Why has yoga become so popular?

Yoga has been around for a very, very long time – 5 000 years in fact according to some reports. Even in the western world it’s been popular for decades however, over the past 10 years yoga has exploded as an alternative form to regular exercise. Today there is a yoga studio that offers something for everyone – whether its bikram, kundalini, ashtanga, hatha, vinyasa or power yoga, you are sure to find a form that suits you.

The benefits of doing yoga on a regular basis are numerous, not least of all it helps you develop a healthy body and mind. With the increasing pressures of westernised living, it’s obvious why yoga has become so popular among men and women.

When it comes to the physical benefits of yoga, it:

  • Increases flexibility
  • Increases core strength
  • Improves muscle tone and strength
  • Increases the range of motion of your joints
  • Improves your posture and breathing
  • Increases your awareness of how you sit, stand and breathe
  • Increases your lung capacity, improving sports performance and endurance
  • Has the potential to help reverse or improve medical conditions such as heart disease, especially when incorporated as part of a lifestyle and diet change.

Remember, yoga should never replace standard medical treatment – but rather support it, thereby improving your overall health.
Psychologically, yoga is great for helping to reduce stress and anxiety, and it also promotes a feeling of calm and improves our focus, concentration and general mood.

One of the major draw cards of yoga is that people of all ages can do it – there really is a form of yoga to suit every one – so don’t be put off because you think you’re too ‘stiff’ or unfit to do it. If you’re just starting out then are a few things you need to take into consideration to help avoid any injuries.

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If you’re pregnant or have an underlying medical condition speak to your doctor to find out if it’s safe for you to do the type of yoga you want to do.

  • The correct breathing and posture is vital – so it’s important that you take classes with a trained instructor to learn the basic concepts before you go off on your own.
  • Know your physical limits. In most yoga classes there are an assortment of people with different levels of experience, so don’t feel pressurised to push yourself further than what you feel comfortable with.
  • Always warm up first
  • Don’t wear clothing that’s too restrictive. You need to be able to move all your limbs freely
  • As with any exercise routine, make sure you stay hydrated – especially if you are doing more intense forms of yoga such as bikram or power yoga

This post is sponsored by Momentum Health.