You have probably seen one of them. They boast limber bones and flexible muscles. They assume a position on a mat on the floor and do fluid movements culminating in poses that defy the laws of physics. And while they are at it, they look great. And they appear quite calm, too.
We are talking about yoga practitioners. Yes, there are many of them. And that’s for understandable reasons. For the uninitiated spectator, yoga may look like torture. But for the enthusiasts of this exercise, it’s a much-welcome reprieve from when life gets too noisy and hectic.
No, yoga is not merely a fad. It has existed for 5,000 years. And it’s about to stay in fashion for a while. Why? The simplest answer is this: it works for one’s overall well-being.
Read on if you want to get to know yoga more.
Yoga Poses for Beginners
You don’t have to be an accomplished contortionist to practice yoga. You only need the drive to push your body beyond its usual limits. A comfy mat and equally comfy yoga apparel would help as well.
Begin your yoga journey with the basics. Here are some poses to try.
· Standing poses – These are usually the first poses to warm up students in yoga classes. Examples: Downward Facing Dog, Mountain Pose, Warrior I (Virabhadrasana I), Warrior II (Virabhadrasana II), Extended Side Angle
· Balancing poses – Before tackling more advanced postures, beginners are trained to build their core strength through balancing poses.
Examples: Tree Pose, Downward Facing Dog Split, Plank Pose
· Backbends – Helpful for developing longevity and spinal health, backbends involve gently flexing and extending the spine.
Examples: Cat-Cow Stretch, Bridge Pose, Cobra Pose, Ashtanga Namaskara (Knees, Chest, and Chin)
· Seated poses – These are stretching exercises for the hips and hamstrings.
Examples: Staff Pose, Cobbler’s Pose, Easy Pose (Sukhasana), Half Lord of the Fishes Pose, Head to Knee Pose (Janu Sirsasana)
· Supine poses – Also called resting poses, these are done as follow-throughs for seated poses and to initiate breaks during sessions.
Examples: Happy Baby Pose, Supine Spinal Twist, Corpse Pose (Savasana)
A yoga instructor will guide you through the fluid movements necessary to arrive at these poses. Or you can go to YouTube for free yoga tutorial videos. Either way, you must get into this activity with an open mind and a body ready to let loose.
Yoga for Burning Calories
As you progress with your yoga journey, you will pull off more elaborate poses where your body will get tested even more. You burn calories as a result.
The intensity of the exercise you commit to will affect how many calories you burn. If your main goal for doing yoga is weight loss, you should pursue three to five sessions a week for at least an hour each time.
The number of calories you burn may also depend on your yoga type. The following lists one-hour yoga routines and their corresponding calorie loss:
· Bikram (hot yoga) – 400 calories
· Vinyasa – 400-500 calories
· Hatha – 214 calories
· Ashtanga – 343 calories
· Power yoga – 360 calories
While yoga does promise weight loss, that’s not the be-all and end-all of the exercise. Keep in mind that yoga is all about holistic health.
Other Yoga Benefits
No one pursues yoga for weight loss alone. Those most serious with their yoga commitment know that losing weight is just the tip of the iceberg in terms of the benefits the exercise has in store for them. The following yoga advantages are just as noteworthy.
· Stress management – Consider yoga as meditation’s more physical sibling. The idea behind yoga poses is to help you find your center. Once you do find your center, you’ll be more grounded and at peace. No matter how frenetic life gets, you’ll be more equipped to breathing exercises, and power through. You will cope with stress better.
· Strength, balance, and flexibility – You do not get into yoga because you’re already confident with your strength, balance, and flexibility and want to show off. You get into yoga because you know the exercise will elevate those aptitudes. Once that happens, you will easily perform demanding physical activities, whether exercising or carrying boxes from the ground floor to your new 3rd-floor apartment.
· Backpain relief – Chronic back pain is a debilitating condition. In the past, doctors would prescribe bed rest to patients who suffered from this ailment. These days, that’s no longer the most popular recourse. Yoga has been championed as an alternative. Thanks to the backbend yoga pose, back pain alleviation becomes possible.
· Reduce inflammation – Inflammation is a natural immune response. However, too much of it is bad for the body. It can trigger serious medical conditions like diabetes, heart disease, and cancer. Experts suggest that yoga may reduce inflammation.
· Ease arthritis symptoms – According to a John Hopkins review, people with arthritis may benefit from gentle yoga. Pain and discomfort linked to tender and swollen joints may be eased by consistent yoga practice.
· Improved quality of life – Yoga as a fitness routine does not zero in on a specific effect. Instead, it endeavors to achieve a holistic result, encompassing all critical points of a person’s well-being. With yoga, you will improve how your body works. You get to manage better how your mind works as well. And more importantly, the activity guides you toward spiritual maturity.
There are many ways to get fit and healthy. There’s no shortage of exercise fads. However, they come and go.
Those that remain popular owe their lasting appeal and relevance to the positive results they yield. That explains why yoga is still the go-to exercise for many people. Its long history is a testament to how effective it is.
From physical to mental benefits, yoga has a lot to offer. So, consider yoga if you want to pursue a physical activity or introduce a new one to your established fitness routine. Rest assured, you’ll feel like an entirely new person after a few sessions. Or, at the least, you’ll feel like a better version of your old self.