Five Reasons You Should Be Doing Yoga

Think yoga is only for the pretzel-twisting guru? Think again.

 Yoga can build strength, improve heart health, boost immunity, improve balance, and relieve stress. Find out how.

Yoga can be adapted to all ages and abilities, and the health benefits are numerous. Here are five reasons you should consider connecting with your inner warrior:

1. Build strength

 If you’ve never tried it, you might think yoga is only about relaxation. But it’s also an excellent way to strengthen your body, including your arms, legs, and core.

2. Improve heart health

 That’s right, flexibility is important to keep blood flowing to your heart. Studies have shown that stiff arteries may play a role in cardiovascular disease, and increasing your flexibility can slow this process. Yoga has also been shown to lower blood pressure.

3. Boost immunity

Norwegian researchers believe that yoga may ward off a cold. They found that changes occurred at a cellular level before study participants even finished their first yoga practice. Better breathing and circulation can also help your organs function more efficiently, which can help you stay healthy.

4. Improve balance

 This benefit is particularly important for older adults—better balance means fewer falls. Those with physical limitations should consider chair yoga.

5. Relieve stress

 Whether you’re experiencing temporary stress or you have chronic anxiety, yoga is a perfect way to practice mindfulness. It will help you be more aware of your breathing, posture, and thought processes, and you’ll learn to focus and be present. And because it relaxes your mind and body, it may also improve your sleep.

As with any new workout regimen, you may want to talk to your doctor before you begin. While any yoga can be modified, you will want to find the best type of yoga for your age and physical ability. If you’re a beginner, for instance, you may want to try hatha yoga, while those who’d like a challenge may enjoy power yoga. Whatever type you choose, namaste.

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