General Health Benefits of Yoga

yoga health benefits

Even in a mostly non-aerobic form of exercise like yoga, there are some risks which must be considered before you start.  Information provided by the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons shows that most injuries resulting from over-stretching and muscle strain.  Repetition will increase the likelihood of these injuries, so it is wise to be made aware of them before hand.  Below you will find the most common areas that these problems can occur.

  • Neck
  • Spine
  • Legs
  • Knees
  • Shoulders

If you have any previous injuries in these areas, extra care will need to be taken.  Additionally, some poses can also aggravate conditions if you have been diagnosed with any of the following conditions:

  • Pregnancy ( includes certain risks to your unborn child )
  • Osteoporosis, especially in severe cases.
  • Spine or back problems
  • Ear problems

The simple guidelines listed below are not just for those with the above mentioned conditions, but should be followed by anyone who is looking to get started with yoga.  Following these tips will go a long way towards preventing injury.

Before Starting Yoga

Pre existing Conditions or Pregnancy: Before starting any fitness routine it is very important to consult your healthcare provider before starting.  They will help to determine what forms of yoga are safe for your specific conditions.

Get an Instructor: By having a trained instructor help you, they will be able to ensure you follow the proper forms and techniques.  Many injuries can be avoided simply by having someone with experience nearby to make sure you properly utilize the routine.

Start Slow:  Yoga is not a competitive sport.  There is no need to try and outdo anyone.  It is very important to learn the essentials such as proper breathing, and maintaining balance before you begin the more advanced stretches.

Yoga will NOT a Replacement for Medical Care: Yes there are many benefits, and yes yoga is often included in many treatments.  This does not mean you can neglect your regular visits to your healthcare provider.  Make sure that you still get the treatments recommended by your physician

Be Aware of Your Limits: There are different forms of yoga, so it is important to inquire from your instructor or other practitioners about the physical demands of each.  Stay within your limits by finding out exactly which form of yoga will work best for your individual situation.

Maintain Proper Hydration: While this is true for any exercise, some forms of yoga are meant to make you sweat more, releasing toxins from the body.  It is vital that you consume the proper amount of fluids, not just for your immediate health but to get the maximum benefits of yoga.

Always Warm Up: Not warming up before a routine means you will be working out with “cold muscles”.  A proper warm up session goes a long way towards preventing injuries.

Proper Attire: You will want to wear clothes that will allow free movement of your entire body.  You don’t want to get hung up on overly loose clothing, or constrict blood vessels from being too tight.  You will be in a wide variety of abnormal positions, so dress appropriately.

Ask: A stupid question is one that isn’t asked.  Ensuring that you fully understand the exercise is one of the best ways to avoiding hurting yourself.  Never be afraid to be shown a pose again before trying it on your own.

Be Aware of Signals from your Body: Other than from stretching more than normal, yoga is not a routine that should hurt in anyway.  If your joints or muscles hurt, stop immediately what you are doing.  The same is true if you experience chest pains or dizziness.  If you continue to experience these problems after you cease the routine, get medical attention right away.

Major 8 Health Benefits You gain


Common conceptions about yoga are that you have to move and stretch like a gymnast.  This creates the false impression in many people that they are simply too old, or not in good enough shape to try yoga.  This is definitely not the case as there is never a bad time to improve your dexterity.

Yoga works by following a series of poses that safely stretch your muscles.  You may experience stiffness, tension, muscle pain, and fatigue but this is perfectly normal.  This comes from the release of lactic with repeated muscle use.  You will also be putting your joints through a greater range of motion than you normally would, which will work towards increasing lubrication, providing a sense of smoother, easier motion.

Yoga can provide you with increased flexibility in a relatively short amount of time.  The routines work more than just your muscles, by stretching virtually all of the soft tissue throughout your body.  Tendons, ligaments, and the fascia sheath surrounding your muscles will all benefit from a proper yoga routine.  One particular study has shown that students gained up to a 35% increase in flexibility after only eight weeks of training.  In this study, most improvements were found to be in the shoulders and trunk area.


For those of you who wish to improve your muscle tone and overall strength, there are more rigorous routines to follow.  Ashtanga and Power Yoga are two styles which are more intense, but help to improve your strength as well.

Remember though that even the slower, more meditative styles of yoga will also work to improve your general strength.  Even with less movement along with more focus on precise posture you can still make gains in both strength and endurance

There are many poses which work very well towards building upper body strength.  Examples of these are the downward and upward dog, and the plank pose.  Maintaining upper body strength is very important as we get older.  The standing poses will also provide an increase in strength to your abdomen, quadriceps and hamstrings, most notably when the poses are held for a longer period.  You can also strengthen your lower back with the upward dog and chair pose.  As long as you maintain proper form and any the exercises correctly, you can build core strength in your deep abdominal muscles.

