Yoga is the big fitness and wellness story of 2020, but… It is also true that you will hear the sentence "I always wanted to try yoga" more often than "I have been practicing yoga for years." If you are the member of the group of people who says the former, we would like to help you by giving you the top 5 reasons why you should try yoga if you want to get fit.
Before get to that, though, we would like to provide you with some of the most important reasons why you should try yoga. Some of them are more obvious than others and of course, there are way more than just five reasons to try yoga, but we thought these five will appeal to the vast majority of people who are toying with the idea to start practicing this sport.
We can also offer you some tips on gear, such as the best yoga mats and yoga leggings, as well as yoga blocks and yoga wheels. As minimalist of a sport as yoga is, you don't want to feel unconformable doing the different poses and also, especially if you are a beginner, some items, like the yoga blocks or yoga wheels, can help you perform exercises with more ease.
We also have the best yoga workout for beginners, after we have convinced you of the benefits of taking up. You'll be brimful of Ashram in no time, trust us.
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5 reasons why you should try yoga
Yoga can be performed at home, on the floor, in your jogging pants and just a t-shirt. One thing you will definitely need, though, is a reusable water bottle, because 1) you will want to drink during exercising and 2) there is enough plastic waste in the oceans as is, no need to add to it by drinking water out of single use plastic bottles.
Since yoga mostly consists of stretching-type exercises, there is no need to warm up, although you can try and perform breathing exercises to calm the mind and be ready for some serious yoga.
Some running watches, like the Apple Watch Series 5, the Garmin Fenix 6 Pro or the Polar Ignite, have a guided breathing exercise function which can be just the thing you need if you are doing yoga not as part of a group. Also, these wearables can track your sessions as well, so you can check how your performance improved over time.
1. Yoga improves mobility and flexibility
Let's start with stating the obvious: yoga is essentially a stretching-based exercise form and by practicing it regularly, you will loosen your muscles and joints, which will in turn make you more mobile and flexible. You only realise how inflexible you are when you can finally do movements you were not able to do for years.
Improving mobility is especially important for people who do desk-based work and sit around for elongated periods of time. Sitting stationary is not something our bodies are adapted to and in general, people are not famous for sitting at their office desks with straight backs.
Doing yoga can help opening up muscles and mobilising joints that are forced in unnatural positions. This will not only improve your health but also make you feel better in your skin.
2. Yoga improves coordination and core-strength
Although yoga is most famous for making you more stretchy, many of the exercises also improve your strength as well, especially the strength of your core muscles. Having strong core muscles have a range of benefits in itself, too, like lower back stabilisation, so doing yoga will further reduce back pain issues.
Best yoga poses to improve core strength include the Boat pose, which is similar to V-sits, the Chair pose, which is similar to squat holds, the Crane pose, pictured above, and the Plank pose, which is essentially doing planks, as the name suggests.
3. Yoga reduces risk of injury
Should you do yoga if you are pursuing any other types of sport principles already? Yes, you definitely should. Regardless of the type of sport you are already doing, yoga can help you perform it better. Even if you are doing non-movement intense sports like e-sports or chess, yoga can help you keep a better posture by strengthening your core.
Should you be a runner, cyclist or triathlete, yoga can help you avoid injuries by making you more flexible and mindful about your body in general. Not to mention the improved core strength which can also be a huge benefit for active sportspeople.
Another benefit for swimmers, for example, is improved breathing. Certain types of yoga, like Pranayama, can significantly improve your breathing and calm the mind, helping you focus better, all in the same time.
4. Yoga improves posture and reduces lower back pain
After the first three reasons, it shouldn't be all that surprising that yoga can help you reduce back pain and improve posture. Not only that, but yoga can also ease neck pain, joint pain (knee pain in particular), loosen up your hip, stretch your hamstrings and more.
You can benefit from improved posture in all parts of your life, including improved sleep and reduced discomfort when sitting or standing for longer periods of life.
5. Yoga increases blood flow and circulation
Why is it important to increase blood flow and improve circulation? For one, improved circulation to all parts of your body will help rid your system of toxins, making you healthier overall. Also, partially for the same reason, your skin will clear as well and you will feel more energised, too.
Since different yoga poses concentrate on different areas of your body, you can effectively improve circulation all over your system.
The best yoga gear
Not essential, but the below items can help you feel even more comfortable as you exercise. Yoga leggings and yoga tops for both men and woman are the best way to avoid clothing slipping up or down holding some of the positions. Downward facing dog in t-shirt? No, thank you.
Best yoga mat – The Liforme Yoga Mat
Liform manages to offer an eco-friendly natural rubber mat which also delivers grip and works dry or even sweaty classes. The line markings, dubbed AlignForMe, help you find the perfectly aligned position, from Warrior One to Down Dog. This leaves you feeling confident you're doing everything right – we even found ourselves stretching further thanks to that reassurance.
Best yoga wheel – Mirafit Cork Yoga Wheel
Circles are highly symbolic in Buddhism making Mirafit's eco-friendly Yoga Wheel even more enticing to budding Yogis and fanatics alike. Smooth to touch, it's highly versatile and helps you to stretch, strengthen and perfect your pose easier.
Best yoga block – Manduka Cork Yoga block
Made of sustainable cork, this high quality yoga block is firm which allows you to feel secure in the supported throughout your yoga sessions.