Do Not Let These Yoga Misperceptions Keep You From Its Benefits

Adding some yoga to your weekly exercise routine can be a sound diabetes management decision.

The movement and stress reduction yoga provides improves blood sugar control, lowers heart disease risk, enhances mood, boosts energy, and facilitates sound sleep—and yoga is not a one-size-fits-all activity.

There are many types of yoga to choose from. Hatha yoga is a series of generally gentle poses coordinated with the breath, while the movements of Vinyasa flow smoothly together. The fast, intense poses in Power yoga build muscle, and challenging Bikram is performed in a heated (high temperature) room. Special breathing techniques are part of Ashtanga yoga, while Iyengar utilizes body-aligning props such as blocks, straps, and chairs.

Yoga Misperceptions

Since there’s a yoga type for every temperament, and the health benefits are amazing, don’t let these five false ideas about yoga keep you from trying it:

  • It’s Not Much Of A Workout. Yoga poses tone abdominal, arm, leg, rear, and back muscles, plus it takes a surprising amount of strength to hold the body in a balanced pose. Without straining our joints yoga improves range-of-motion, and flexibility. Though not considered aerobic exercise, some types of yoga (e.g., power yoga, Bikram) are faster, more challenging, and increase the heart rate.
  • I’m Too Stiff For Yoga. No one is too stiff to practice yoga, and gentle Hatha yoga may be the perfect exercise for someone with flexibility issues. The poses are easily altered to suit everyone’s fitness and flexibility level. Learning proper techniques from an experienced yoga instructor is recommended for everyone, but is especially beneficial for those with physical issues such as arthritis.
  • Yoga Involves A Belief System. Yoga is traditionally a cluster of physical, mental, and spiritual disciplines originating in ancient India. However, today’s Western practice of yoga postures for physical and mental well being does not require or imply that people hold certain beliefs. For those who choose it yoga can be a guiding philosophy, but for the rest of us yoga is just good exercise.
  • I’m Not The Yoga Type. Yoga is suitable for any body type, and there is generally a wide variety of body types in yoga classes. Choose a beginner’s yoga class to start with, wear clothing you’re comfortable moving about in, and you will fit in just fine. If taking a class seems too daunting, there’s plenty of quality online instruction available.
  • It’s Just For The Ladies. It’s true that today we see mostly images of women in trendy workout clothes posing on colorful yoga mats. Yet, many male athletes incorporate yoga into their fitness regimen. The balance, flexibility, muscle strength, and breath control that yoga provides benefits other endeavors whether it’s playing football, or mowing the lawn.

Unlike some types of activities, we can practice yoga at any age and with most health conditions since the poses can be adjusted to our needs, and instead putting strain on joints and muscles yoga helps us preserve our strength and flexibility.

Sources: Chopra; Web MD

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