Exercise 5 Reasons We Should All Practice Yoga

Yoga should not be associated with rebellion or revolution, instead it should be perceived as a practical response to our modern, hectic every-day lifestyles.

5 Reasons We Should All Practice Yoga

From the time we brush our teeth in the morning until the time we eat dinner, we are bombarded with some sort of sensory overload — whether it be by text messages, emails, social media, advertisements; our brain is constantly punching in those overtime hours.

Our everyday activities like going to school, driving to work, picking up the kids, sitting in traffic on the parkway (why do people panic before the tunnels?) put us in a position where we neglect to give our bodies the well-being it deserves. In doing so, increases the susceptibility of disease and worst of all– sedentary lifestyle. Schopenhauer, the philosopher said: “To neglect ones body for any other advantage in life is the greatest of fallacies.”

Here are 5 reasons why we should practice yoga:

1.Spine Health

Your CNS is what keeps us alive, without it we cease to exist. Your spine consists of 26 vertebra, surrounded by fibrous cartilage that are there to resist forcefull shock and give the spine its flexability. Poor posture removes this cartilage. Which then triggers our bones to fuse together in either kyphosis– excessive rounding in the upper back, scoliosis- a sideways curve in your spine, or lordosis excessive curvature in the lower lumbar region.  A condition in which many dancers suffer from.  Generally speaking , yoga helps re-align your vertebrae and helps to strengthen your Erector Spinous muscle. Therefore preventing stiffness and opening up more neural pathways.  “If your spine is inflexibility stiff at 30, you are old; If it is completely flexible at 60, you are young”. -Joseph Pilates

2. A State of Mindfulness

Taking 30 minutes out of your daily schedule to just stop and focus on your mind and body is quite possibly the best thing you can do all day. Maybe you practice in the morning to calm the mind so you can focus on the day ahead, or possibly in the evening to help unwind a busy day of running around, paying bills, worrying about things out of your control. You will notice when you take the time out to just stop and worry about yourself; mundane stimuli cease to bother you, you will have more self-efficacy, a higher state of self-esteem, and a heightened awarness to deal with environmental stressors.

3. Increased Flexibility and Range of Motion

Yoga is has been practiced for over 6,000 years! Nothing lasts that long if it doesn’t work (sorry zumba).  Males more than females have the tendency to have tight hamstrings, which increases strain to your lower back. Your tight hamstrings are pulling the muscles in your lumber spine into greater extension. Furthermore, the Illopsoas say “I don’t think so”- and proceed to plays tug of war with your back as a way to counter act the motion. This is low back pain in a nutshell. Yoga not only stretches your sarcomeres (contractile unit of a muscle) but awakens other wise dormant muscle cells.

4. Perfect Compliment to Your Existing Exercising Routine

Yoga and flexibility exercises are often overlooked in the majority of the gyms in town. I see guys at the gym all the time who can bench press 225 pounds but have a hard time touching their toes– and it’s disheartening. Imagine what a better athlete you could become if you were to wake up those stabilizer muscles in your core, hamstring, and shoulders. Did I mention injury prevention?! Simply adding 10-15 minutes of yoga at the end of your workout will help lengthen those muscle spindles.

5. Easy of Everyday Activities

Yoga not only strengthens the body but also your cognition. The ability to clear your mind and lose the willingness to procrastinate will open doors previously unopened. With a more flexible mobile body, you are now able to bend and load the dishwasher with virtually no pain. You noticed when you sit at your desk for work you no longer hunch over; rather you sit up straight in your chair. Or you noticed your inhalations have been bigger, longer, and more meaningful. You notice you have more lung capacity and — now you take the steps instead of the elevator everyday. Taking the time to better yourself not only makes you a better person, but helps make this city more livable.

Stay healthy Pittsburgh!

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