For centuries, yoga has been considered the training of the mind, body, and soul.
Michelle Brewster, wellness coach and the founder of SupaChick shared five health benefits of yoga that you may not have realized yet.
IT BOOSTS CIRCULATION AND STRENGTHENS THE IMMUNITY
By practicing yoga, not only that you train your body to adopt different postures, but you also take control of your breathing. The correlation between movement and breathing improves blood flow, which further improves the functions of the internal organs and strengthens your body’s immune system.
KEY POSTURE: SURYA NAMASKAR
These eight consecutive sequences will generate increased circulation and a controlled breathing rate.
IT INCREASES YOUR LIBIDO
There is both a mental and a physical relation between yoga and a person’s sexual drive, the libido. The mental process of breathing control while practicing yoga will improve your sexual experience. The physical movement for achieving the desired posture will increase the blood flow to the genital area and it will strengthen the pelvic floor muscles, also known as the Mūla Bandha.
The increased blood flow will also increase the level of sexual arousal, and thus yoga can increase your libido and improve your sexual life.
KEY POSTURE: BADDHA KOṆĀSANA
This posture is particularly beneficial for the hips, it strengthens the inner thighs and stimulates the pelvic floor muscles.
Yoga is known as a relaxing activity and the feelings of satisfaction go beyond the pleasure you have after the very practice. Yoga helps you find the physical, mental and emotional balance that can reduce your basic levels of stress and anxiety.
The yoga practice that combines body posture, meditation and breathing can lower blood pressure and restore a healthy heart rhythm.
KEY POSTURES: SHAVASANA
This posture will enable the body to regroup, relax, and reset.
IT PROMOTES BETTER BODY POSTURE
Yoga teaches you how to hold and control your body in a healthier state. The more you exercise, the more you will find that your balance and body awareness will improve beyond the gym. In a yoga class, you are trained to make small, subtle adjustments in order to improve your body alignment – this can lead to a better posture in the long run.
Doing so will increase the level of comfort you have in your own body and lead to more confidence.
KEY POSTURES: VRIKSHASANA
This posture will improve your sense of balance, body awareness, and postural control.
IT ACCELERATES THE HANGOVER TREATMENT PROCESS
After a night out in the city, or even just a glass of wine, yoga may be the last thing on your mind. Still, it is a proven way to boost metabolism and detoxify the entire system. The right yoga routine will also cleanse your body as a form of detoxification, and it can remove toxins by facilitating digestion and building a lean muscle mass.
KEY POSTURES: ARDHA MATSYENDRASANA
This posture will cleanse your body by stimulating the liver, kidneys and digestive tract.
Yoga is considered one of the best exercises for the body and spirit.
It improves the bond between them and increases the flexibility of the organism. Yoga is an exercise whose action lasts long after exercise.
However, the same as for any other exercise, the rule to follow instructions applies for yoga as well. Before you start practicing yoga, first ask about a good yoga instructor. You need someone who is educated in the field, who has a great experience, whose presence makes you feel relaxed.
There are many types of yoga with different purposes. Still, there are also many common elements that are applied in every class. Here are 10 things you should know before your first yoga class:
When you are choosing a yoga course, it is important that you know if it is for beginners, whether there are any modifications to the postures, etc. Find more information on the Internet or simply talk to someone who has already attended yoga classes.
Often, yoga studios have their own mats, so it is not necessary that you buy your own mat. It is also advisable that you bring a towel and a bottle of water.
MEET YOUR INSTRUCTOR
Arrive at least 10 minutes before class and talk to the instructor. You should tell him if you have had any injuries or problems with other parts of the body. Ask what is the best position in the room that enables you to see the instructor, so that he/she can monitor your movements as well.
TURN OFF YOUR MOBILE PHONE
You should turn off your mobile phone during the yoga class, because it is a time for relaxation, not only for you but for everyone else in the room as well. Be respectful to the others, and if you don’t want to turn off the phone completely, at least turn off the ringtone.
OPEN YOUR MIND
Each instructor has his or her own style. With some you will sing, with some you will breathe out loud. Be open about these things, but if you do not feel comfortable, you do not have to do any of that.
RESPECT YOUR BODY
Almost all yoga studios have props that facilitate the exercises. These are intended for use when you are experiencing difficulties with some posture. If you find some exercise overwhelming, feel free to use one of the props or just take a short break.
DO NOT COMPARE TO OTHERS
Yoga is meant to help you connect with yourself. It is not a competition with others, rather a class designed for you and your needs. If the person next to you can make a posture more easily, this does not mean that you should burden yourself in order to achieve it. Simply respect the rhythm of your body and exercise for yourself.
EXPECT CORRECTION OF POSTURES
Most instructors walk around the room and correct the improperly made postures. This is important for the exercises because if you make your posture incorrectly, you will not achieve its effects.
