Yoga is a spiritual discipline that helps you to focus on creating harmony between mind and body. It is an art for a healthy lifestyle in more straightforward ways. The word ‘yoga’ derives from the ancient Sanskrit word ‘yuj,’ which means ‘to join’ or ‘to unite.’ That is why it is said that yoga helps to unite the mind and body together and provides you with utmost peace and relaxation.
Today’s generation is full of work and has no time for a healthy lifestyle. Everybody is busy with 9 to 5 jobs, and after that, you are so tired that you can not even break a stick. But, if you give yourself time to practice simple yoga asanas daily, you can gain as much energy as you want. Even nowadays, yoga is involved in national games and even some international arenas, which can offer you a bright and stable future.
Yoga helps you to get flexibility and strength that can help you to get involved in gymnastics and other related games. This way, you can make a great future in competitive areas without hesitation.
How can yoga improve flexibility and strength?
Yoga has different poses, asanas, pranayamas, and many such things. All of them work with all your bones and muscles. It is challenging initially; however, making this a part of your daily routine will look like a cup of tea. In any sport, one must do some warm-up and stretching to prepare. Similarly, in the case of yoga, all the asanas are a kind of stretching of bones and muscles. You need to do it properly with a certain amount and correct posture. A little knowledge is a dangerous thing. That is why you should know how to do those poses so you will not get harmed.
Consistent yoga practice significantly increases flexibility since yoga focuses heavily on muscle elasticity. It, in turn, contributes to keeping the body in good shape and health. Due to this sedentary lifestyle, it is natural to have stiffness in the bones and muscles. Still, you can retain their elasticity if you practice an active lifestyle, like a dancer or athlete. Yoga not only helps you in improving elasticity but also helps you to strengthen them.
Yoga uses your body weight to build balanced muscles through multiple body areas. Resultingly, you learn about those new muscles and start to take good care of them too. As a result, your muscles have great strength compared to the past.
Benefits of Yoga for flexibility
Flexibility is a vital factor for good physical health. Losing flexibility is natural due to aging as your bones and muscles start to release calcium. However, the main reason behind this is the sedentary lifestyle of the youth, stress, or improper posture and body movement habits.
If you boost your flexibility with yoga poses, such as cat pose, bow pose, intense side stretch, and many more, you can achieve your goal of a flexible body and muscles. All you have to do is practice yoga regularly in class or at home.
Some of the standard Yoga poses for flexibility are mentioned below:
- Intense Side Stretch: This forward bend stretches your spine, hips, and legs. It also helps you to maintain your posture, balance, and digestion. All you need to do is stand with your left foot facing forward and your right foot back, turning your toes at a slight angle. Bend down toward your foot, keeping your chin tucked into your chest. Hold this position for atleast 1 minute and then do it on the opposite side.
- Cat and cow pose: This pose helps you to improve the mobility and flexibility of your core, neck, shoulders, and spine. Place your foot and hands on the ground and stand on the knees facing your face downwards. Inhale your breath and allow your belly to fall toward the ground. Exhale as you press into your hands to round your spine toward the ceiling. Continue this pose for 1 minute.
- Wide-angle seated forward bend: This is one of the best yoga for flexibility. It helps you open your hips and lower back and flex your hamstrings and calves. All you need to do is sit on the floor with your legs open as wide as possible. Then, bend forward with fully stretched arms and hands facing the floor. Hold in this position for atleast 2 minutes.
While doing these poses, always warm up and stretch at the initial stages. Do not be in a hurry while doing all these to prevent yourself from any injury.
Here are some main benefits of flexibility which you gained by doing simple yoga:
- More excellent range of motion: Increased flexibility helps you move your joints in an average direction with less effort.
- Less muscle tension: A sedentary lifestyle makes your muscles stiff and tight. Stretching is the best way to release tension and stress on your ligaments and body. Resultingly, you achieve greater flexibility.
- Better posture: Tight and stressed muscles can lead to muscle strain and poor posture. However, when you practice yoga daily, you can avoid all these bad habits.
- Less pain: Relaxed muscles allows your body to stay healthy and fine. It leads to less stress and pain in certain parts of the body.
- Lower risk of injuries: Greater flexibility in your muscles and joints will make you less prone to injuries as you can move them in any direction at any time.
- Less stress: You feel more comfortable when your muscles are relaxed and stress-free. Resultingly, lower stress levels are observed.
- Improved blood circulation: While you start any stretching or yoga, you must warm your body up. This results in improving better blood circulation in the whole body and also prevent stiffness.
Flexibility is an essential aspect of healthy physical well-being. However, stress, tension, age, lack of exercise, and improper posture lead your muscles to tightness and stiffness, limiting your flexibility.
