I must admit I have become quite lazy over these past few months and I am starting to feel it now. Stiff joints, fatter around the middle and bad posture have become the norm and I really don’t like it, so I have started to practice yoga. Admittedly not on a daily basis (as I know I should) but when I do, my whole body feels so much better, like I’ve been stretched on one of those old fashioned racks they used to torture people with (but in a good way)
See here where to find an accredited yoga teacher in your area https://www.bwy.org.uk/ (always consult a doctor before starting any form of exercise)
1. Improves your flexibility
Feeling stiff? then yoga is one of the best practices to improve your flexibility it is one of the first and most obvious benefits of yoga. You might think ‘I can’t even touch my toes’, never mind do a backbend but don’t panic, by sticking at it you’ll notice a gradual loosening of your body and eventually, seemingly impossible poses will become possible. Aches and pains will start to disappear. Tight hips can strain the knee joint due to improper alignment of the thigh and shinbones. If your hamstrings are tight it can lead to a flattening of the lumbar spine, which can cause back pain. Inflexibility can cause poor posture.
2. Builds muscle strength
Yoga builds strong muscles. This doesn’t mean however, you will end up looking like Arnold Schwarzenegger. Having strong muscles also protect us from conditions like arthritis and help prevent falls in elderly people. And when you build strength through yoga, you balance it with flexibility. Two for the price of one so to speak.
3. Perfects your posture
Poor posture can cause back, neck, and other muscle and joint problems. So many of us nowadays are crouched over a computer causing us to slump forward. Our heads are as heavy as a bowling ball and when not properly aligned with the spine it can cause all sort of problems. Our bodies may compensate by flattening the normal inward curves in our neck and lower back. This can cause pain and degenerative arthritis of the spine.
4. Prevents cartilage and joint breakdown
Each time you practice yoga, you take your joints through their full range of motion. This can help prevent degenerative arthritis or mitigate disability by “squeezing and soaking” areas of cartilage that normally aren’t used. Joint cartilage is like a sponge; it receives fresh nutrients only when its fluid is squeezed out and a new supply can be soaked up.
5. Protects your spine
Spinal disks—the shock absorbers between the vertebrae that can herniate and compress nerves—crave movement. That’s the only way they get their nutrients. If you’ve got a well-balanced asana practice including back bends, twists and forward bends you’ll help keep your disks supple.
6.Betters your bone health
It’s a well known fact that weight-bearing exercises strengthen bones and helps ward off osteoporosis. Many postures in yoga require that you lift your own weight. And some, like downward facing dog (my favourite) help strengthen the arm bones, which are particularly vulnerable to fractures.
7. Drains your lymphs and boosts immunity
When you contract and stretch muscles, move organs around, and come in and out of yoga postures, you increase the drainage of lymph (a viscous fluid rich in immune cells). This helps the lymphatic system fight infection, destroy cancerous cells, and dispose of the toxic waste products of cellular functioning.