Take a moment to think back to the last time you did a really good stretching session. Not just a quick twist to shake out a kink in your back or a pull on your calf to stretch out a tight muscle — think of the last time you spent a solid 15 to 20 minutes working on your flexibility. Can you even remember such a time? Unfortunately, with the busy lives we lead, setting aside a section of time to devote to stretching is the last thing on our minds. That's why yoga is the perfect middle ground. It allows you to work on both strength and flexibility simultaneously. Yoga incorporates a variety of poses called asanas. These postures stretch your body in ways you have probably never considered. Through stretching out muscles that have rarely been stretched, your body is likely to feel mobile in a whole new way.
Unlike other forms of strength training, which rely on repeating the same action over and over again, yoga strengthens your muscles in a different way. It requires you to hold physically demanding positions for anywhere from 10 seconds to several minutes. In the asanas, you aim to be both steady and firm yet comfortable and relaxed at the same time. This means your muscles are given the opportunity to strengthen without tensing in an unproductive manner. It won't take long for you to feel and appreciate the difference.
Breathing is one of our most vital functions. Without even thinking about it, we take in and push out air on a constant basis. Without breathing, we could not exist. It's unfortunate, then, that due to our stressful, hectic lives, our ability to breathe properly has so greatly diminshed. In yoga, you are provided with the opportunity to practice pranayama, which is the science of breath control. You work at exercising controlled, proper breathing while you go through your series of poses. As your yoga skills develop, you can learn more advanced breathing techniques, which will further develop your ability to control your breath and allow you to bring oxygen more deeply into your body and mind.
Through the combination of the asanas and pranayama, an incredible body-mind connection can be made. When you focus on merging these two concepts, a meditative state can be achieved that allows you to concentrate on the present and ignore any worries about the past or future. The connection between body and mind is instantaneously and deeply therapeutic, so pursuing it through yoga is an incredibly worthwhile endeavour.
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