Yoga Benefits: How Does Yoga Benefit You?

Yoga is becoming more and more popular. Why is this and what are the benefits of yoga?

Yoga has exploded onto the exercise scene in the last 30 years and yoga benefits are starting to filter into many different groups: physical benefits, and mental and emotional benefits.

From being an unknown and rarely practiced form of exercise in the West, it is now practiced across the world. It would seem that yoga benefits are also being recognized across the world.

Doctors recommend it, young children practise it and pregnant women use it. You name the category of person and you will find the yoga class which is being run for them.

Prince Charles’ doctor, Dr Ali, recommends yoga as one of the 3 pillars to good health along with diet and massage. And as a practice for reducing stress, yoga for stress relief is one of the best techniques available.

There are literally dozens of different forms of yoga to choose from: Hatha yoga to Iyengar yoga, Astanga yoga to Tantric yoga.

Yoga in its simplest form

In its most simple form, as most people know it, yoga is a form of stretching exercises. The yoga poses or asanas as they are called are coordinated with the breath (prana).

This coordination of breath and movement help to calm you and bring a great inner peace. This is one of the reasons that yoga is so important in stress relief.

In a yoga routine you focus on different poses in order to work on different parts of the body. By focusing on the breath at the same time a great sense of well being is achieved.

Yoga Benefits: Physical

• Helps to decrease your pulse rate

• Helps to slow your breathing down

• Helps to reduce your blood pressure

• The mind is able to enter into very relaxed states

• Your breathing efficiency increases

• Your stomach and digestive capacities improve their functionality

• Your joints and muscles increase in range of motion

• Your bones are strengthened

• Increased performance of your heart and lungs

• Hand-eye coordination improves

• Gives you an increase in energy

• Helps to improve sleep

• Endurance levels increase

• Your immune system increases in strength

Yoga Benefits: Mental & Emotional

• Feelings of well-being increase

• Levels of self-acceptance increase

• Helps to deal with depression and stress

• Increases your attention span

• Helps you to feel more balanced mentally

• Helps to ground you - thoughts become more clear

• Gives you more clarity

• Helps you to improve your concentration

• Helps to increase your memory and improves your learning efficiency

What is the best way to learn yoga?

I personally found that the easiest way to learn yoga was through a teacher. I spent about a year learning it through a book and found that to be a bit disheartening.

I personally had one-on-one coaching for a month or two which was perfect for me but this can be very expensive - personal yoga coaching can be up to $60(£40) an hour.

With the advent of the internet and internet shopping it has become much easier to buy videos and DVD about whatever subject you like.

What I personally would recommend is that you find a teacher locally and start attending classes once a week. To supplement your class I would recommend getting a yoga DVD or audio products.

Why? I have personally found that when you have someone else motivating you it is easier to keep your practice going.

Which yoga teachers and DVD are recommended?

My favorite form of yoga is astanga yoga. This is also known as power yoga. I have been practicing astanga yoga now for about 7 years. The physical change in my body has been amazing - my flexibility and strength are more pronounced, and my ability to relax is greater due to my practice.

I have found this yoga form invaluable in beating stress. When I was working for Corporate America, doing yoga when I got home was one of the ways I used to de-stres.

Astanga yoga can be a strenuous form of exercise so please speak to your doctor should you be unsure whether to use this form of exercise.

Hatha yoga is another form of yoga that I have tried and was the first form of yoga that I picked up when I was 14. It is a much gentler form of yoga and has the same yoga benefits as astanga but can be practiced by a wider range of people.

Of the DVDs below Rodney Yee is a really well-known and well respected yoga teacher and comes with high praise. Yoga For Stress Relief DVD is highly praised as well:

Through my own experience as a stress management consultant and as a practioner of yoga myself I see that that yoga benefits people. My own health has been transformed with the help of yoga and this is why I continue my yoga practice today.

So look around your local area and see if you can find the right yoga class for you. Once you have started to attend, supplement your practice by purchasing a yoga DVD and practice as often as you can.

Not only will you start to feel better and less stressed but more able to relax, smile and be happy...

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