Updated: May 4, 2019
The Benefits of Yoga
by Joan Traub
In our hectic lives, it is often difficult to find the time to focus on ourselves. Yoga offers the opportunity for balancing mind and body, developing core strength, and improving flexibility all in one efficient package. Many professional sports teams have incorporated yoga into their training programs. As well, amateur athletes including martial artists, cyclists, mountain bikers, snowboarders, swimmers, golfers, and runners are participating in yoga classes to loosen tight muscles, centre themselves, and reduce stress.
You don’t have to be an athlete to experience the benefits of yoga. Yoga is for everyone. Forget about your fitness level, forget about your age. Yoga is a non-competitive, enjoyable activity that can produce truly amazing results. The physical benefits of yoga include increased strength, greater flexibility, and improved balance.
The word “yoga” means “union”, the union of mind, body, and spirit. If you want to relax and become balanced and calm, yoga will lead you there. If you want to achieve peace of mind and discover your hidden potential, yoga is the answer. Yoga will help improve your flexibility, tone your muscles, relieve tension, and strengthen bones. Does this all sound too good to be true? Why not give it a try. Come and experience the benefits of Yoga.
What to expect in a Hatha Yoga Class
Hatha Yoga is the basic form of Yoga that all other styles of Yoga were developed from. Hatha Yoga has been around for over 5,000 years. During a Hatha Yoga class, the Yoga instructor will lead you through a series of gentle poses or asanas. Hatha Yoga focuses on the breath, physical strength, and stillness of the mind. With the practice of Yoga, flexibility will gradually increase and the body will feel lighter and full of energy. Each class includes meditation and relaxation techniques aimed at providing you with the tools to keep you positive. You will leave feeling refreshed and rejuvenated.
There are many forms of Yoga, but Hatha Yoga is the form most commonly practiced in the West. Hatha Yoga emphasizes balancing the opposing forces in the body. Forward bends are followed by backward bends, standing postures by the inversions, contractions by expansions, and movements to the left by movements to the right. Hatha Yoga combines gentle stretching, breathing, and relaxation techniques to develop core strength, improve flexibility, and promote balance of mind and body. Following a series of low impact and gentle stretching postures, every muscle is toned and strengthened. Simple breathing and relaxation techniques are designed to calm the mind and improve concentration.
Regular practice of Yoga postures will improve immune, respiratory, circulatory, digestive, and nervous systems. Yoga helps strengthen, tone, and relax. Research shows many benefits, including relief from neck and back pain, carpel tunnel syndrome, heart disease, and hypertension. By taking 1-2 classes a week, you will gradually notice changes in your body, as well as other aspects of your life.
Joan Traub founded Airdrie Yoga Studio in 2005 and has been teaching Yoga for the past ten years. Joan currently instructs Hatha Yoga Class for Ladies Out Loud.