If you sometimes feel like everyone and their mom is obsessed with yoga, you may be right. Whether it’s beginner’s yoga or hot yoga, there’s a wide range of styles and a growing population of individuals who practice it. Believe it or not, though, this sport isn’t just a trendy activity following the health and wellness kick of the last few years. Yoga goes way back.
While yoga has become increasingly popular in the last decade, this meditative physical activity has existed since ancient times. That’s right — yoga is first mentioned in Indian artifactual texts from over 5,000 years ago. This explains why some of the words used in yoga may sound unrecognizable. These terms are pronounced in Sanskrit, the root of many Indian dialects and one of the oldest languages in history.
In a modern world, it’s hard to find such strong remnants of history in daily life. Yet yoga represents a vital part of many people’s everyday routines. So what is the deal with yoga, and how has it stayed this popular for this long? Let’s get into it.
These days, yoga seems to carry a cult-like following of individuals who love the activity. With that said, it can sometimes feel intimidating to start this sport if you’re not particularly flexible. Or, perhaps you prefer high-intensity physical activity and don’t feel challenged by the often slow movements in yoga. Whether or not yoga seems too challenging or too easy, it can usually be modified to suit anyone’s preference of speed and difficulty. So, if you hadn’t tried yoga or didn’t enjoy it when you did, you might want to give it another shot.
If you’re not accustomed to deep breathing exercises, yoga may feel uncomfortable or unnatural at first. Some teachers perform chants, some evoke conversation with their audience, and some exaggerate breathing exercises in a way that might seem forced. The fact of the matter is, that these mediative strategies are effective. Breathing exercises help you gain control of your temperament and gain awareness of your emotions. Plus, as you get more comfortable with the movements, yoga can become an effective form of exercise as well. Like any other workout, yoga can boost your mood by lowering stress levels and increasing the production of endorphins. It can also improve your sleep by relaxing your mental state as well as your physical. Specifically, yoga has been linked with elevated amounts of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), which is associated with an overall better mood.
Yoga also strengthens parts of the brain that deal with overall cognitive function. Studies have shown that yoga strengthens parts of the brain that regulate memory, attention, and thought processes. So while you may not be physically lifting weights, your brain might be. Not only can yoga help calm your mind, but it impacts your brain on a neurological level.
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While people sometimes fall off the pattern of regularly going to the gym, yoga carries a loyal following. Not only does yoga make you feel good mentally, but it can completely transform your shape. While this form of physical activity may not cause you to shed quick pounds over time, it can completely change your physique. There’s science behind this – your connective tissue and muscle fibers elongate as you practice the positions. Plus, yoga helps people become more in touch and aware of their bodies. In addition to this increased awareness, yoga strengthens your core and provides exercises that maintain your spinal movements. So not only will you feel more toned, but your improved posture will allow you to appear longer and leaner as well.
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By starting yoga at an early age, you may prevent future pains and strains. Yoga increases flexibility which helps maintain mobility and agility over time. Not only can yoga help prevent muscular injuries, but it can relieve pain as well. On a basic level, this kind of therapeutic exercise has been clinically proven to help manage and lower pain levels in individuals. In one study, weekly yoga practice helped lower chronic back pain for participants more than standard medical care.
If you’re looking to start a new form of physical activity, you may want to consider trying a few yoga classes. Even if you’re not looking for more exercise, yoga has therapeutic effects that can benefit anyone. Or, if you want to think ahead, yoga may be a great way to promote your future agility. If you’re looking for other ways to prevent strains, check out the EZPT app to help monitor muscle movements and provide personal coaching for you during workouts.