Yoga is a fantastic activity to incorporate to your training plan, whether you’re a beginner or an athlete as the benefits it offers will help you to reach your goals. Nevermind that it can play a huge role in helping to prevent injuries!
It is a form of functional fitness, which means its benefits carry over far beyond those you will see in the gym, but to normal everyday life too.
#1: Yoga improves flexibility
Flexibility is crucial to joint and muscle health. The more flexible you are, the less prone you will be to niggly injuries.
Yoga is brilliant for improving flexibility as the different positions stretch the body and loosen the muscles.
After a few classes you will notice some positions which were borderline impossible to achieve at the beginning will become easier to you, and you may also notice a reduction in aches and pains as your body becomes stronger and certain areas loosen out.
Better flexibility will also help you perform better in training and you will find as you become more flexible you will be able to hit higher numbers on your squats and deadlift due to an increased range of motion. The bridge pose and the downward dog are excellent for improving your flexibility.
#2: Yoga encourages relaxation
Yoga is one of the best activities you can perform for relaxation as it encourages controlled breathing and mindfulness. It is also a great activity to perform as part of your night time routine to wind down at the end of the night.
Yoga is also excellent post work out when you are stretching! Consistent yoga practice may help to reduce levels of stress due to putting your body in a state of relaxation, allowing yourself to learn meditation and being calm - especially in today's hectic environment!
#3: Yoga builds muscle strength
Some of the positions in yoga are quite challenging, and the more you practice, the stronger you will become at holding them.
The great thing about yoga is it combines strength building with flexibility in the one session.
Yoga is also great for training the abs! It is also great for muscular endurance due to the fact you have to hold the poses for a period of time. Inversion poses such as the handstand and the plough are great for building muscular strength.
#4: Yoga helps to reduce stress
Life can be very stressful, especially when you are trying to fit in exercise and downtime in a busy schedule. Yoga can help combat this and encourage you to take some time out just for you.
Yoga practice also emphasis on your breathing which when controlled will help you to relax - which will make you less likely to skip training sessions, amongst other things - like meal prep, socialising etc.
#5 Yoga practice improves your posture
Good posture is crucial for good spine health. It is not surprising that yoga has been shown in studies to encourage good posture as it strengthens the muscles of the neck and back.
This is especially relevant to people who work in an office job and have to sit at a desk all day, as slouching can cause back pain.
It can be tough to transition from years of bad posture to good posture but yoga poses make this much easier to achieve. The mountain pose and standing forward bend are two excellent poses that will help improve your posture.
#6 Yoga helps to improve balance
Yoga improves your balance and this will also cross over to your weight lifting regime. If your balance improves, you will become better at exercises that require balance such as the squat, and you will also reduce the likelihood of injury that can occur as a result of falls in everyday life.
Poses such as the half moon and tree pose are excellent for improving balance.
Take home message
It is well worth adding some yoga poses into your daily routine, and you will reap the benefits from doing so quickly both in your training sessions and in everyday life.
It will also help to prevent injuries by improving your flexibility and you may even notice that you have better sleep quality, which is crucial for getting the maximum benefits from your training routine.