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Daily Bite: Why Yoga Could Be Your Exercise Solution

January 4th, 2012 by eHealthGuide

YogaYoga is a physical, mental and spiritual practice that originated in India 5,000 years ago. The word yoga means "union" in Sanskrit, the language of India.

What Makes Yoga Different from Traditional Exercise

Yoga is not exercise; it is "innercise." Exercise requires working your body until exhaustion sets in. Innercise uses breathing and relaxed positions to help your body store energy and strength. The word for yoga posture is "asana," and it actually means "comfortably held pose."

There are different styles of yoga. Some are purely for relaxation; some rely on specific breathing techniques; and others focus on meditation. 

The Benefits of Yoga

Yoga offers many benefits that vary based on the selected technique.  

  • Boosts self-esteem                                                        
  • Improves range of motion                   
  • Improves mental concentration
  • Increases strength                               
  • Immune system stimulation
  • Pain control                                         
  • Improves circulation
  • Mental calmness
  • Improves energy                                  
  • Stress and anxiety reduction
  • Increases flexibility
  • Heightens self-confidence
  • Improves posture
  • Aids learning and memory

The Mechanics of Yoga

Yoga poses, or asanas, effectively stretch your muscles, tendons, ligaments and soft tissue. Lactic acid causes muscles stiffness, tension, pain and fatigue. Asanas release the build up of lactic acid in your muscles, allowing for greater flexibility and joint lubrication. Generally, a 35 percent overall improvement in flexibility is experienced after eight weeks of consistent yoga participation.

Who Yoga Helps

Yoga helps those who are afflicted with a variety of medical conditions:

  • Asthma
  • High blood pressure
  • Diabetes
  • Epilepsy
  • Atrial fibrillation
  • Heart disease
  • Arthritis
  • Back pain 
By lowering blood pressure, slowing the heart rate and decreasing cholesterol, yoga effectively benefits people with high blood pressure, stroke and heart disease. 
 
Virtually everyone should practice yoga. Yoga has something for every body type and lifestyle. It might just be your style of exercise, or innercise.

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