5 Reasons You Should Try Yoga
Yoga has been practiced for thousands of years (at least 5,000!), all over the world, but it has grown immensely popular over the past decades. El Paso, TX hasn’t been immune to the yoga trend and now boasts several boutique yoga studios, like Casa de Yoga, Surya Yoga and Hot Box Yoga, in addition to places like the YMCA and Planet Fitness offering more yoga classes on their schedule. While yoga can sometimes have a reputation for being inaccessible (especially to those of us who aren’t very flexible), even practicing basic moves for short periods of time can have immense benefits. Below, we outline why we think yoga is a must-do for your exercise routine.
One of the best things about yoga is the feeling of peace that fills the room. In fact, many report feeling a sense of relaxation envelop them when they simply walk into the room where the class will be held. And, of course, taking part in it over the next hour or so will provide even more of that state of mind. It also helps that, depending on the class, there is either no music or soft, soothing music. Another great benefit of yoga is the everlasting feeling of peace of mind. In other words, yoga isn’t just enjoyed while taking part: it stays with you through shopping, picking up children, sitting at a desk at work, and so on.
Yoga is great for improving concentration levels too. The main reason for this is because concentrating on the poses and on breathing help strengthen the mind’s ability to focus. The movements and breathing also help bring more oxygen to the brain in the short and long term, which assists in improving concentration levels outside of the class. This can be of great assistance when it comes to studying for a test, completing a task at work, or even just planning a family vacation. Specifically, 20 minutes of the hatha yoga has been shown to offer better focus-related benefits when compared to those who engaged in aerobic exercise for 20 minutes. The greater focus on the self in the former form of exercise as opposed to the latter is believed to be part of the reason for these study results.
Flexibility may be the most-known benefit of taking part in yoga. All of that stretching extends muscles and makes them more limber and flexible. The resulting benefits of this increased flexibility include greater range of motion and the ability to adjust to changing terrain and environments, which reduces the risk of injury while doing things like bending over or lifting things and improving posture. It’s also important to note that loosening tight muscles helps release lactic acid. A build-up of lactic acid causes those muscles to fatigue sooner than would otherwise be the case, so reversing that is very much preferred. It’s important to rest assured that not being very flexible now should not deter anybody from going to a local class. There are some great poses and classes that are perfect for getting started on the road towards much greater flexibility than is the case today.
It’s hard work doing what is done in a local class, but that means that, in addition to the other benefits listed here, muscles are being strengthened. Some poses are particularly good for strengthening the core, which results in less-common back pain, having good posture becoming much easier and improved athletic performance whether that’s used in sports or by making more mundane tasks like carrying groceries home easier. Meanwhile, taking part in these activities will also lead to strengthened arms, legs, and, well, the entire body. Some of the best ways this strengthens the body is by challenging the stabilizing muscles, muscles that are often neglected when gym workouts are undertaken. Many who are already looking to hit the gym to strengthen their bodies would do well to also head to one of these classes and ensure that their physical fitness is improved in a more all-encompassing way.
A nice added benefit to all of the ones noted above is all of the calories that are burned while practicing. A recent study found that taking part in a 30-minute hatha class will burn between 120-178 calories depending on how much the person weighs; somebody weighing 125 pounds would burn 120 calories, an individual who weighs 155 pounds burns 149 calories, and a person weighting 185 pounds will burn off about 178 calories during this time period. Of course, these figures will vary if different types of this exercise are being undertaken. Another important factor to consider is that added muscle strength results in more calories being burned when not doing anything physically strenuous, even just sitting or lying down, as compared to before those muscles had became more toned. Also, taking part in a more aerobic type of class will result in greater calorie-burning numbers over the next 24 hours or so, so there’s no need to wait until muscles develop to enjoy this benefit.