There are many, many positives to doing yoga! In this post I will cover some of the main physical benefits.
Strength: Many yoga poses require you to support your body in different ways, such as supporting yourself with your arms or balancing on one leg, whilst requiring you to then hold these poses over several breaths. This all helps to build strength.
Muscle Tone: You can expect to see increased muscle tone as an added benefit. Yoga helps shape lean muscles.
Flexibility: Stretching and moving in new ways will make you become more flexible, bringing a greater range of motion to tight areas of the body. Over time, you will likely gain flexibility in your hamstrings, back, shoulders, and hips. Pain and immobility are sadly a natural part of the ageing process, but yoga can help slow this process!
Balance: Better balance is one of the more important gains of yoga as you age. Positions where you stand on one leg and inversions (for more experienced students) are considered great at building core strength and balance.
Improved Joints: People with arthritis often experience a decrease in pain and better mobility with routine gentle yoga exercise.
Better Breathing: Most people take shallow breaths and don’t give much thought about it. Yoga breathing exercises, called Pranayama, focus on the breath and teach us how to take deeper breaths which benefits the whole body. Certain types of breathing can be helpful for people with allergies and can also calm the nervous system, which has both mental and physical benefits.
Pain Prevention: Better flexibility and strength can help prevent the causes of some types of back pain. Many of us spend a lot of time sitting at desks or driving. This can cause spinal compression, which you can start to address with yoga.
There are many mental benefits associated with yoga too, which I’ll cover in a future article.