Many people find yoga to be relaxing, energizing, and to help contribute to a sense of calm, contentedness, and well-being. It also helps one become more flexible and breathe better and more fully, and conceivably could count as a form of light exercise. It doesn’t replace a good 20-30 minutes of cardio daily, but every little bit counts.
Of course, the vast majority of yoga practitioners are female, so it could be intimidating for men to start a yoga habit. But don’t let that stop you: like most arbitrarily gendered things, thinking yoga is just for women is silly. Let’s talk about a few benefits of yoga, benefits anyone can attain from yoga.
Many forms of exercise relieve stress in one way or another, but while vigorous or aggressive exercise routines can make one angry or just really tired, yoga uses techniques to make you overall calmer. For this reason, yoga makes a great way to start one’s day, because it promotes a calm but aware state of mind that can help get you through a busy work day with lots of quick thinking and tough choices, as well as help you stay on task better.
Did you think yoga was only about stretching and getting flexible? You’d be wrong. A lot of yoga exercises involve using your own body’s weight to build muscle. Your yoga routine may have a lot of stretching involved, but it can also include drawn-out pushups, leg lifts, squats, and more.
One of the more obvious benefits of yoga, you’ll find with just a few classes you might already feel more limber and springy. If you’re into any sports, know this: increased flexibility is an advantage in just about any sport. Those funny-feeling spine twists can especially help you relieve major tension and improve your tennis and golf abilities.
Yoga also has the benefit of reinforcing mindfulness of one’s own body and its needs and limits, which is a huge boon in other workouts you do or sports you play. The ability to listen to your body and be aware of its state at any given moment, and just how far its limits are being pushed, and most importantly, when you should stop, will be a huge boon in keeping yourself from getting hurt. Because seriously, who wants to nurse a broken bone, sprained ankle, etc, etc, when it could simply be avoided?
Yoga classes also place a significant emphasis on goal setting. You are likely to be asked to set a goal for any given individual session, and to set goals for the future in other areas of your life. They can be as small or large as you like, but keep them attainable and realistic. Further, be sure and reward yourself whenever you meet or exceed a goal; yoga can, surprisingly enough, help with all of these, as the mindset it fosters is incredibly conducive to calm, clear thinking, which is required to set good goals and then take steps to reach them.