daily exercise routine or as part of interval training for whole body fitness.
 Photo Credit: longtrekhome CC-BY-2.0
Deep breathing exercises can enhance your athletic performance, increase your lung capacity and improve endurance. Deep breathing saturates your blood and cells with extra vital oxygen you will need  to sustain you during a moderate or vigorous workout. Practicing yoga breathing exercises can train your body to breathe correctly to maximize your performance.
Yoga poses generally focus on the core and strengthening the core muscles. Yoga movements are slow and focused. Isometric contractions of the core abdominal muscles will help strengthen these muscles. A strong core is necessary for balance, posture, overall strength and endurance. In addition to better breathing technique and a stronger core, yoga can help increase your range of motion and joint flexibility. Flexibility and increased range of motion makes many other types of exercises easier and you will be less prone to injury from muscle strain. Yoga is also low-impact which makes it a good alternative form of exercise for those recovering from an injury, pregnant women and new mothers trying to get back into shape after having a baby. There are different styles of yoga, from slow, deliberate motions to a rapid succession of poses for a more aerobic workout. Adding 30 minutes of yoga to your weekly workout routine is a great way to cross-train by including stretching, core strengthening, balance and flexibility training. 

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