7 Reasons why Yoga should be every Woman’s Exercise Routine of Choice
Article by Caroline Clare
Yoga must be one of the oldest exercise and mental health regimes around, yet it is still surrounded by misconceptions and suspicion. It is seen as something mystical and other worldly, perhaps something vaguely to do with a religion that isn’t ours.
If you live in an Ashram on a high mountain in Northern India, Yoga can be all that. It can be a total way of life, but in the West it can be an excellent exercise routine which is easy to learn, brings sure results and is suitable for everyone.
There are so many advantages to incorporating Yoga into your life. Here are just 7 which I am covering here:
* Suitable for all ages * Can be conducted alone or in a group * Develop at your own pace * Instruction widely available * Exercising can be done anywhere * Calms the mind * Keeps you young and supple
Yoga is a suitable form of exercise for every age group, from young babies with their mothers up to 90 year olds. It helps to stimulate a baby’s mental and physical abilities while helping Mum get back into shape. It is an ideal routine during pregnancy too, helping relieve stress and making muscles supple for childbirth. Older people find Yoga suitable as there is no strain or stress on muscles and regular exercise will help prevent the creaking joints and aches and pains.
You can join a group if you wish and perhaps sit on the floor of a draughty church hall, or you can find a quiet corner at home and practice alone. The choice is yours. I’ve been in classes where you had to arrive early to get a place well away from the windows where a howling gale would blow even on the warmest day; not very conducive to a relaxed session!
Yoga is completely non competitive; even with yourself. Each session stands along. You may find some days you are not as supple and cannot achieve what you did the day before – no worries. Be content with what you can achieve. Listen to your body and don’t push yourself to do more. You will still benefit from the exercise. If you are part of a group, don’t be concerned if you don’t seem to be doing as well as others. Each person is unique and brings a different set of conditions with them. Your only concern is you.
There are Yoga teachers everywhere, small sessions, evening classes in local schools, maybe organised at your Gym. Before you join up, make sure the teacher is qualified. There are also many instructions books and Yoga DVDs available at your local bookstore or on the Internet. Make sure you buy a DVD for your level. If you are a beginner don’t be tempted to buy an Intermediate or Advanced Level, you really do need to learn the basics first. It’s better to take it slowly and gently.
Once you’ve learned the basic positions you can practice Yoga anywhere. You don’t need any special equipment, just a bit of floor space and some non constricting clothing. This means you take it with you – wherever you go you can do your exercises. If you have to travel for your work, a hotel bedroom is fine, if you’re on holiday – anywhere you choose, outside in the fresh air is perfect. There is no excuse not to exercise “because I couldn’t get to class” doesn’t wash!
An essential part of Yoga is a relaxation session after the exercises. While the muscles are warm, wrap yourself in a blanket and totally relax calming the mind and letting all your worries drift away. If Meditation is new to you, your teacher or the DVD instructor will take you through it. Just 10 minutes will refresh and revitalise you – ready to face the world again.
As you practice Yoga you will notice a change in your body. Less aches and pains, less strain on muscles. These become stronger, you stand taller, become more lithe and supple. Blood supply is enhanced to muscles and organs which start to work more efficiently. The skin gets a new glow with increased blood supply. The result – you look and feel more alert, more lithe and possibly even younger looking.
Check with your Doctor before embarking on a course of Yoga if you have any health issues.
One last note. I had a Yoga teacher whom I had always assumed was in her early fifties. She had been practising Yoga for about 20 years. Chatting to her one day I was amazed to discover she was in fact 74! I tell you – it works.
About the Author
Caroline Clare is a retired PA who discovered yoga over 40 years ago. She recommends the Begin Yoga and Intermediate Yoga DVDs available from http://www.edaonline.co.uk.If you’re looking for exercise routines and keep fit options and you live in or near Oxford, UK take a look at http://personaltrainerinoxford.com