Yoga is the practice of using breath control, body postures, and simple meditation for health and relaxation. It originated in India and has been widely adopted all over the world. Yoga has many health benefits for your body and mind.
Self-care is extremely important, especially as a parent. You probably don't get a lot of time to yourself, but you have to make time to do it. Yoga is a great choice of exercise for people of all ages and skill levels because of the wide range of poses to choose from. Any pose can be modified to be able to be successfully and effectively done by each person. Even if you don't have a lot of time during your busy life, you can do a few of these poses in 5 to 10 minutes and it'll still have a positive impact on your physical and mental health.
What do I need to participate in yoga?
While you don't necessarily need anything other than yourself, there are some items that makes participating more comfortable and helps you out with different poses.
Yoga Mat- Yoga mats are a staple in yoga, they provide a non-slip area and some cushion when you're doing floor poses.
Yoga Socks- Yoga socks give you better grip and stability.
Blocks- Blocks can be made of foam, cork, bamboo or wood. They're used to help you modify poses to make them more comfortable and also the opposite, to deepen poses for more stretch.
Straps- Stretch straps help with being able to achieve a wider range of motion, specifically with your legs.
What are the health benefits of practicing yoga?
Improves Your Flexibility
Yoga involves doing slow and gentle movements throughout the body. You're stretching all of your muscles by bending in different positions, which warms up your muscles. Doing this a few times per week will improve your overall flexibility.
Yoga Pose: Downward Facing Dog
Downward facing dog is one of the most well-known yoga poses. This V-shaped pose will stretch your leg, back, and arm muscles.
Increases Your Blood Flow
Overall, yoga increases the blood flow throughout your body. The twisting poses help move blood within your organs to allow oxygenated blood to circulate. Inverted poses reverse the blood flow towards your heart where it can be freshly oxygenated from your lungs.
Yoga Pose: Triangle Pose
This pose is great for blood circulation because it opens up the chest which allows the lungs to expand, helping with blood circulation to the torso.
Improves Your Mood
Not only does yoga have positive benefits for your physical health, it also improve your mental health. Consistent practice of yoga helps increase the serotonin levels in your brain. Meditation overall has great benefits, including, improving focus, memory, coordination, and reaction time.
Yoga Pose: Cobra Pose
Cobra pose is a mood boosting pose because it opens the heart and chest. It fights fatigue and boosts your mood as the tension is released from your upper body.
Improves Your Balance
Many of the poses involve balancing in ways your body doesn't typically move day to day. When you're practicing all yoga poses you're focusing on breathing and balancing which engages your muscles.
Yoga Pose: Tree Pose
This pose requires a lot of focus in order to balance. There are variations to help beginners successfully balance in tree pose. One tip is to focus your vision on one still object, this will help prevent you from falling over and losing balance.
When you practice yoga and get into the different positions, it requires control of your muscles. You'll hold these poses in position for at least 30 seconds which engages all of your muscles.
Yoga Pose: Plank
This is one of the best poses you can do to build muscle from head to toe. It requires you to hold all of your body weight on your arms and feet. Make sure you only stay in this position for as long as you can keep good form. If that means you can only hold it for 5 seconds, then you should release after 5 seconds. You will be able to slowly build up your muscle and endurance.
Relaxes Your Mind & Body
One of the main practices for yoga is to be present in the moment. When you're present and focus on your breathing, stretching, balancing, and overall movement you're not thinking about the day to day activities. This helps relax your mind and body and reduce stress. It's a good way to help take care of yourself and be in the moment.
Yoga Pose: Corpse Pose
This pose is a great way to end your practice. Pay attention to how your body feels, your breathing pattern, and any other senses you're experiencing at that time. You'll feel very relaxed once you're finished which can also help with better sleep.
As you can see there are many benefits you gain from practicing yoga regularly. Take time to yourself each day to keep yourself healthy mentally and physically. What's nice about these poses, is they can be done anywhere at anytime.