Yoga is a mind-body practice that has been around for thousands of years and continues to be a popular method of exercise and wellness today. And good news, it is not just for the fit and flexible. There is a yoga practice for every body type and ability. Some physical benefits of practicing yoga include increased flexibility, increased muscle tone and strength, lowered blood pressure, better posture, and improved balance. These physical benefits are accompanied by many mental benefits as well. Yoga practices often incorporate meditation and breathing exercises in order to reduce stress, increase awareness of your body and movements, aid in sleep, and increase mental clarity. There are hundreds of types of yoga practices, meaning that there is a yoga practice out there for everyone no matter your age, size, health concerns, range of mobility, or experience level.
One of the most commonly practiced types of yoga focuses on breathing exercises and physical movement. Postures such as mountain (standing or sitting with your shoulders back and focusing on your body’s connection to the earth, can be practiced no matter your age, body size or ability. Other common posture like warrior one, child’s pose, and downward facing dog may all be modified in order to be more comfortable for your body. While some forms of modification involve positioning your body in a slightly different way, props such as yoga blocks or cushions are great tools if you are struggling with flexibility or stability issues. Additionally, yoga may also be practiced while sitting in a chair if that is what works best for your body. Chair yoga is a gentle form of yoga that is useful for those who have trouble transitioning from standing to lying positions due to age or conditions that limit your range of motion.
If you are looking for a type of yoga that focuses less on movement and more on relaxation, restorative yoga is a great place to start! Restorative yoga helps you to relax your body and mind by incorporating few movements and deep stretches. Opposed to tensing and flexing your muscles, the goal of this yoga practice is to loosen your muscles, let your body be supported by props, and enjoy a state of deep relaxation. This type of yoga is especially helpful for those who suffer from anxiety or stress.
In addition, there are an increasing number of classes that are inclusive to people of all body sizes, as well as classes designed for curvy bodies. Yoga is about connecting with our bodies and minds through movement and breathing to centre and calm ourselves. The benefits of having improved mental clarity and acceptance as well as the physical benefits of strength and flexibility are for everyone, regardless of size and ability!
A wide variety of yoga practices are available online and in person! Check out yoga studios near you to discover which available classes best suit your needs, interests, and abilities. YouTube is another great resource for finding an instructional yoga video that you can follow along with. With these resources at your fingertips you’ll be able to seek out yoga routines that target specific issues such as alignment or posture, are made for certain age groups such as children or the elderly, and work well for your body!
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