Why should you practice yoga asanas? Why not jog, lift weights, do aerobics. Or maybe you get your exercise skiing, snowboarding or swimming. Of course other forms of exercise work your body in various ways, but yoga asana is a complete, systematic and time-tested form of exercise that complements your other activities.
Then again, if you don’t exercise at all, yoga asana is the perfect way to start. It’s designed for people of all ages and levels of fitness. The beautiful thing about hatha yoga is that it’s not competitive. You work at your own pace, listening to your body, gradually encouraging it to stretch and strengthen when it’s ready. But don’t think you won’t get a workout! You’ll push your limits but you will do it gently and safely.
Yoga not only keeps you fit and firm, but provides innumerable benefits to the internal systems of the body as well. The many forward bending asanas, or positions, stimulate digestion and elimination. Twisting asanas and backbends stimulate spinal nerves, benefiting the entire nervous system. With a healthy nervous system, you’re able to relax and face life’s difficulties more steadily. Inversions and other asanas pump up your blood circulation. Breathing exercises bring oxygen to the blood, which then bathes the cells, rejuvenating the body from the inside out. Yoga asanas affect the glands and regulate the production of hormones. In fact, yoga does wonders for all systems of the body.
Even a little effort at this exercise is repaid almost instantly with greatly increased feelings of well being. With regular practice, you will quickly notice how your body feels lighter, livelier and more limber. Balance strength with flexibility. And more subtle forms of yoga like meditation relieve stress and benefit the body, mind and you, the soul.