When you practice yoga on a daily basis, you have the ability to increase your proprioception. This is the ability to sense what your body is doing which improves balance. Balance is essential to any kind of workout. Having yourself centered allows you to maneuver more easily and stack the body properly so you can maximize strength. There are many benefits that yoga offers when it comes to giving you a far superior workout than you’ve been experiencing. Here are some of those advantages.
Yoga Improves Posture
Yoga helps to improve your posture which means you negate dysfunctional movements that have been causing you to have poor sense of your own body. Not having balance in the body usually causes problems in the joints as well as the back. The poses of yoga can tend to cause discomfort as you get used to them. That usually indicates a proper readjustment of the body and is very useful in stretching and promoting good posture when done in a slow, methodical way. This matter for someone lifting weights because if posture is good, you can properly stack your body. You reduce the risk of hurting yourself and you can lift more weights with less effort.
Yoga Decreases Body Tension
When you feel stressed, your muscles naturally tense up. It’s a natural reaction to stress because the body is trying to protect itself from the perceived danger. When you experience chronic stress, the muscles tend to stay in a state of protection. This causes a chain reaction that causes stress-related disorders. Tension headaches can occur from tension in the shoulders or the neck.
These conditions can become painful which makes it harder to do your workout regime. While working out does help release stress, especially aerobic exercise that release endorphins, yoga will also stop the accumulation of stress. Trying to manage stress through a hard core workout when your muscles are already tense can cause injury. Though gentle stretches and deep breathing, you release tension in various areas with little risk of injury. Relaxation techniques like meditation, breathing and slow stretching has been scientifically proven to reduce stress-related disorders.
Yoga and Your Breath
If you’re under stress, you may find it difficult to use your full lung capacity. Having the maximum amount of breathing space for your workout maximizes how well the body can manage anything. If you’re a runner, you need to be able to breathe to your full extent to maintain the exercise.
Yoga and its connection to anti-stress has proven to help you breathe easier. When you breathe deeply through the poses, you expand your lung capacity. This in turn aids the nervous system in becoming calmer.
The Cardiovascular System
Blood and heart vessels make up your cardio system. They work to give nutrients and oxygen to the organs in your body. They also coordinate in the body’s response to stress. Whether it’s acute stress or chronic stress, it puts strain on the cardiovascular system. It increases the heart rate and causes adrenaline and cortisol to rise. This is where our body is stronger and faster so it can manage a dangerous situation. This is natural.
It becomes a problem when chronic stress is introduced which is common nowadays. Elevated levels of stress hormones cause blood pressure to rise and causes the body to break down. It can cause heart attack and other serious problems.
When you’re in a constant state of fight of flight, you don’t workout effectively. You may become agitated at any challenge you face during your workout. The brain is fuzzy and you lose your focus, which is something you need when you have a serious regime.
Yoga prevents the body from reaching this critical point. It helps to lower blood pressure, increases lung capacity, and helps the respiratory function to work more effectively. Circulation is boosted and muscle tone becomes more enhanced. Your overall well-being is influenced positively while you strengthen the body. Acute emotional stress can be managed through yoga which means it doesn’t go past the point and become chronic stress. It’s due to the calming benefits. Some yoga instructors even believe that your blood pressure will be lower after just one yoga class. This is especially true when doing restorative yoga classes.
Chronic stress is a killer for your work out. Stressors over a long space of time causes the body to stop working at an optimum. You need the body to work effectively to maintain the strength within all the systems. If the sympathetic nervous system is so sensitive that it causes physical reactions for every trigger, the body wear down. This could prevent you from continuing your workout regime. Having yoga as a part of your weekly workout can help reduce all the stress that builds up, giving your body all the benefits of a well balanced machine.
Meera Watts is a yoga teacher, entrepreneur and mom. Her writing on yoga and holistic health has appeared in Elephant Journal, CureJoy, FunTimesGuide, OMtimes and others. She’s also the founder and owner of SiddhiYoga.com, a yoga teacher training school based in Singapore. Siddhi Yoga runs intensive, residential trainings in India (Rishikesh, Goa and Dharamshala), Indonesia (Bali)