When I was a kid I could do just about anything with my body, I could do flips, back bends, any kind of split, and tricks that all of the other kids were doing. We moved and ran and jumped all day. As an adult I watch my kids do those same things and I’m certain in saying these once-simple activities would put me in my grave. Not only do I not have the energy to keep up, but my body just doesn’t move, stretch, and bend like that anymore.
I can’t help but wonder what happened.
There is no question that kids move more (and have more energy) than their adult counterparts. The fact is that we were once kids too. But throughout the years we became adults, and in the process we stopped moving and wriggling and squirming from Point A to Point B. Jumping on the trampoline for hours isn’t deemed a worthwhile activity for college students, and I have never seen a group of adults challenging their friends to try a trick they just learned. Like me, you may be thinking, “yeah, because we would break every bone in our bodies, and our joints can’t handle it anymore!” High impact acrobatics may induce winces and groans the older we get, but there are things that we can do to maintain strength, flexibility, and boost our energy as adults without beating our bodies up.
One of my favorite low-impact activities is yoga.
THE PHYSICAL BENEFITS OF YOGA
Yoga has many physical benefits that you might not even know about. Yoga improves your flexibility and muscle strength, helps with bones and joints, and it helps your circulatory system.
Have you ever observed the frame of the typical yogi (a person who practices yoga)? They are generally thin, but have noticeable muscle strength. That’s the difference between other strength training exercises and Yoga: when a person does yoga they don’t trade in their flexibility for muscle strength; they work on both at the same time. Yoga allows you to build muscle while you also stretch, giving you that coveted ‘long and lean’ look.
Yoga also gets your heart pumping and your blood flowing more freely, which helps circulation, especially in your hands and feet. As blood starts to flow freely, the oxygenated blood allows all of your systems to function better overall.
But for me, yoga carries an even more exciting benefit. While you are changing positions and stretching your body in ways you otherwise wouldn’t move, your organs are moving and being stretched as well, a process that has been shown to drain your lymphatic system! This system is primarily responsible for fighting infection and destroying cancerous cells by flushing out the toxic waste stored in the lymph nodes. That benefit alone should make yoga appealing to anybody!
P.S. You can learn some of the lymph draining stretches in this video:
MENTAL AND EMOTIONAL BENEFITS OF YOGA
As if the many physical benefits of yoga aren’t enough, there are some incredible mental benefits as well!
Three major victories yogis experience include improved focus; long-lasting stress relief; and deeper, more fulfilling sleep. As you work through each individual exercise and movement transition, yoga naturally strengthens your brain’s ability to slip into deep focus. Yoga offers you a short but powerful opportunity to withdraw from the stress in day to day life, relaxing your nervous system and allowing your mind and body to go into a deeper more comfortable sleep.
PRACTICE YOGA AS
YOU MEDITATE TO
Download Sky Tripping today and experience the peace and tranquility of immersive aerial videos in nature. DOWNLOAD TODAY»
Like any healthy, positive trend you adopt, yoga offers you a way to develop coping skills and form a more positive outlook on life. Regular yoga practice creates mental clarity and calmness, increases body awareness, relieves chronic stress patterns, relaxes the mind, centers attention, and sharpens concentration.
If yoga isn’t something you do regularly already, you can start by adding some basic stretches (like the ones in the above video) a couple times a week. As you do, be sure to pay attention to the changes you experience, and ask yourself if you notice increased balance in body, mind, or both.
Have you thought about taking up yoga? Are you a seasoned yogi already? Share your thoughts, questions, and tips with us in the comments!