Benefits of Yoga for strength
Yoga is also one of those strength-based exercises that helps you excel in body weight to make your body stronger and increase muscle tone. Yoga is a whole-body workout that helps you in building strength even by using some everyday activities. Strength is a foundation principle for gymnastics, dance, and stretching.
While practicing yoga, you get mobility and stability, resulting in great muscle and bone strength. It also reduces the chance of injuries, as practicing yoga makes your joints more powerful. When your bones are muscular, you can lift any weight easily.
Following are some ways to build your strength with yoga:
- Overload beyond your usual: Always try to use the principle of progressive overload by adjusting your work, so it is difficult but doable. Do not go to an extreme limit. It would be best if you increased the intensity of your effort.
- Modify the postures: You must sometimes adjust and modify the posture’s final form. It is done to make the pose easy to do. You can also modify it according to your need and add more difficulty when it is too easy.
- Slow down your movements: Slow and steady wins the race. Here, it would be best to slow down to improve your control through the range of motion. When you go slowly, you discover your weaknesses, the main hurdles in building good muscle strength.
- Engage for internal resistance: Yoga is the best way to engage all your bones and muscles to activate your body to do the work of postures. The main work of engagement is to create internal resistance to the shape of the pose. Remember not to put a lot of intensity on yourself.
- Vary the originality: When you let the body to get adapt to the same amount of load, the progress stops at that point. That is why variety is necessary. You should change the amount of load from time to time so that when you stretch, you can build stronger muscles than before.
- Balance strength, stretching and co-contractions: A good balance between strength, stretching and contractions is very important as these go side by side. When you stretch your body from one side, the muscles of the other side contract, and the body becomes powerful. Contractions bring stability to your muscles and movements, while stability needs strength to do all the activities.
You can try many yoga poses at home daily with some help. Some yoga poses for strength are mentioned below:
- Plank Pose: This yoga pose helps you in building strength in the core, shoulders, arms, and legs. All you need to do is lie down on your belly and then move upward by pressing your palms on the floor. Reach where your arms are perpendicular to the floor and your toes touch the ground. Your whole body should be straight from the crown of the head through the heels.
- Warrior 2 Pose: This pose helps you to make your hips, thighs and legs powerful. To do this pose, you need to stand in a wide position with parallel feet, and the distance should be three feet between them. Extend your arms straight out from the sides. After that, turn the left foot out 90 degrees and bend the knee so that your leg is perpendicular to the floor and your thigh is parallel. Turn your head to the left and look at the fingers. Repeat on the other side after staying a minute in this position.
Garland Pose: This deep squat pose strengthens your hip and muscles in the back and thighs. Also, you feel your feet and ankles muscles are active. Start this pose with a mountain pose. Place your feet slightly apart and rotate your legs out so your toes should be pointing at the corners of the mat. Now, drop your hips down and reach the deep squat position. Fold your arms inside the knees and press your legs open while bringing the palms together. Hold this position for atleast 5 breaths.
While you are building the strength of your muscles, the other part contracts, and putting a lot of pressure may result in severe pain. So, remember to put in enough effort so you will not injure yourself.
The main benefits of strengthening the muscles are given below:
- Active Body: When your bones and muscles are powerful, you will never feel low at any moment. It is the main benefit of strengthening the body because an active body is essential nowadays.
- Fewer injuries:Powerful muscles and bones are less prone to injuries. The reason behind this is when you get injured, the main injured part is the legs and arms. However, when you practice yoga regularly, you already stretch and contract them so that they never get any harm in accidents.
- Better weight lifting:Powerful body can easily lift the weight that a person can not lift regularly. This way, you can confidently participate in different national and international games.
- Boosts confidence and reduces stress: Solid muscles and bones help you to motivate yourself to do beyond limits. This way, you can form new records and stay happy with your actions. You will not be busy thinking about past stories and letting yourself go down in life.
How yoga combines flexibility and strength?
Nowadays, youth is very careful about their health and fitness. They do not want to get easily dead as they want to earn more and more. That’s why today’s generation is attentive to how they can make their body flexible and strong. The best solution is yoga, as it is easy to do and provides flexibility and strength without paying any money. You can do the simpler poses at home, which stretch and contract your muscles and bones. This stretching and contractions combine to give great power and an easygoing body.
Yoga is the reason why ancestors live long and healthy life all the way. You can also see that saints and Rishi brahmins always do yoga in the morning and let their bodies easily adapt to the environment. Yoga is the best way to fulfill your dream of a flexible body that will not get injured easily. Even being an active person for getting highly paid, yoga is the best source. With yoga, you can improve your health regularly.