Reaping the Benefits of Yoga


YogaYou have probably walked by the class in your gym. Everyone wearing spandex and posing in some ridiculous stretch that simultaneously seems silly to view, and impossible to attain. Yoga has always seemed out of reach for me. I know in my brain that it looks beneficial, but I have felt for a long time that the stretching I do pre/post workout is enough. Flexibility is a foregone conclusion if you begin to do yoga, so I want to focus on the not so obvious side of yoga. There are a lot more health benefits than even I could foresee, and here are just a few of them to whet your appetite into what yoga can do for you.

Stress and depression are very prevalent in our society. Yoga can relax your body after these feelings start to weigh you down. Stopping yourself from worrying about all the tasks you need to accomplish each day for ten minutes of yoga will help your body push it’s “reset” button. It will give you a strong platform from which to push off and attach the remainder of your day with peace of mind, rather than an anxiety filled brain.

One of the best things about yoga is that most gyms have classes included with their memberships. It can be practiced alone if you do not feel like being social, but being in a room joined in a common activity with other people can boost the body’s production of oxytocin, the human bonding hormone. This means that even if you did not make any friends at your class that day you still will share the accomplishment of finishing the poses with the rest of your classmates.

Back pain and arthritis can be a constant, nagging ache in our lives. Coping with pain sometimes can be too arduous of a task. Yoga can strengthen your body while bringing relief to areas that are suffering. Bikram yoga, which applies heat to the room while you stretch, can specifically heal arthritic joints or sore back muscles with applied heat. One or two sessions most likely will not immediately cure these particular problems, but after multiple sessions, you will begin to feel better mentally, followed quickly by physically.

If you partied too much this last weekend you probably woke up regretting it and grumbling all kinds of promises you will soon break this weekend. We have all suffered the fun side of alcohol and definitely the down side of it. When those nasty withdrawals hit, curling into the fetal position can seem like the best option most of the time. Yoga can boost your metabolism and get all the leftover badness from last night on the move out of your body faster than laying down will. Depending on how challenging your yoga workout is, the endorphin release after difficult poses will soothe the wounds those extra shots caused to your system.

I could see men feeling that there is some sort of masculinity issue with attending a yoga class, but there are too many benefits to yoga to not cut it out of your workouts. Stretching your muscles can be done many different ways, but having an instructor guide you through the process will make sure you miss nothing. It aids muscle growth and will prevent injuries if you are active. Even though we love to make excuses, there really should be no excuse to not giving yoga a try. Between helping us relax mentally, push ourselves physically, and heal spiritually, yoga can solve many problems that weigh us down daily.

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Used under Creative Commons Licensing courtesy of Derek Lee

This article is made available for general, entertainment and educational purposes only. The opinions expressed herein do not necessarily reflect those of The Joint Corp (or its franchisees and affiliates). You should always seek the advice of a licensed healthcare professional.