Top Reasons Women Should Practice Yoga
Yoga is one of the best things you can do for both your mind and body. Yoga is an exercise that is beneficial for all women of all ages and backgrounds, it is never too late to start and you don’t have to be inherently flexible to do it – I’m proof of that! 😉 I am a huge advocate of yoga because I have seen the positive effects in myself, friends and family, as well as with my patients. For these reasons, I encourage everyone to incorporate yoga into their daily life.
Below lists top benefits of yoga for women:
Yoga is one of the best ways to practice mindfulness because it brings your attention to your breath with your movement. Mindfulness is incredibly important not just in yoga, but in every aspect of your life. This is because when we are being mindful (which means being in the present) we are not distracted with other outside factors or thoughts, which allows us to fully focus our attention to the now. Being mindful is beneficial for literally everything, whether it be mindful with eating, mindful with your workout, or mindful of a task at hand.
Decreases stress in your mind + body
Yoga is a great way to relieve stress because it incorporates deep breathing and promotes mindfulness – as discussed above.This increases a state of calm and mental clarity, which decreases stress in the brain as well as stress throughout the body. Stress comes from worry, and worrying is one of the very worst things you can do because there is literally zero benefit that comes from it. Mindfulness helps to decease worrying.
Recover from a workout faster
Yoga enhances blood flow throughout the body, which sends oxygen and other healing factors to rebuild muscle tissue that was broken down during exercise. The faster your muscles can recover from a workout, the faster you can do another workout without feeling pain or fatigue.
Yoga is not always thought as being a calorie-torching workout, but it definitely can be! It’s all about the type of yoga you do, as well as the instructor that you have. Vinyasa Yoga and Power Yoga are common yoga classes that should definitely give you a cardio and strength training workout in one.
Did you know that the number one way to treat and prevent back pain is maintaining a strong core? Yoga is all about keeping the core strong and just about every pose in yoga incorporates the core.
Think about when you’ve gone to reach for something that was a little too far and you felt that pinch in your back. This scenario happens all the time and happens from tight muscles in the back.- a tight muscle that is stretched beyond its means will induce pain and maybe even a tear. Yoga aims to make muscles more fluid and flexible which prevents muscle pain and strain.
Real life example:
I always ask my older patients who are super fit and pain-free, what their secret it to staying healthy. The common theme that I always hear is that they stretch and practice yoga regularly.
Makes cardio feel easier
Yoga makes cardio feel easier?! This alone should make you want to practice yoga! 😉 As discussed above, yoga increases range of motion, flexibility, strength, and recovery, which all together allow for you to perform other exercises with more ease. The greater you can bend and lengthen, the deeper into the exercise you can get. This is especially true for cardio exercise which depend on rand of motion, such as running, walking, jumping, etc.
Real life example:
When I was training for the New York City Marathon I did yoga at least once a week. Not once did I get hurt or feel like I pulled something. This was my first marathon – as well as my first race ever! – and I ran completely pain-free as well as running the marathon under 4 hours! I highly credit my performance by maintaining yoga as part of my training program.
Good posture is incredibly important for preventing pain in your spine, back, shoulders, head, and neck. When your back and neck are rounded when you are slouching, this puts more pressure and strain on those muscles, which overtime can lead to permanent changes to the spine. Yoga is all above lengthening the spine, and helps to promote good posture even outside of the class.
Yoga increases blood flow to the reproductive hormones, which is good for regulating hormones needed for optimal fertility and boosting your chances for conception. Movements that incorporate the core and twisting movements may be the best for increasing blood flow to the reproductive organs.
Increases range of motion
Yoga lengthens and stretches muscles so that overtime they become more elastic and their range of motion increases. We want to increase our range of motion and become more flexible because this decreases the chance of muscular injury and also allows us to use more muscle fibers – which again makes us get stronger and burn more calories. Studies have found that yoga is even better for increasing flexibility than static stretching – read more about this here.
Yoga is a great way to rid your body of toxins and acts to massage your internal organs.. This is especially true of twisting moves, which are thought to help cleanse the internal organs and acts as a detox for the entire body.
Tones your entire body
Yoga is a full body workout, meaning it works the upper body, lower body, and core. The more muscles you can work at the same time, the more efficient and effective the workout. Muscles are your metabolically active tissue meaning they burn calories for you – even at rest. The more muscle you have and the more muscles you engage during exercise, leads to greater strength gains and greater calorie burn. Constantly changing movement in different directions and alternating between holding positions and rapid movements keeps your body guessing – meaning greater strength gain and more calories burned.
As you can see, yoga provides you with a wide range of benefits. It’s ok if you’ve never tried yoga before, remember that everyone was a beginner at one point in time 🙂
About the author: Sarah-Kate Rems is an Ivy league trained Board-Certified Family Nurse Practitioner licensed in California with an expertise in women’s health and preventative healthcare. She considers nutrition and exercise to be the basis of well-being and is a strong advocate for daily physical activity and maintaining a healthy diet. Sarah-Kate is also a co-founder of The Mindful Tech Lab.
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