Improved Posture

By developing your core muscles, it will be much easier for you to stand and sit straight.  Almost all of the poses in a routine will work towards developing your core strengths.  Yoga also tends to improve one’s awareness of their own body, so they are more likely to notice when slouching.  This not only has physical benefits but can have a surprising increase in mental health as well.

Lung Capacity

With all of the deep, relaxed, controlled breathing involved in the yoga routines, it should go without saying that your lung capacity will improve.  This also goes a long way towards increased stamina and endurance, that will help you to perform better in just about any sport.  To get the maximum aerobic benefits from yoga, try a power yoga session in a heated room.  It might not be as intense as running or cycling, but you will experience benefits all the same.

The majority of yoga routines focus on deeper, longer breaths of air.  This will help you to relax, and is the polar opposite of the fight or flight response from adrenaline.

Stress Relief as an Added Benefit

Since many yoga routines focus on deep breathing and relaxation exercises, it goes without saying that you will feel less stressed after even one session.  Meditation techniques will help quiet your mind of all the chatter running through it that is an underlying component of stress.  With deep breathing exercises and meditation, your mind will calm.

From this there are going to be biochemical responses in your body that provide a great deal of stress relief.  There are many explanations for this, a simple example is a significant decrease in catecholamines, produced by the adrenal glands when under stress.  With lower levels of neurotransmitters such as dopamine, or epinephrine, you will experience a calming sensation.  There is also research out there which suggest that there is a link to yoga and a boost of the hormone oxytocin, commonly known as the trust and bonding hormone.  Higher levels of oxytocin is associated with being relaxed, as well as connecting to other people around you.

Heart Benefits

In the heart disease program created by Dr. Dean Ornish, yoga was featured as a key component.  His program is regarded as being the first treatment program to actually reverse heart disease to a small degree.  By slowing the heart rate, blood pressure is lowered, while improving conditions like heart disease and stroke.  There are also studies which suggest that there may also be an antioxidant effect from yoga as well.  Benefits of this can include an increased immune system function, with lower cholesterol and triglycerides levels.

Concentration and Mood

If you know anyone who practices yoga, or read testimonials online you will many people stating that they experience far greater concentration along with the ability to focus.  Many will also claim to be happier and more fulfilled in general.  These are items which can’t really be pinned down by science as of yet, but with so many attesting to these benefits they are impossible to ignore.  Some research still in the early stages suggest that the increased blood flow to the brain helps in treating cases of depression.  While results are not yet conclusive, yoga is also being used in some cases to alleviate symptoms of obsessive-compulsive disorder as well.

Benefits to Other Medical Ailments

Therapeutic yoga has started to be used in treating an ever growing list of medical conditions.  This integrative yoga therapy ( IYT ) is used along with other therapies to treat everything from heart disease, depression, and back pain.  The breathing exercises have also shown to help relieve recurring symptoms of asthma, while proper techniques have also helped those who suffer from arthritis.  As of now, most of the worldwide research is being conducted outside of the United States, but there are fully funded clinical trials in regards to insomnia, and multiple sclerosis.

Unproven Benefits

Greater mental well being can help improve conditions in just about all areas of day to day life.  Lower stress and a calm mind can help to improve memory, or even expedite the learning process.  Researchers are still trying to pin down and prove if/how yoga can increase energy levels, and even self acceptance.

When it comes to mental health it is still very hard to prove factually what these benefits are.  Nonetheless there are millions of people worldwide who provide plenty of anecdotal evidence that yoga has improved their lives.  All you have to do is go to a yoga class and ask the participants what yoga has done for them.  You will likely hear more than just talk of fitness improvements, but increases in spirituality as well.

No matter what reasons motivate you to try yoga, it is definitely true that it will provide you with a great many health benefits if utilized properly.  Try it for yourself, see what yoga can do for you.  Most likely you will become one of the millions of people around the world who tout the benefits of yoga.


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Creating a home Yoga Practice

yoga for men

Anyone who has discovered how wonderful they feel after a yoga class inevitably comes to the question:

How do I create a home practice?

Do I need to recreate what I’ve done in class?

How do I remember what I’ve done in class?

What if I get a pose wrong?

How can I practice without the guiding instructions of my teacher?

There are a lot of differing views on this very dilemma that all yogis and yoginis come to. My opinion is this:

Quality not quantity is the important thing here. It’s not about how long you practice. Rather it’s about the regularity of your practice. So whether you have 5 minutes or 2 hours to practice in, it’s not important. Simply continuing to come back to your practice is.

So, with this in mind, start simple. Practice poses you know well, yes, even if that is only Savasana! As your discipline of a home practice grows, so will your enthusiasm. There are plenty of books, dvds, youtube videos and podcasts out there to give you ideas or a structure if that is what you want.

