What you need to know about yoga
Yoga is an ancient practice which combines a series of poses (also known as postures) with breathing techniques and meditation. It’s heralded as one of the most effective ways to train both your mind and your body, leading to great improvements in your general wellbeing. Depending on the type of yoga (and there are a fair few), a session will generally include moving either quickly or slowly between a series of poses with differing flexibility requirements, while timing your breathing to aid these movements. There is a big focus on mindfulness and staying aware of your body’s sensations and interactions with its surroundings, while letting other thoughts come and go.
Some of the poses can be intimidating at first, but a good yoga teacher will teach you how to safely work towards them by making modifications and adaptions to suit your current level of flexibility. After taking up yoga, lots of people quickly become advocates as they find it helps them to manage the stresses of modern life and take better care of their mental health. For some, this is the biggest benefit of yoga but for others, it’s the physical changes that happen over time.
Traditionally, yoga is known for greatly improving flexibility and balance, which are key to maintaining physical mobility as you age. But there are many different types of yoga and each has more nuanced benefits. For example, while hatha yoga is an excellent choice for flexibility goals, and yin yoga for balance, the modern ‘power yoga’ style is specifically designed to build strength. Other benefits of regular practice include weight loss, better heart health, and potential reductions to blood pressure and cholesterol.
The yoga community is generally considered welcoming, and most yoga studios will have classes for all levels of experience. Whether you’re looking to yoga as a way of destressing, working on your fitness, or supporting a physical rehabilitation programme, you can search for instructors with My Health Assistant. Find a trained yoga teacher for group classes or 1to1 sessions and take the first step towards your goal today.