The Health Benefits of Yoga

Whilst I can’t deny my love for a sweaty, fast-paced workout, I’m also a big fan of yoga. I find that it’s a great way to relax and revitalise.

In the summer, I do a yoga class once a week in my garden, plus extra sessions on my own whenever I fancy, perhaps two more per week. Nothing combats stress like outdoor yoga in the countryside. In the winter, it’s far too chilly for that, so I find other ways to incorporate it into my routine.

My favourite time to do yoga is first thing in the morning. It’s an amazing way to wake up your body and leave you feeling totally fresh. I also include some yoga poses into my stretching routine at the end of a workout. It’s great to do this whilst your muscles are still warm, because this is when they’re most flexible.

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Yoga boasts an array of health benefits, some of which I’ve outlined below.

Flexibility:

This is one of the primary reasons that people start yoga. It’s an incredible way to relieve muscle tension, thus reducing stiffness and joint pain. It helps to create long, lean muscles, by allowing your body to increase both strength and flexibility alongside one another. In this way, yoga’s effects differ from weight training, where strength increases, often at the expense of flexibility. I’m not in any way trying to deter you from weight training – it’s a crucial part of your fat loss journey; just be sure to stretch at the end of every session!

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Balance:

Yoga is great for balance, because its slow movements require the use of small, stabilising muscles, which aren’t used so much in regular workouts. Yoga also requires a great deal of focus on bodily positioning. This increased awareness contributes to improved balance and coordination.

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Increased Blood Flow:

Yoga is amazing for increasing circulation around the body, which in turn oxygenates cells. Inverted poses such as headstands and handstands create a fresh flow of oxygenated blood to the brain, aiding concentration. The incorporation of other muscles increases oxygen demand, thus equally resulting in better blood flow around the body.

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Stress Relief:

As I mentioned earlier, yoga demands absolute focus on the present. For this reason, it’s a great way to take time out of a busy schedule and really focus on yourself. Yoga targets self-improvement and contributes to sufficiently reduced cortisol levels. Cortisol is a hormone triggered by stress, and excess levels of this in the body can both increase appetite and impair metabolic function. In simple terms, this means that too much stress will inhibit your body’s ability to burn fat – uh oh! Best get busy with some yoga…

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