Yoga is a great way to stay healthy and fit and has the added benefit slowing the aging process if you continue your practice along the years. Here are few reasons that substantiate why:
• Balance is a major component of many of the yoga poses – the warrior, the triangle and the tree pose that most of you must be familiar with. Our ability to balance requires the use of both our body and our brain which yoga practice allows. The balancing poses used in yoga help us to sync communication between the right and left hemispheres of the brain also improving our agility.
• As we age, most people complain of increased aches, pains and stiffness. Yoga creates flexibility. With regular yoga practice, you will find greater comfort in your body as you advance in your years. Regular practice helps lengthen the spine, improve nerve conduction to all organs and generally allows greater flexibility.
• Yoga builds strength slowly and safely. Weight bearing poses such as the downward dog, cobra and plank reduce the chances of fractures as you age. With regular practice, you will build strong muscles and also see increased bone density.
• Breathing is equal to life and however simple it may sound; we often don’t breathe right. Yoga practice increases your lungs capacity to bring in life force as you focus on your breath. Increased and improved breathing increases overall energy, helps lower blood pressure, improves digestion and circulation and reduces stress levels.
• Body awareness is crucial as you age. Yoga teaches you to live more mindfully. It helps in our mental, emotional and spiritual wellbeing besides physical health. It trains you to notice yourself more carefully and take corrective measures.
I would encourage anyone, whatever your age, to join a yoga class now. Just make sure that you are learning from a certified professional. Even if you are starting your practice on your own through books or video tapes, please ensure that whatever you are doing feels right – do not at any point rush yourself towards advanced stages of practice, your body has to ease into it and enjoy it.
Start practicing and enjoy what yoga offers you in so many ways. Remember, yoga is more than asanas and breathing techniques, at its core, it is a way of life.