While riding the bike in the gym a week, I had been doing my best to have my iPod drown out the incessant chatter of a guy and gal next to me. During the course of the long, and loud, dialog, I heard the guy made an interesting comment in response to the women’s much too comprehensive description of the physical fitness classes she’d signed up for, which included yoga.
He explained, “I guessed yoga was just a cool pastime disguised as exercise.” Oh how I wanted to tell him that could not be further from the truth, but figured it best to keep peddling lest I spend the remainder of my cherished aerobic time chatting when I must be breathing. When many think of yoga, pictures of zoned-out new-agers in pretzel-like positions chanting mantras, may come to mind, but think about this: Yoga is an ancient practice that can help you handle the stress of modern life.
It’s been reported that over six million Americans are currently practicing some kind of yoga to improve stamina and endurance among other physical and psychological health benefits. And, it’s a lot more than only a trend. After all, yoga is over 5,000 years old and still going strong.
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According to findings from the American Council on Exercise (ACE) that appeared at 34 non-active women in their twenties doing Hatha yoga, which is regarded as among the simplest types of yoga to learn, they found that the women vastly improved their flexibility, balance, and aerobic fitness level in addition to their muscle strength and physical endurance after only eight months of 55-minute yoga courses taken three times weekly.
Apparently, a Hatha yoga session of 50 minutes burns 144 calories that’s very similar to taking a slow walk. Not a bad additional advantage considering yoga is often perceived as merely a kind of relaxation. ACE also found that their test group showed significant improvement in their shoulder and body flexibility, with the ability to perform more push-ups and curl-ups as part of their outcome.
Posture also improved in each the subjects. Improved physical equilibrium, joint motion, muscular strengthening and coordination. Improvement of joint range of movement, flexibility and extensibility of connective tissue. Improved posture that allows internal organs to function properly and improves breathing. Stimulation of the nervous system. Improved circulation and pulmonary function. Decreased the chance of injury. Promotion of comfort and stress reduction. As mind/body exercise continues to take hold in the current, the practice of yoga has moved out of the alternative to the mainstream. So don’t let anyone’s preconceived notions of yoga save you from practicing it and appreciating the benefits of this dynamic mind/body exercise.