Yoga is a way to reduce stress and anxiety, which leads to a variety of mental and emotional benefits. But yoga is also a form of exercise. It is excellent exercise, the kind that provides significant cardiovascular and other benefits. Current physical activity guidelines for older adults emphasize improving balance and flexibility in addition to strength. Taking a yoga class may help many people meet those guidelines.
Yoga can also help people reach other physical activity goals. Many yoga poses are weight-bearing, so in addition to helping with flexibility and balance, yoga will strengthen muscles and bones. Yoga also burns up calories. At a beginning level, it uses them at the same rate as walking slowly, but as people get more experienced, sessions tend to get more strenuous. Researchers have found that yoga accomplishes what many of us want from exercise: lower blood pressure, a slower pulse, better cholesterol readings. Survey in Harvard Medical School shows that power yoga sequences got the volunteers' hearts beating faster (55% of the maximum heart rate) and reved up their metabolic rates. The researchers pointed out that intermediate or advanced classes may provide more vigorous exercise. As well a regular practice has a positive effect on bone formation.
For the one interested in how yoga is connected with the weight loss, let's see on what depends the weight loss process. Fat loss occurs in direct response to hormones, eating habits, activity level, and metabolism.
How yoga helps:
1) lowers cortisol (stress hormone known for causing that unwanted belly fat around our midsection) levels;
3) builds muscles - body weight workout (asanas are using the weight of your own body to create resistance);
4) cardio work;
5) circulation - deep and slow breathing during yoga can improve circulation by allowing arteries to open up and release pressure, increasing the blood flow;
6) works to balance the entire endocrine system (hormone balance);
7) builds persistance - the most important ingredient to reach even the seemingly impossible.
There are many different styles of yoga, each of them having different focus or different approach, we can choose the combination that works the best for us due to our goals. By keep experimenting on the way of perfection, the process actually boosts as well our curiosity and creativity, which could change our life in a completely unexpectedly awesome way. Sometimes we walk on our path and with each step we discover that there is so much more than we ever imagine. New options, new possibilities and opportunities open up in front of us.
Yoga is an amazing tool that combines mental and physical benefits. Enriching ourselves mentally but being physically weak, or focusing on our body and physical strength but having poor mentality, is a choice that we don't need to make. It's not just we can have the both but it's a waist if we don't.
Image 'How yoga transforms your body' by @_.yogmaya._ (Instagram)