DO NOT WEAR SOCKS
Free your feet. If you wish, you can bring your own mat due to hygiene reasons.
DO NOT EAT LARGE MEALS BEFORE CLASS
Yoga exercises include a lot of bending and leaning. To avoid discomfort, it is not recommendable that you eat before class. An additional reason is that this will render the exercise more difficult.
One of the main purposes of yoga is to help focus on the moment, and thus to relax you completely. At the end of the class, some instructors dedicate some time to meditation or a massage of the head or shoulders.
Persistent exercise can also significantly alleviate back and joint pain.
If you’re hunched over your laptop at the moment, you’re not alone. Calculate how many hours you sit, eight hours a day, five days a week! It may be better to skip counting and look at these yoga poses to help erase the effects of sitting on your spine.
- Stand straight and spread your legs slightly more than one meter. The fingers of the left foot should be directed to the left side and the fingers of the right foot should be directed forwards.
Lift your arms up to your shoulders and spread them out. Your palms should be positioned downwards. Bend the knee of the left leg and lower enough to form a 90° angle with the leg (at the knee).
Stay in this position for approximately 20 seconds. Breathe deeply during this time. Then repeat the same thing on the other side.
Why makes this posture useful: This posture will allow you to stretch the muscles of your inner thighs, chest, abdomen, and shoulders. The result is nicely toned muscles of the arms, legs and lower abdomen.
- Spread your legs and widen your hips. While you raise your hands upwards with your palms facing each other, bend your knees and direct your buttocks backward as if you are sitting on a chair.
You should not move the knees further than the toes. Pull your stomach muscles inward and keep your back in a straight position. Stay in that position for 20 seconds and breathe deeply. Take a short break and repeat the posture.
Why makes this posture useful: This posture is useful for improving body posture because it teaches us how to keep our back straight. It will adorn you with beautiful firm legs and greater stability of the body.
- One can say that this posture is a combination of the previous two.
Stand in posture 1, then bring your right arm closer to your left arm, point your palms toward each other and start lifting your arms upwards, while you are facing the left direction. Stay in that position for 30 seconds. Then repeat it on the other side.
Why makes this posture useful: This posture helps you stretch the muscles of the entire body and strengthen your legs and arms.
- Kneel in a dog pose. Your hands should be on your shoulders with your fingers spread out. Slowly start lifting your knees from the floor and completely straighten your legs.
Move your legs backwards a few centimeters and move your arms forward in order to stand in the correct position (as shown in the picture).
Make an effort to move your heels closer to the floor. Make sure your back is straight all the time. Breathe deeply and stay in this position for at least 40 seconds.
Why makes this posture useful: This posture helps you strengthen the upper part of the body. During this posture, the hips are higher than the heart, so this improves the overall circulation.
- Lie on your stomach. Place your arms on your shoulders, just below them. Raise the upper body by means of your hands and the back part of the body by means of the toes. Try to push the heels backward. Your upper and lower body should be at the same height.
Stay in this position for 10 seconds, and then straighten your arms in the part of your elbows. Now, your upper body should be higher than your lower body. Stay in the second position for 50 seconds. Hold your back straight and breathe deeply.
Why makes this posture useful: This posture is simple, however slightly more endurance is required. It strengthens the upper body and all major muscles of the arms, legs, and stomach.
- Sit on the floor and bend your knees. Bend the upper body backward and lean on your hands. Lift your feet up from the floor, and then extend your arms forward so that they are parallel to the floor.
Your body should form the letter V. Hold your back straight and start stretching your legs with your fingers straight. Stay in this position for approximately 30 seconds. Repeat it 5 times.
Why makes this posture useful: This posture will help you strengthen the muscles in the center, i.e. the abdominal muscles, as well as the back muscles and the legs.
- Stand straight and spread your legs slightly more than one meter. The fingers of the left foot should be directed forward, and the fingers of the right foot should be directed towards the right side.
Bend in the right direction and place your right hand behind your right foot. Stretch your left arm upright so that it will be perpendicular to the floor.
Try to shape a straight line with your right foot and both hands. Stay in this position for 20-30 seconds. Then repeat it on the other side.
Why makes this posture useful: You will immediately feel your muscle stretch in the center of the body. In addition to the legs, the hands also lift a heavy load from this exercise, so the result is strengthened muscles of the hands and feet.
- Sit on the floor with your legs straight. Put your left leg over the right one and place your foot next to the right knee. Turn your upper body on the left.
Turn your left arm to the left, and bend your right arm in the part of the elbow and place the elbow in front of the left knee. Turn your head to the left and keep your back straight. Breathe slowly and stay in this position for 20-30 seconds.
Then do the same on the other side.
Why makes this posture useful: This posture helps you stretch your back, neck and shoulder muscles. It is especially useful to improve digestion and increase blood flow to the lower abdomen.