As students, it is common to spend most the day slouched and staring at computer screens or doing piles of homework, most of which takes place sitting down with little physical activity. However, exercise is an important part of staying healthy and there are many ways to do so. One commonly overlooked, but extremely beneficial form of exercise is yoga, which is helpful in numerous ways both physically and mentally.
Yoga is essentially a spiritual discipline consisting of physical and mental practices in an effort to balance and still the mind, however, many people practice yoga simply for building strength, relaxation and its many other benefits. Since there are many ways to practice this, people of all different ages and health are able to do yoga making it an exercise able to benefit everyone.
1. Improves Flexibility
Due to the lack of movement in many people today, flexibility has become a decreasing factor in overall physical health and yoga is considered one of the best activities to improve flexibility. With the numerous poses and styles as well and multiple different intensity levels, yoga helps to relieve muscles knots and loosen the body. In fact, one of the most common reasons to practice yoga was to improve flexibility. Some helpful poses to use for flexibility include pigeon pose, child’s pose, and downward dog.
2. Builds Strength
While yoga is known primarily for its benefits in flexibility, it is just as effective to build strength. Yoga poses are often held for long periods of time which builds muscle endurance and strength. With consistent practice, beginners will easily strengthen their major muscle groups. A few helpful poses to utilize are the plank, chair, and warrior pose.
3. Increasing Balance
Balance is a key component of fitness, however, it is commonly neglected to be important. It is used to control the body’s movements in challenging tasks and makes it easier to move around and exercise. Yoga’s focus on transitions and coordination makes it an excellent way to improve balance. Additionally, balance increases focus and stability during exercise. Excellent poses that target balance include tree, eagle, and crow pose.
4. Reduces Anxiety
Stress and anxiety has become one of the largest problems in the US. Especially with the effects of Covid, anxiety has affected almost everyone at one point. Too much stress can be disastrous to one’s health but it’s becoming difficult to avoid. Yoga utilizes breathing techniques through the movements to allow physical and mental relaxation. Similar to meditation, yoga uses techniques to clear and reset the mind, relieving any stress or anxiety.
5. Increases Endurance and Lung Capacity
Anyone who has done running would understand the need to catch breath after a quick sprint or run. This is because your body needs oxygen to continue exercise. To improve endurance, you would have to improve lung capacity. One of the best ways to improve this is through the breathwork of yoga which consists of deep breathing and long exhales and inhales. Breathwork is used to control breathing and slow the heart rate. This creates a stronger immune system and better overall lung capacity.