Yoga is not only a method of exercise but also a lifestyle choice. This ancient Indian practice uses a combination of exercise, meditation and diet to improve your health, relax your body and heal your mind. While the benefits of yoga depend largely on your degree of involvement, practicing yoga for as little as 12 to 30 minutes each day is enough to benefit your health and mind, says HolisticOnline.com.
A complete yoga lifestyle incorporates 12 basic habits that correspond with many of its benefits. These habits, according to YogaLifestyleCoach.com include maintaining a positive attitude and close healthy relationships, including the relationship you have with yourself. Other yoga habits include staying in touch with nature, taking steps to remove tension and stress from your life and choosing an occupation that brings you joy. Finally, live a lifestyle that cultivates energy, get enough quality sleep and exercise, eliminate stress, follow a healthy diet and adopt eating habits that allow for better digestion and perform periodic detoxification that removes toxins and chemicals from your body.
Yoga Exercises and Postures
Yoga exercises include specific postures and poses that, depending on the exercise, benefit your overall health and well-being or target specific body processes. As an example, HolisticOnline.com identifies the spinal roll, cobra, sun salutation, posterior stretch and corpse pose as five basic exercises that serve to increase muscle tone and benefit your digestive, circulatory and respiratory systems. Additional exercises such as the grip, kneeling pose and lion target your joints, increase blood circulation to specific body areas and, in the case of the lion exercise, can help relieve a sore throat.
The controlled breathing techniques of yoga teach you methods of deep breathing that generally serve to deliver increased amounts of oxygen to all parts of your body as well as help eliminate waste and toxins. Specific techniques such as the good posture technique, cleansing breath and Taoist relaxation technique provide specific benefits that include correcting stooped shoulders, ventilating your lungs and extending the relaxation effects of other breathing techniques.
Health and Wellness Benefits
Four major benefits can be achieved by consistent participation in yoga exercise. These include stress reduction, increased body fitness, an increased ability to manage chronic health conditions such as depression, anxiety, pain and fatigue, and help in making lifestyle changes necessary to maintain a healthy weight.
Although practicing yoga on a daily basis provides numerous health and wellness benefits to most people, check with your doctor or healthcare provider before beginning a yoga exercise or lifestyle program. Yoga can cause complications if you have difficulty with balance, have any artificial joints, are pregnant or have a condition such as severe osteoporosis, uncontrolled high blood pressure or glaucoma.