Sure, we’ve all heard about yoga. It’s exploded onto the Western fitness scene in the last decade, and is experiencing a renewed popularity. Yoga is no longer relegated to a small group of tree-hugging hippies, as it was a mere 20 years ago. It’s hit the mainstream with yoga studios popping up everywhere. It seems we all want to experience the benefits of this ancient Eastern spiritual practice.
What distinguishes yoga from other forms of exercise are its holistic qualities. Its effects are far reaching, not only on the physical body but on the mind, emotions, and our general outlook on life. Yoga reduces stress, and increases flexibility and strength. Many yoga poses also “massage” internal organs, allowing the body to detoxify and keep disease at bay. A regular yoga practice may also delay the effects of ageing by allowing the body and mind to function at optimal levels.
If you think yoga is not accessible to you because you aren’t flexible enough or feel that you have other physical impairments that may prohibit you from practicing yoga, think again. It’s one of the most accessible forms of physical activity out there. People of all ages, shapes and sizes practice yoga.
If you’d like to get started but aren’t sure where to begin, doing a quick online search of yoga studios in your area is a good start. Most studios have beginner-level classes, some offering 6 or 8-week beginner courses. If there are no studios in your area, there are many DVDs and books available online, or at major retailers such as Chapters, catering to all levels of practitioners. Typing in “beginner yoga” and “benefits of yoga” in your favourite web search engine will also yield copious amounts of information on the subject.
If you’d like to improve your overall health and well-being, yoga may just be the path for you.