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Side Effects of Yoga

author image Kay Ireland
Kay Ireland specializes in health, fitness and lifestyle topics. She is a support worker in the neonatal intensive care and antepartum units of her local hospital and recently became a certified group fitness instructor.
Side Effects of Yoga
Instructor leading yoga class Photo Credit Creatas/Creatas/Getty Images

When yoga is practiced properly, it can yield many positive side effects, from a reduction in pain to lowered stress. When practiced improperly, you may experience one of the few negative side effects associated with yoga. By training with a qualified instructor and making a commitment to practice yoga carefully, you can reap the positive benefits of yoga.

Increased Fitness

One of the obvious side effects of yoga is an increased level of fitness. Yoga consists of using your body to create certain poses and holding those poses. You'll find that over time, your body becomes more flexible, stronger and even leaner through daily yoga practice. Yoga is especially appropriate for those who have a limited range of motion -- while the poses may look difficult, with practice, you can do them. Hatha yoga is low impact and easy to try, making it ideal for those who are overweight or have sustained an injury or recent surgery. If you have sustained an injury or are recovering from surgery, make sure to talk to your doctor before taking up a yoga practice.

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Better Concentration

Moving your body into certain poses and taking time for yogic meditation can help you improve your focus and concentration outside of the yoga gym. Yoga helps you learn to effectively focus your attention on one activity or one part of your body. You may find that you focus on tasks more easily and have a better sense of your mind.

Less Stress

When you're constantly moving from stress factor to stress factor in life, it can be easy to let that anxiety overwhelm you and become a daily part of your schedule. Yoga forces you to slow down and take an hour for yourself. While in the yoga gym, you're to focus on your body and mind, not the house or your job or the bills. This can help you experience a reduction in daily stress and learn how to better manage the stress that is unavoidable.

Negative Side Effects

Yoga is typically seen as a safe and low impact type of exercise. But just like any other form of exercise, when practiced improperly, it can have a negative impact. Joining a yoga class far beyond your level of ability could result in injuries like pulled muscles and pain; not to mention the blow to your self-esteem. It's important that you start as a beginner and work your way up to more difficult classes and poses. Inverted poses along with fast-paced, vinyasa, or flowing yoga should not be practiced by beginners. And practicing Bikram, or hot yoga, in a room heated to 105 degrees Fahrenheit should be approached with caution. Take a beginner's class taught by a qualified yoga instructor.

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