What is Yoga? 5 Benefits and How to Get Started

Participants experience yoga benefits in a class

Even if you don’t practice yoga yourself, you’ve almost certainly heard of it. By some estimates, about 37 million people practice yoga in the US alone, with estimates from the International Yoga Federation of nearly 300 million people practicing globally. Instructors and students claim any number of physical, mental, and emotional benefits. Yoga is everywhere, from yoga YouTube videos to beginning yoga classes to celebrities posting their yoga routines on social media.

But what is yoga, and is it really all that beneficial? In recent years, this age-old discipline has not only jumped in popularity but has also received considerable scientific study on the benefits of yoga that practitioners have been experiencing for centuries.

What is Yoga?

Yoga is an ancient practice, originating in India, which aims to bring “harmony between mind and body.” Developed as a practice for physical, mental, and spiritual well-being, yoga benefits mental, emotional and physical health.

While many forms of yoga are practiced today, many beginning yoga classes will practice Hatha yoga, which focuses on physical movement and breathing. If you’re interested in the health benefits of yoga but don’t know where to start, a yoga class for beginners that focuses on poses, breathing, and movement may be perfect for you. Talk to the instructor to learn about what form of yoga they recommend.

Why Is Yoga Good for You? 5 Reasons to Incorporate Yoga into Your Workout Routine 

Studies have shown that yoga benefits multiple areas of your life, from flexibility and balance to eating habits. 

Improved Flexibility Is The Most Obvious Benefit of Yoga

If you’re thinking about beginning yoga for flexibility, you’re not alone. Many yoga poses contribute to improved flexibility, which may in turn improve range of motion and reduce the possibility of exercise-related injuries. Try beginner yoga for lower back pain  to supplement your regular exercise routine.

Another Benefit of Yoga Is Stronger Muscles

Is yoga strength training? You won’t be lifting any weights, but holding yoga poses can challenge and strengthen your muscular endurance. Building muscular endurance can have far-reaching positive effects on your health and well-being.

You may know that stress has a negative impact on your overall health, and stress relief is one of the major reasons why yoga is good for you. Many yoga poses focus on relaxation and breath exercises, helping you to stay grounded and physically release stress and anxiety. Stress can pose a health risk, and managing it well is one of the most beneficial things you can do for your body and mind.

One Perhaps Surprising Benefit of Yoga Is Better Eating Habits

According to Harvard Health, the practice of yoga can contribute to mindful eating and better habits around food. If you’re just beginning yoga classes, you may soon discover that the habits of mindfulness you learn in class will begin to affect other areas of your life, including your relationship with food. Learning to savor each bite will allow your mind and body to work together, ensuring that you only eat as much as you need.

Improved Balance Is a Yoga Benefit Worth Considering 

According to a review of relevant studies, yoga may improve balance, leading to a healthier overall lifestyle as well as increased safety. Whether you’re trying to enhance your performance as an athlete or reduce the possibility of falling as you get older, the benefits of yoga can improve your lifestyle and help you reach your fitness goals.

How to Get Started: Yoga for Beginners

Like any healthy routine, yoga can seem intimidating at first. If you’re looking for a way to incorporate the practice at home, try a beginning yoga YouTube video. All you need is a computer or phone, comfortable clothes, and a towel or mat. You can find a variety of 10-minute yoga routines that fit into even the busiest schedules.

If watching a yoga video on YouTube isn’t your thing, or if you’re looking for in-person instruction, a local yoga class may be perfect for you. Not only will you receive personalized instruction, but you can also find community in a group setting. Working with an experienced yoga instructor will help you ensure you’re performing poses correctly and safely, and doing yoga in a community provides inspiration and motivation. Look for a yoga class for beginners, or check out one of our group fitness yoga classes. 

If you’re getting started with yoga, try a free two-day trial to see if a yoga class at OAK Health Club of Ashburn in Virginia may be right for you. We offer personalized experiences through a combination of fitness, nutrition, recovery, and community. The result: you’ll feel healthy, capable, and empowered on your path to optimal health and wellness. Our Loudoun fitness club offers everything you need for success as you start your new routine. Pick a membership offer or call us for more information at 1-571-462-6542. You’re always invited to schedule a tour and see what OAK Health Club has to offer!

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