6 ways yoga can keep you physically and mentally fit
Of course, not everyone is expected to be aware of the significance of yoga and fitness, but it is definitely worth batting an eye when about 35% of the total population of a country is overweight.
Let’s have a look at the obesity statistics shared in a research briefing in the House of Commons Library:
Yes, you read it right; about 28.7% of adult people in England fall under the obese category, with a further 35.6% falling in overweight but not obese category.
Apparently, people around the whole world, particularly in the England, seem to be quite casual about one thing they should be the most concerned about, i.e. their health and fitness!
However, the great thing is that slowly but surely the number of people getting conscious about their health and wellness is increasing.
According to a report by the Global Wellness Institute:
This points out to another positive aspect though; yoga is fast gaining traction among wellness conscious people of the world, and for all the right reasons.
For instance, here is a list of yoga benefits not only based on hearsay, but the ones totally backed with scientific research.
How Yoga and Fitness Complement Each Other
- Yoga is great for enhancing flexibility and balance.
- Yoga is helpful in decreasing stress.
- Yoga helps manage anxiety.
- May offer assistance in reducing inflammation.
- Yoga is potentially helpful in improving heart health.
- Can also be helpful in fighting depression.
- Can reduce chronic pain.
- Can enhance sleep quality.
- Helps improve breathing issues.
- Migraines may also be relieved through practicing yoga.
- Yoga helps induce healthy eating habits.
- Can help improve strength.
- Can also help augment the quality of life.
(If you are interested in going through the details of the scientific research behind these yoga benefits listed above, visit healthline).
What Makes Yoga and Fitness Convenient to Incorporate in Your Busy Lifestyle?
This is especially for you if you want to embrace the “fitness first” mantra in your life. There are a host of reasons that make yoga a relatively easier medium to actualise your fitness goals, such as:
Caters to Your Physical, Mental as well as Social Wellness Needs: Apparently, this might seem like going a little overboard in praising yoga, but the fact of the matter is that it is every bit true. This is because of the main philosophy of yoga, i.e. mind, body and spirit are all one and interlinked, which is why it yoga is aimed at helping exalt all of them together, introducing you to a greater degree of fitness and wellness.
Similarly, yoga is able to contribute in fulfilling your social wellness needs in particular when you start yoga as part of a group (as in a yoga studio), offering you great opportunities in bonding with likeminded people.
Offers Something for Everyone: Yes, that’s also not an exaggeration. You can jump onto yoga bandwagon whether you are male or female, couch potato or a pro athlete, skinny or overweight, in your teens or retired. There’s no restriction at all. With yoga growing into an immensely diversified discipline over the course of its history spanned over 5000 years (again, not an exaggeration!), anyone wishing to start their yoga journey has something and somewhere to relate to.
You Can Do Yoga Anytime Anywhere: Yet another great benefit only yoga is able to offer you, reflecting why yoga and fitness go hand in hand. Unlike many other popular (as well as really beneficial) fitness exercises like boxing, mixed martial arts or even gymnastics, yoga requires the least of time, efforts and amenities. That’s why you can delve into yogic experience literally anywhere.
For instance, you can focus and regulate your breathing while travelling to your workplace in a Tube. You can also utilise your daily lunch breaks to get into a quick yoga session. In fact, you can indulge in a relaxing yoga session right on your bed, which will not only help you relax after a hectic day, but will also help with more fulfilling sleep.
You can embark on your yoga journey by yourself or as part of a group in a yoga studio. There are many famed yoga instructors like Adriene who are immensely passionate about teaching yoga. You can even learn yoga online nowadays.
6 Ways Yoga Can Keep You Physically & Mentally Fit While You Are Super Busy
In short, yoga can be your best bet when you want to take care of your fitness while busy. If you still feel hesitant in beginning your yoga journey, why not try some yoga poses for beginners and feel the magic for yourself before really trying to turn into a magician!
i) Standing Forward Bend:
As the name suggests, this pose involves you standing in a comfortable position, then bending your waist with your arms dropping down towards your feet. Ideally, you should aim at bringing your face right across your shins, somewhere in the middle of the knee joint and feet, while placing your hands beside your feet (palms touching the ground). However, attaining this level of flexibility and balance is not possible in the beginning. So, you can bend down as much as you can conveniently if you’re just starting, just enough to feel your hamstrings engaged. To ease out, you may slightly bend your knees as per your flexibility level. You need to hold on to this pose for 30 seconds once you feel the stretch in your hamstrings. This pose is especially helpful in reversing blood flow to your upper body (including arms), helping those muscles relax and recover efficiently.
