Exercise in any form benefits the body and the mind. There are so many options for how to be physically active that it may be difficult to decide which form of physical activity to engage in. One activity that is often forgotten, overlooked or avoided is yoga. However, there are many reasons that people looking to be physically active should consider yoga. Yoga is a challenge. That should be understood. But it is a worthwhile challenge.
Yoga, with its slow, methodical movements, is a gentle physical activity. It does not require the pounding of participants’ joints like running does or the strain that so many other exercises put on the muscles and the body in general. And yet, yoga strengthens the body while using only the participants’ body weight. Yoga is for everyone, but because of its gentle nature, it is an excellent physical activity for those with chronic illnesses that weaken muscles or cause chronic pain, like fibromyalgia. Being gentle while still being challenging is part of the secret weapon of yoga.
Although yoga is challenging it still does not have a barrier to entry. People can begin a yoga regimen even if they do not feel they are strong, have great endurance, or are physically fit or athletic. Since yoga uses your body to strengthen and develop, it is the participant’s body that is the measuring stick, not anyone else’s. Progress is measured by whether the participant grows stronger, more flexible, better at breathing, and feels better, not whether the instructor’s moves can be perfectly mimicked and held. Holding a position steady for longer than the time before is an improvement and should be celebrated.
Because yoga is about individual progress, curious people should know that they can take a yoga class at any time. Whether they are an active runner or have not run since gym class in high school, anyone can start doing yoga. People of any age can do yoga–even children. So, there is no need for those thinking of doing yoga to think that they need to get in better shape before beginning.
Finding a way to be physically active is a good idea for everyone. Yoga is a great option to consider for those who are not currently physically active or those who are already active but would benefit from a more gentle workout. Yoga is not easy, but it is an activity that anyone who is willing can do.