Yoga continues to gain popularity even though it has been around for centuries. Yoga is an ancient practice of exercising and meditating. For many people, yoga is used as a retreat from their busy lives. Yoga provides many mental and physical benefits that extend beyond the mat.
There are many different styles of yoga. Hatha is a combination of many yoga styles and is one of the most popular styles. Hatha is more physical than meditative. It focuses on breath-controlled exercises. These breath-controlled exercises are followed by a series of asanas (yoga poses) and end in Savasana. Yoga should be challenging but not overwhelming. When you are pushed to the edge, the focus should be on breathing to allow the mind to accept and be calm.
Body image has become very important in today’s society. People are constantly criticizing the way they look and comparing their bodies to others. Yoga helps to develop a better inner awareness and increases self-esteem. It’s not focused on physical appearance, but rather focuses on inner beauty. This is why most yoga studios do not have mirrors. This is so that people focus on their own poses and practice rather than comparing themselves to everyone else. Those who practice yoga are more aware of their bodies in comparison to those that do not practice yoga. People who practice yoga are often more satisfied and less critical of their physical appearance. These reasons are why yoga is sometimes integrated into treatments of eating disorders and body-positivism programs.
Yoga helps to develop mindfulness. It brings attention to what is happening in the present moment and to not judge yourself. This mindfulness tends to effect different aspects of everyday life on and off the mat. Eating is one area that the development of mindfulness can effect. People who practice yoga tend to be more mindful eaters. Those who have practiced yoga longer and practice continuously tend to be more mindful of what they eat in comparison to beginners or those that do not practice at all. This is because those who practice yoga are more mindful of how their body feels and in turn have a heightened awareness that effects what and how much people consume.
Yoga’s health benefits naturally result in weight loss and weight maintenance. Yoga is a great source of physical activity which leads to a physically fit body if practiced continuously. Yoga also helps people become more mindful eaters. Mindful eaters are more likely to not overeat and are more likely to fill their plate with healthy and wholesome foods. Those who practice yoga tend to have lower body mass indexes (BMIs) because they exercise regularly are healthier eaters.
When starting a new exercise program, it is always good to check with your doctor. Yoga is not only for young people but can be started at any age. It’s a perfect way to become healthy both inside and out by helping with body image, eating, overall fitness, and weight control.