Last week we spoke about the importance of not overtraining and incorporating rest days into our regimen. This brings us to yoga and the value it brings to both the mind and body. It’s important to keep in mind though that yoga is not reserved for rest days only. In fact, for many, it is their sole form of practice in staying fit. So, let’s take some time to explore its benefits and how incorporating it into your current routine can be valuable.

When you think of yoga, what comes to mind? Very flexible poses and handstands, perhaps? It’s true that these are many of the images we see on social media or tv shows that may make us feel yoga is not for us, but trust me, it is!

Yoga comes in many disciplines (more than 100 types) but for the purpose of simplicity, we will mention a few – the asanas (yoga poses), meditation and breathing exercises. When it comes to yoga flow or moving through the poses, we are increasing blood flow through our bodies, while holding poses for certain number of breath counts helps to build strength. It is no surprise then that the improved cardiovascular and muscular strength gained from a consistent yoga practice trickles into other parts of our lives – better athletic performance, improved balance and functionality, even weight loss. Yoga is known for building a stronger core that is invaluable to performing our everyday activities. As you begin to explore what yoga has to offer, you can start with 10-15 minutes of yoga flow and gradually increase with time as well as with intensity – trying perhaps power yoga and later more difficult poses such as handstands and the crow. The possibilities are huge! For now though, make sure to incorporate some cat-cow movements which are excellent for stretching and alleviating back pain. While you’re at it, don’t forget the downward dog which is guaranteed to make you feel more energized after.

When it comes to meditation and breathwork, this increased focus on our own consciousness is excellent for stress management. Stress is detrimental to our health and shows itself in many forms such as back and neck pains, poor sleep patterns, and weight gain. Thus, when we incorporate yoga flow, meditation and breath work, we improve mindfulness and find that we are better able to deal with the many pressures of our everyday life, from our careers, homes, personal lives etc. Who wouldn’t want a tool that would help them circumvent such stressors? So, yoga is something not to be overlooked or underestimated. This week, take some time to explore it a little and see what benefits are awaiting you. Till next time…    

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