(For detailed instructions on how to do standing forward bend, visit https://www.yogajournal.com/poses/5-steps-master-standing-forward-bend)
ii) Camel Pose:
To get into the camel pose, you go on your knees maintaining hip-width distance between your knees and feet. Then get your hands behind, touching your glutes, as grabbing something out of the back pockets of your jeans. Pressing your thighs and hips forward, engage your core region while lifting your chest and reaching back to touch your heels with your hands. The idea is to maintain this position for 5 breaths while gazing straight backwards. End the pose by bringing your hands back to the glutes slowly and lifting your torso upwards while exhaling slowly. Remember not to stretch too much or you may end up losing your balance or even hurting yourself in some manner. Camel pose is believed to be helpful with anxiety treatment, posture improvement, opening up of all your airways and energising your body as a whole. It also helps ease the pressure on your hamstrings and back, improving the flexibility of the upper body.
(For detailed instructions on how to do camel pose, visit https://www.yogaoutlet.com/blogs/guides/how-to-do-camel-pose-in-yoga)
iii) Extended Triangle Pose:
Though not too difficult, this pose can still turn out to be quite challenging for yoga beginners, because stretching hands all the way to the floor can be a tough ask for most of them. So, if you are also finding it difficult, you can always rest your hand over your leg. You can also resort to yoga blocks while you progress through to the floor all the way after practicing the pose for some time. If you find it challenging to handle the stretch caused in your hamstrings by forward bend, this pose can help you get that stretch without stressing too much. That’s why this pose is especially helpful for people with sore and tight hamstrings. In fact, it offers significant relief for any type of muscle soreness, as it opens your entire body, hips and shoulders in particular. On top, your digestive system also improves due to the twist of your spine and torso. The positive changes this pose introduces to your body surely reflect how yoga and fitness are the best match.
(For detailed instructions on how to do extended triangle pose, visit https://www.ekhartyoga.com/resources/yoga-poses/extended-triangle-pose)
iv) Garland Pose:
In addition to stretching and strengthening the feet and ankles, Garland pose also serves to open up your hips and groins. While squatting is considered to be the natural resting position in many regions of the world, also coming naturally to children, the majority of the adult population of the first world seems to have lost connection with this pose. This goes to the extent that most of them find squatting quite uncomfortable for their feet and hips. This pose is especially helpful in countering the tightness caused by spending too much time sitting in chairs. The easiest way to get into this pose is by standing with your feet almost shoulder-width apart, slightly turning your toes out, bending your knees and going into squatting position.
(For detailed instructions on how to do Garland pose, visit https://www.verywellfit.com/garland-pose-malasana-356707)
V) Cobra or Upward Facing Dog Pose:
This pose lends benefits to almost whole of your upper body. It not only relieves tension and muscle soreness in your back by directing extra blood flow in the region, but also relaxes your shoulders, abdominal muscles and chest while they are stretched across. You can consider these poses as mini backbends, which lend you the benefits of extended abs and chest without exerting much pressure on your arms. Some major benefits of these poses include relaxation and strengthening of your back, opening up of your airways and digestive system’s stimulation. Those of you feeling sore and exhausted after a tough ab workout must try this pose. You will surely get the idea how yoga and fitness complement each other.
(For detailed instructions on how to do Cobra or Upward Facing pose, visit https://www.adamhocke.com/how-to-practise-upward-facing-dog-pose/)
VI) Happy Baby:
In addition to offering a gentle stretch to your lower back, inner groin and hips, happy baby pose is also helpful in lengthening and realignment of the spine as well as strengthening of the arms and shoulders. This pose also soothes the mind, relieving you from any stress and fatigue, which makes it a great choice before bed or when starting/ending the session.
For this pose, you have to roll over onto your back and hug your knees into your chest without pressurising too much. Extend your arms to grab your feet from the outside, drawing your knees towards the armpits while your shins are aligned almost perpendicular to the floor. If this feels good on your sacrum, you may slightly rock side to side as well.
(For detailed instructions on how to do Happy Baby pose, visit https://www.yogabasics.com/asana/joyful-baby/)
If you exercise regularly, yoga can elevate your fitness level to a whole new level, incorporating and aligning the missing elements of mental and spiritual wellbeing into it. Even if you are not a regular exerciser, yoga can still give you a head start on your fitness journey. So, let’s make yoga and fitness your priority and get ready to reap the immense benefits that come along your way soon after unrolling your yoga mat.