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10 Benefits of Doing Yoga

Posted by: Mira Roberts
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Practicing yoga has become more and more trendy over the last 10-15 years, yet has somehow avoided becoming just another exercise fad. That's because a regular yoga practice develops an array of healthy habits and benefits that increase happiness, promote relaxation and develop improved overall health.

We're big fans of yoga, and we offer our residents complimentary yoga classes every Monday night from 6 pm to 7 pm in our peaceful and beautiful yoga room. Our residents work hard, and we want them to come home and experience a decrease in stress and improved quality of life- two things they can count on from a regular yoga practice.

Our residents occasionally ask us about the reasons for trying out a new yoga class. Here are 10 benefits of practicing yoga that we think stand out. As always, before making any changes to your lifestyle or fitness routine, be sure to consult your physician for approval. Namaste! 

Improves Flexibility
Runners, weight lifters and those who sit in chairs for long periods of time during the day will be happy to know that  improved flexibility is one of the first and most widely-recognized benefits of yoga. Through regular practice, students note improved flexibility in their hamstrings and hips that help benefit their knees, backs and buttocks.

Builds Strength
Yoga's sequencing provides an equal balance between muscle strengthening and flexibility, and this perfect combination helps your muscles to grow strong while developing mobility. A regular yoga practice may help to strengthen weakened ab and back muscles, butt muscles, legs, hips and even shoulders.

Promotes Better Posture
Especially for those of us who have spent too much time in chairs or seated positions throughout the day, posture can become problematic and downright painful over time. Yoga works to strengthen your spine, improve muscle strength and increase blood flow, all working to help you sit and stand up taller and straighter than ever before.

Promotes Increased Blood Flow
For those with circulation issues, especially in the hands and feet, yoga's gentle poses and exercises will help to increase circulation and blood flow, bringing more oxygen to your cells. 

Supports Better Focus
Yoga philosophy and practice encourage shifting focus toward the present moment, improving coordination, reaction time and even memory. During the day, there are countless times you may find your mind moving in 100s of directions. During a 1 hour yoga class, the goal is to keep your mind entirely focused on your body, breath and movement to help you hone your focus and connect to the present.

Decreases Stress
Through yogic breath, controlled movement and quiet relaxation techniques, most basic or gentle yoga classes will decrease your stress after even just a couple of classes. Stepping onto a yoga mat is an invitation to leave the rest of your day behind you, and while in practice, yoga teachers ask students to focus on the present, connect to their breath and let go of toxic thoughts. Over time, this practice may be easier to incorporate into your daily life, and help you to improve your mood and stress level.

Improves Balance
A standard, regular yoga practice should work to increase your awareness in space and in your body, or proprioception. Over time, this may support improved balance and result in fewer falls or clumsy missteps, preventing injury and aligning your posture and movement for better overall health and mobility.

Boosts Immunity
Yoga classes that incorporate meditation into their practice encourage improved immunity, according to scientific study. Meditation practices are proven to improve your overall immune system functioning, encouraging the appropriate rise and lowering of antibody levels when needed.

Decreases Pain
Several studies have proven that a regular yoga practice can help to ease pain in those suffering from arthritis, fibromyalgia and back pain. Through muscle strengthening, flexibility, improved balance and decreased stress, students can find relief from a variety of chronic pain ailments.

Improves Lung Functioning
Yoga promotes breathing in through the nose which helps to filter and humidify air, while preventing pollen and dirt from making their way into your airway. Yogic breathing techniques are often noted for increasing the amount of air taken in with fewer breaths, as well as developing a more efficient exhale. 


Photo | By André R. Maciel (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

About the Author
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Mira Roberts

Mira Roberts studied writing at New York University, graduating with a BA in English Literature before pursuing a career in media, marketing and management with PARADE Magazine, Portfolio Magazine, AltDaily, skirt! and lululemon athletica. A full time mother, writing instructor and part-time freelance writer, Mira lives and laughs with her family in Norfolk, VA. 


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