Yoga Health Benefits: Flexibility, Strength, Posture, and More For Your Body

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Yoga is a great way to develop flexibility and strength. Almost everyone can do it—and it’s not just for those who can touch their toes or want to meditate.Some types of yoga are about relaxation. In other situations, you move more. Most types focus on learning postures, called asanas. They often also include attention to breathing.

Yoga creates poses by stretching the muscles. They can help you move better and reduce stiffness or tiredness.

At any level of yoga, you’ll likely start noticing benefits pretty quickly. In one study, people improved their flexibility by 8% after practicing for 35 weeks.

Some styles of yoga, like Ashtanga and Power Yoga, are very physical. Practicing one of these styles will help you improve your muscle tone.

But even less strenuous styles of yoga, such as Iyengar or Hatha, can provide strength and endurance benefits.

Many poses, such as downward dog, upward dog, and plank pose, build upper body strength. Standing poses, especially if you hold them for a few long breaths, build strength in your hamstrings, quads, and abs. Poses that strengthen the lower back include upward dog and chair poses.

When done right, almost all poses build core strength in the deep abs.

As you get stronger and more flexible, your posture improves.

Most standing and sitting poses build core strength because you need your core muscles to support and maintain each pose.

With a stronger core, you’re more likely to sit and stand “tall”.

Yoga also helps with awareness of your body. This helps you notice more quickly if you’re slouching or sagging, so you can adjust your posture.

Yoga generally involves paying attention to your breathing, which can help you relax. It may also require specific breathing techniques.

But yoga isn’t usually aerobic, like running or cycling, unless it’s an intense form of yoga.

After doing some yoga, you may feel less stressed and more relaxed.

Some styles of yoga use meditation techniques to help calm the mind. Focusing on the breath in yoga can do the same.

Yoga is known to lower blood pressure and slow the heart rate. A slower heart rate can benefit people with high blood pressure or heart disease, as well as those who have had a stroke.

Yoga has also been linked to lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels and better immune system function.

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