Yoga Benefits: Not Just a Workout

18 January 2016

Om...ommm...oh don’t mind us, we’re just working on our spiritual well-being.

Are you a yoga guru? Are you in touch with your inner spirituality? Do you even know what “om” means? If the answer to any of these questions is no then we suggest you read on. Whether you’re looking to enhance your mental well-being, improve your physical strength and flexibility, or a combination of the two, there’s something for everyone in yoga!

An Ancient Practice

Yoga is by no accounts a modern practice - it's been around for approximately five thousand years. Talk about tried and tested! Originating in ancient India, it became popular in the Western world during the 1980s.

A physical, mental and spiritual activity involving performing different poses, the main components of yoga are posture and breathing. There are numerous styles, such as Ashtanga or Sivananda, with varying levels of intensity. Some will focus more on improving your posture and physicality, whilst others will concentrate on breathing exercises. 

Let’s Get Physical

If you’re a sportsperson, or looking to improve your strength, balance or flexibility, the physical benefits of yoga may be the most appealing.
Some may dismiss yoga as just standing in a circle pointing to the sun but, in fact, it can be a really effective muscle training exercise. At least two sessions a week will help you meet the guidelines on muscle strengthening activities. 

And it’s not just the young and sporty that can get something out of yoga. As it particularly strengthens the ankles and knees, and improves your balance, yoga can help to prevent falls. This makes it an ideal practice for older people who are more at risk of this. 

There’s no age limit to yoga, with classes for every age group. Yoga related injuries are uncommon, and many people don’t start practising it until their seventies!

The NHS website states that there’s some evidence of yoga also being beneficial for people with arthritis, high blood pressure, heart disease and general aches and pains, for instance lower back pain.

Think Sport offers various products to help you enhance your training. A Yoga Strap, for example, extends your reach to improve your flexibility. Providing support, a belt can help you keep your balance and perform the pose correctly.

Great Minds

Most physical activity is said to have a positive effect on your mental well-being, releasing endorphins, but yoga may be particularly good at this as a fantastic relaxation technique.

Often going hand-in-hand with meditation, yoga promotes the idea that controlling your breathing can help you to control your body and mind. Modern life certainly has its stresses, with most of us rarely taking a break from our work, families, social life and technology. A yoga session can give you a chance to switch off. 

“Om” My God

As well as benefiting you physically and mentally, yoga supposedly possesses a spiritual element. 

Repeating the word “om” is meant to aid concentration as you perform your poses, but it goes deeper than that. It’s been said that “yoga is not just a workout – it’s about working on yourself.” 

By steadying the body, practising balance and breathing, it’s believed that you can steady your mind. This in turn is said to build your inner strength, helping you face everyday situations in a calmer, happier way. Powerful stuff, this yoga! 

At Think Sport, we offer various products that can help you get the most out of your yoga session, whether you’re looking to start or have been practising for years. Check out our online store now.