Yoga: More than Just an Exercise

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As the days evolve in such quick pace, the development of unhealthy food products, such as instant noodles, has become prevalent. Not only that, social media outlets promote these in ways that effectively attract viewers and/or readers. Yet, there remains a number of people who make sure to compensate their unhealthy intake through exercise. And, too, the effects of the exercises that manifest of these people are powerful enough to influence others. One of the exercises that helps you fit is yoga.

In the mention of the word yoga, people usually assume it’s for those who are gifted with flexibility. But, there is actually more to yoga than the complicated postures you see. In fact, yoga is not just an exercise made complex. So what really is yoga?

Understanding Yoga

Yoga comes from the classical language of India (Sanskrit) which means to unite. Practicing yoga helps you attain profound realizations of yourself as your body and all parts of your mind unite with the Universal Consciousness. Thus, leading to a harmonious state of being.

Exercising yoga is not merely about strengthening your muscles and limbs in order for you to appear healthy. The main goal of yoga is to achieve self-realization. Self-realizations grant troubled minds, hearts, and souls calmness. Having that stated, perception towards various aspects of life broadens rather drastically. From the heightened awareness, inner strength builds up that helps liberate yourself from ill thoughts that have long caged you.

Not only is yoga an exercise that breaks your muscles tissues to gain stronger ones, but is also a way of fortifying the core of your being. To phrase it simply, yoga strengthens the mind, body, and soul.

Benefits You Can Enjoy from Exercising Yoga

With the benefits that people get to experience as they practice it, it comes with no surprises how yoga still is still practiced today. These benefits are what influence others to alter their lifestyle into a healthier one. So, what are these benefits that yoga practitioners get to enjoy?

  • Calm mind

A mind that is always exposed to stress gradually breaks down—that is if you don’t take actions in taking care of it. Not doing so leads to trouble in sleeping, lack of focus and irrational frustrations. To prevent this from developing into something worse, practicing yoga helps. Yoga helps your mind relax. Through meditation and breathing exercises you can feel your stress and worries ebb away. You can feel your mind beginning to relax after two to five consecutive days of doing yoga.

  • Well-regulated hormone secretion

There are instances when hormone secretion becomes above normal or below normal. Aside from genetics, such instances can be triggered by your kind of lifestyle. Yoga reduces the chances of being gravely ill from the unusual secretion of hormones. Additionally, yoga helps release serotonin (happy hormone) which helps you combat stress.

  • Increased Focus

Working on an important stuff only to be distracted by non-essential thoughts causes delay. Admit it, it’s hard to accomplish a task if your focus is directed towards other things or if a random thought disrupts your concentration. As you seek your inner peace, the mind reaches the point of awareness which enables you to gauge rationally on things. From the awareness and clarity you will be granted, you become certain about which matters are essential and need more focus.

  • Good Sleep

Are you bombarded with random or emotional thoughts that make sleeping difficult? There are a lot of factors that strain the nervous system. Out of frustration or desperation to get a good night sleep, others buy sleeping pills—even without the prescription of a professional. In worse cases, individuals who are guilty of the deed become drug dependent. As what is mentioned above, yoga helps your mind relax and eases your nervous system. Thereby, prevent you from overthinking about certain matters such as the regrettable things you did in the past or the nearing deadline for office projects.

  • Improved blood circulation

An improved blood circulation prevents internal blood clotting which weakens veins and/or arteries. Blood circulation is also vital in distributing vitamins and minerals, and oxygen. An improved blood circulation keeps the body systems active. Also, an improved blood circulation can make your skin glow naturally. This is because of the quickened distribution of minerals necessary during the renewal of skin cells.

  • Strengthened Bones

As we grow old, our bones start to weaken which makes us prone to osteoporosis and other bone problems. The inevitable can be delayed. Aside from taking calcium and other minerals, yoga helps in fortifying the bone tissue. Yoga requires physical strength, making the bone tissues stronger than. Moreover, practicing yoga prevents high secretion of cortisol, often called stress hormone, which extracts calcium and other minerals during the formation of new bones.

