Yoga is a type of meditative exercise that has roots in the Far East religious traditions-Buddhism, Hinduism, etc. Today, many people have dropped the religious aspects of this art of the body and simply practice yoga techniques for health benefits. The various stretches and strength-building exercises done in yoga can build muscles, increase flexibility, and help you burn fat. Yoga can also be used in conjunction with traditional Western forms of exercise. In fact, by combining yoga with cardiovascular and/or weight training, you can help your body be the healthiest it can possibly be.
Yoga is traditionally seen as a routine of exercises that will rejuvenate the body. That is, although yoga is a difficult workout, it should make you energized as opposed to draining your body and making your feel tired. Therefore, when pairing yoga with other forms of exercise, do yoga first. Many people like to use yoga as a way to warm up the muscles before running, lifting weights, biking/cycling, or doing other cardiovascular or strength-training exercises. Warming up is an important step, and yoga is a great way to do this.
Yoga can also teach breathing to prepare you for other exercises. In yoga classes, students must often learn breathing techniques that help calm the spirit and focus the mind. These techniques allow you to breath fully, allowing more oxygen to reach your brain and other parts of your body. By practicing yoga, you will be able to do cardiovascular exercises for a longer period of time, since you will not be so quickly out of breath.
Because yoga helps you increase flexibility, this can also help you prevent injuries when doing other forms of exercise or when playing sports. Many athletes learn early on to stretch their muscles before a game or practice-yoga can be viewed as an entire exercise regimen focused on stretching muscles. It also helps minimize and prevent injuries because yoga allows you to find your limits. This is important when practicing any sort of physical activity. Famous entertainers such as Madonna, and Sting do a two or three hour yoga routine prior to taking the stage and wow’ing audiences.
As always, speak with a doctor or other health care professional before you begin participating in a new kind of exercise routine. Yoga is safest when practiced in a class setting with a certified instructor. Ask your class’s teacher for tips on how to incorporate yoga into all of your other exercise routines as well, because this will help you to get the most benefit possible out of any workout session.
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