Filed Under:  Fitness, Health & Wellness, News

Six reasons you should try yoga

13th November 2012   ·   0 Comments

By Brittany Gatson
Contributing Writer

(Special to the NNPA from The Michigan Chronicle) – Besides being “in,” yoga is an incredibly beneficial activity for all ages and abilities. The health benefits of yoga are great, and many people are much happier as a result of their practice.

But why?

If you have never stepped onto a yoga mat, or if it has been a while since you’ve taken a yoga class, the following reasons why you should get with the program may inspire you to make it a priority.’

1. Yoga training can help reduce muscle soreness after a strength workout

A study in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research found that after a bout of eccentric training (workouts that cause muscle soreness the next day), a single bout of yoga significantly improve soreness the next day. While I know some people enjoy feeling muscle soreness the next day after a workout, some people do their best to avoid it. If you want to reduce your muscle soreness try yoga out. It may also be helpful for those who have a race or competition coming it. It is important to continue to train but soreness can hinder performance.

2. Yoga can improve posture

There are three main factors you want to consider when trying to improve posture and yoga addresses all of them. First, you need chest opening stretches to release tight muscles such as the pectorals and lats. Next you need core integration. A strong core builds the foundation for solid posture. And finally you need back strengthening exercises. Yoga will help improve all three of these resulting in much better posture.

3. Yoga reduces back pain

A study took a group of individuals who suffered from low back pain. Some where the control group who did nothing and two other groups either took yoga classes or were given a yoga video to do on their own. After 12 weeks the group who took the classes and those who followed the videos at home saw significant improvements with lower back pain compared to the control group.

4. Yoga improves balance, flexibility, and muscular strength

Another study took a group of people who never performed yoga before. They completed two sessions per week for eight weeks and saw significant improvements in balance, flexibility, and upper and lower body muscular strength. Another similar study found that yoga even helped improve muscular endurance. Although there were no significant changes in body composition these were pretty amazing results.

5. Yoga can help with depression

While if you are suffering from serious depression you should be seeking help from a professional therapist, we all have suffered from times when we are feeling down. A study was conducted with cancer survivors who complete seven weeks of yoga training. They found that after the seven weeks those who did the yoga experienced positive changes in emotional function, reduced depression, and reduced mood disturbances. One of the most beneficial aspects of yoga is its ability to help reduce stress. If you are feeling run down, depressed, or just stressed out, give a yoga class a try and see how you feel after.

6. Yoga can give you better body awareness

Having a keen sense of your body has a plethora of benefits. For starters, you will be less likely to overeat, you’ll know exactly which foods serve your body best, you’ll respect your body’s need to get more rest or get more exercise, and you’ll experience heightened sensual pleasure during sex.

This article originally published in the November 12, 2012 print edition of The Louisiana Weekly newspaper.

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