  • Reduced risk of cardiovascular diseases

People with cardiovascular problems are discouraged to go for extreme exercises. Luckily, yoga does not fall into the category of extreme exercises. In fact, yoga has affected some people, if not all, suffering from cardiovascular issues, positively. A study that involved 19 participants with heart failures resulted in an improved cardiovascular health. Having all these stated, the risk of suffering from or aggravating cardiovascular diseases reduces drastically.

Basic Yoga Poses You Can Try at Home

Before going to the complex yoga poses you see on yoga advertisements, it’s necessary to start with the basic steps. This is to prevent breaking your limbs, as advance yoga poses require strength, flexibility, and a mastered coordination of all muscles in the body.

  • Mountain Pose

Mountain pose is usually the starting pose of yogis. If you are the person who slouches most times, this pose helps you improve your posture; thus, reducing the risk of osteoporosis. Start by standing with your big toes (hallux) touching. Make sure the second toes are parallel (this can be done by parting your heels slightly). Rock back and forth by lifting and spreading your toes together with the balls of the feet. Go slow to and lay them softly on the floor. Thereafter, make a gentle transition by reducing the intensity of swaying until you are no longer swaying. Once you are in a standstill position, be certain to keep your weight balanced evenly on both feet. Without hardening your lower belly, make the muscles of your thighs firm and pull your knee caps upward. Strengthen your inner arches. To do this, simply lift your inner ankles. Subsequently, imagine a line of energy surging throughout your whole body, starting from your inner thighs, to your groins, then to your core, neck, and the crown. Slightly twist your upper thighs inward. Lift your pubis toward your navel, forcing your tailbone to stretch toward the floor. Let your arms hang loose, and push your shoulder blades backward. Widen the area of your collarbone by lifting your sternum upward. Align your head directly with your pelvis’s center. Stay in this position for a good 30 seconds up to a minute while breathing calmly.

  • Standing Forward Bend

Also known as foot to hand pose, standing forward bend is thought to be easy at first because of its name. But, it’s not actually as easy as a beginner would think of it. This pose requires great balance and flexibility. You don’t have to worry if you can’t perfect this position right away. By consistent practice of yoga, you’ll be able to master this pose in time. To begin, place your hands on your hips and stand in mountain pose. As you exhale, slowly bend forward from your hips. Remember, hips not the waist. As your upper body slowly descends, if possible, keep your knees straight. Plant your palms closely beside your feet. In every inhalation for this pose, slightly stretch your front torso. Exhale as you bend forward so that the upper part of your body is parallel to the lower body. Stay in this position for a good 30 seconds to 1 minute. To prevent injuring your spine, put your hands on your hips and use the strength in your front torso to come up with an inhalation.

  • Downward-Facing Dog

Commonly seen in yoga practices, downward-facing dog grants you a rejuvenating stretch. It may seem easy for non-yoga practitioners at first until they do it. To start, come to the floor on all fours. Align your knees with your hips and slightly extend your hands forward (so that they are not aligned to your shoulders) with your fingers spread. As you lift your knees from the floor, do an exhalation. Then, stretch your tailbone away from the back of your pelvis. Push your thighs backward and feel your spine stretch. Don’t concern yourself so much about the heels not touching the floor, for a lot of yoga practitioners’ heels do not usually touch the floor. Stay in this position for 30 seconds to 1 minute. To end this pose, gently bring your knees down to the floor so that you are on all fours.

  • Chair Pose

This pose helps you build endurance as this strengthens both your quadriceps and lower back. Start with a mountain pose. Slowly push your butt down and bend your knees until you are in a sitting position, only that there is no chair. As you do this, lift your arms from your side to the pace of the latter. Broaden the front of your chest and lift your torso. Feel the sensation that builds up. To end this pose, slowly straighten your knees to go back up and release your arms by bringing them to your side. Relish in the feel of energy that flows throughout your body from doing this pose.

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