The Importance of Yoga

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I was 39 years old before I ever tried a single yoga workout.  When I completed my first yoga workout, it was one of those times that I asked myself “Why didn’t I do this sooner?”  Even though the workout was awkward and difficult, I felt great afterwards and was glad I had tried it.  The yoga workout came with the in-home workout program P90X, I had purchased and the trainer had emphasized how important it was to include yoga along with the cardio and weight training workouts.  Now, after doing yoga for over a year, I have come to realize just how important it is and why.  Why everyone, regardless of their age, gender or exercise they like to do, should make yoga a part of their fitness program.

As we age, we slowly lose three fundamental things; flexibility, strength and balance.  Yoga helps develop and improve all three of these fundamental aspects, making how we move and function in everyday life easier, more efficient and safer.  Whether you are carrying groceries in from the car, doing yard work or have a job that requires physical activity, your flexibility, strength and balance come into play.   Almost everything we do as we move through our day utilizes these aspects and would benefit from improving them. 

In addition to the benefits of improving flexibility, strength and balance, yoga can also be great for the overall body and mind.  The long extended poses help to stretch the muscles.  This is especially useful if you lift weights to tone or build muscles.  As we “lift” a weight or heavy object, we contract our muscle.  Yoga helps to balance out all the contracting you do with lifting by elongating and stretching out the muscles.  It can also help teach you to breathe correctly with certain movements and help you to clear your mind from stresses of everyday life.  

Most people are reluctant to try yoga, for a variety of reasons.  But if you do any type of physical activity or just want to help fight the natural process of losing flexibility and balance as you grow older, then you should try to include a weekly yoga workout into your routine.  You can find yoga included in some workout programs, at gyms or fitness centers, or you can purchase an individual yoga workout.  I encourage everyone to try it for a month and see if you learn to love it and the benefits that come with it as much as I did.  Enjoy the journey!


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