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The Benefits of Yoga

September is my Yoga Challenge month. I'm doing a 30 minute yoga flow, at least twice a week. To some this may not seem like a big deal, but as someone who you have to pull by the hair to get into a yoga class, this one isn't easy for me. Though yoga isn't my favorite, I do acknowledge that there are a lot of great benefits to yoga. Here are some of the benefits that stick out most to me:

Increased Flexibility

Yoga, by nature, is a practice that is focused on stretching and lengthening muscles. In a 30 minute yoga flow, you are usually in some type of stretch for 20-25 minutes of the flow. Most people, if they stretch at all, stretch for about 5-10 minutes before or after their workout. You're nearly tripling your stretching time with yoga and you usually are able to get deeper stretches out of your practice.

Decreased Resting Heart Rate

Resting heart rate is defined as your baseline heart rate when your body is at rest, most easily characterized as your heart rate as you're waking up. Because yoga places so much focus and attention on breathing, it helps regulate your heart rate and over time can lead to decreases in your resting heart rate. This all depends on where your resting heart rate is currently and the potential for improvement.

Improved Digestion

Certain yoga poses are known to improve digestion. Yogis believe that some twisting poses help waste move through your body and digestive system. Additionally, simply moving your body will help you process food and waste more efficiently.

Better Breathing

Yoga works to help train your body to breathe more deeply and correctly. When you follow the breathing intended for the flow it opens up your lungs and allows you to more easily breathe deeply into your belly. Yogis will also teach different breathing techniques in some of their flows.

Reduction of Stress

Because yoga is a relaxing practice, it in turn helps with the reduction of stress. This is due to a combination of things. It is low impact, it teaches proper and deep breathing, it helps to lengthen and strengthen your muscles and it works to burn through excess adrenaline that may be causing stress in your body.

These are just a few of my favorite benefits of yoga, but there really are so many more!

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