A home practice is really about you. It’s the ultimate yoga, you listening to your body and doing whatever your body wants for however long. By creating and maintaining a home practice, you’ll always have that post yoga bliss at your fingertips and your enjoyment of class will grow. Use your home practice as an opportunity to explore and your class practice to ask your teacher questions that have come up on your mat. The best of both worlds!

So, try it! Start simple and let it grow!

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Why you need Yoga in Life

Benefits of Yoga

Do you yoga? Yoga is one of the exercises that can create a healthy lifestyle internally and look fresh and fit externally. If you are new in yoga, you will probably do not have the idea on how yoga can perform such a good result in creating a healthy living. Each posture in yoga has different benefits to different parts of your organ. A very basic flow sequence in yoga, the sun salutation can be energy and create the inner heat of your body, with the inhale and exhale breathing process. It works with the entire body muscle strength, endurance, flexibility and breathing. It is basically a warm up flow to start a yoga class. It warm up every single muscle of your body so that you can performs well in the coming posture. There are many variations that can apply for any post in yoga. While you are familiar with the basic posture, your yoga teacher will create different variation to enhance your body flexibility and strength.

Posture in yoga is an important part in the overall class. A good and correct posture will helps you to cure your health issues while a wrong posture will hurts your muscle too. It is always good to join the yoga class to make sure that you are practicing in the correct posture. A long terms yoga will helps you to maintain a good body health. Why wait? join any yoga class around your area now! It can keep you slim and health!


Yoga is good for your mind. It will release your stress; improve your concentration, determination and mental focus. Besides, it wills also stabilities your emotion, change your bad habits into inspiring ways of being. Yoga teaches you how to concentrate your mind by focuses on specific part of your body. It teaches you on how to release your tension like worrying about what you are going to have for lunch or what you need to present to your supervisors. Yoga teaches you how to focus internally, between your body and head. For example, Savasana is the pose where you can practiced not to fight against any thoughts you have, but to let them come and go with the focus of your muscles feel. This is to bring you into peace, clam and relax state. Savasana is always the final pose of your yoga class.


Yoga can help to improve your body flexibility and strength. Besides, it can also improve your core strength and cardiovascular endurance. If you plan to manage your weight in a long run, yoga will be your best choice. Person with digestion problem or nervous system problem can also go for yoga class to help condition your body.

Soul and Spirit

Pranayama is the breathing techniques use to merge your mind, body, soul and spirit. It is believed that by controlling your pranayama breathing will control the energy that flow in your body. By practicing pranayamas breathing, it will slow down the heart rate, calms your mind and leads to a deeper and inner sense of relaxation. By practicing yoga in a long run, you can uplift your emotion, to create a greater self-awareness of well-being.

Types of Yoga

There are many different types of yoga classes, just to name a few below. Yoga Mudra is a movement that holds energy while Yoga Bandha is the technique of holding muscular contractions to focus awareness. These technique are commonly used in most of the yoga class.

Hatha Yoga

Hatha Yoga is the most basic yoga where it is widely practiced around the world. Movement is slow and smooth where the main focus is on holding different poses and integrates your breathing into the movement. It is great for stretching your muscles, get in touch with your body, and decrease your stress. This is the most fundamental yoga and preparation class for other yoga class.

Vinyasa Yoga

Vinyasa yoga is a dynamic flow of postures connected together with breath, a combination of movement and breath. This is more to posture like hold, extend, release and reposition. In Vinyasa, the move into the breath and posture that links the motion is a very important section.

Prenatal Yoga

Prenatal yoga is yoga for expectant mothers. If you are a seasoned yogi looking for a healthy pregnant exercise, here is your best choice. It is believed that prenatal yoga can increase your body circulation, improved your mobility and maintain physical and mental balance for this special period. By practicing deep breathing can calms your mind and spirit, thus relax your body in each transition of your pregnancy.

Power Yoga

Power yoga is the next stage of your fitness regimen. It is the combination of strength and aerobic activity, offering a totally new challenge for practitioner. You will release your stress and find peace as well as enjoying your athletes’ workouts at the same time. It is believes that by performing power yoga will reduces the symptoms of chronic illness.

Hot Yoga

Hot Yoga is the popular style for the one that love to sweat. Hot yoga is practice in a well-heated room to help cleanse both the body and mind. In a long run, it will release your body toxins, improves your body flexibility and develops your muscle tone. Besides, it is also a very good exercise for weight loss.

Fitness Yoga

Fitness Yoga is total body fitness yoga. Fitness yoga can increase your body strength, extend cardiovascular capabilities and also improve your body’s core. You may need tools like hand weights, straps or body bars for fitness yoga. By performing this exercise will provides a greater band of total muscle development.


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