Most yogis will tell you that they could never hang up their yoga mat, and with good reason. The ancient practice known as yoga delivers a multitude of physical and emotional benefits, no matter the age or fitness level of the person practicing it.
The roots of yoga stretch back over 5,000 years to northern India but didn't take off in the United States until the Russian yoga instructor Indra Devi founded her own Hollywood yoga studio in 1947. Today, there are over 100 schools of yoga being taught in the U.S. which all generally incorporate physical poses, breathing exercises, and meditation that creates harmony between the mind and body.
Yoga has been recognized by the American Osteopathic Association to increase flexibility, muscle tone, and strength, contribute to weight loss, maintain a balanced metabolism, improve cardio health, and much more. Those that exercise regularly may notice that yoga helps improve their performance in other forms of fitness or sports. The stretching involved in yoga can also help prevent injuries during other physical activities. In general, yoga can also help increase energy and maintain a healthy weight.
But the benefits of yoga go beyond the physical changes. Because the practice requires breath control and focusing on the mind/body connection, many yogis experience an overall improvement in their wellbeing and emotional health. Stress reduction is one of the most noticeable benefits, as well as improved sleep and concentration. When stress levels decline, this helps maintain a healthy blood pressure range. One may also experience a decrease in chronic pain such as arthritis, headaches, and carpal tunnel syndrome.
Yoga is a beginner-friendly practice, so whether you're excited to try doing challenging inversion yoga poses or you want help releasing stress, with so many varieties of yoga readily available through studios, fitness facilities, and private homes, it's easy to find the right class that matches the stage of your yoga journey and physical capabilities. It only takes one class to begin enjoying the health benefits that yoga has to offer.