Is yoga a fitness fad that will fade away, like kickboxing and step aerobics? It will take time to tell. But today, 21 million Americans claim to practice yoga. If you think yoga is simply stretching, check out a few of these other health benefits of yoga:
85 percent of adults associate practicing yoga with stress relief. The reflection and breathing used in yoga can help a person to relax and relieve tension.
Relieves back pain
Yoga helps to stretch and strengthen the muscles that support your lower back and spine. Dr. Lauren Elson, instructor in medicine at Harvard Medical School says that, “by carefully practicing yoga, people can safely improve their movement and strength while stretching tight and aching back muscles.” Reducing pain can improve your ability to walk and move.
Helps you sleep deeper
Improves muscle strength
Yoga is a gentle way to build and maintain muscle strength with your own body weight. It takes a lot of strength to hold your body in a balanced pose. Practicing yoga regularly will strengthen your arms, legs, core, and back. Positions can be modified based on an individual’s abilities.
Interested in trying yoga?
Yoga in Our City, sponsored by ConnectiCare, brings free yoga classes to parks in public spaces in four Connecticut cities – Bridgeport, Hartford, New Haven, and Waterbury from May 29 to September 2. The classes are open to everyone at all levels. You can find the schedule here.
Many yoga studios offer free classes and introductory memberships at a discounted rate. Your town or city recreation department may offer classes, too. Give yoga a try!