The word Yoga means union. Yoga is a form of exercise based on the belief that the body and breath are intimately connected with the mind. By controlling breathing and holding the body in steady poses or asanas, yoga helps to create harmony and enhances women’s fitness. Yoga practice consists of 5 key elements; proper breathing, proper exercise, proper relaxation, proper diet, positive thinking and meditation. The exercises are designed to ease tensed muscles to tone the internal organs and to improve the flexibility of the body’s joints and ligaments. Yoga can help women deal with health issues and assist them develop an improved integration of their body and mind.
Benefits of Yoga
Yoga has many benefits to a woman’s body and some of these include:
- Stronger immune system – Yoga can help to boost the immune system so you are in a better place to support resistance to infection
- Easier pregnancy – Yoga can help not only with the alleviation of many of the uncomfortable pregnancy symptoms, but also support an easier childbirth
- Increased flexibility – Yoga stretches and exercises some joints within the body aiding in flexibility. In addition to this, Yoga has been found to increase the natural lubrication of the joints in the body
- Muscle toning – Muscles that have become flaccid or weak are stimulated repeatedly to help build strength and tone when practicing yoga
- Higher pain tolerance – Pain tolerance is said to be higher in those who practice yoga regularly. In addition to pain tolerance, some instances of chronic pain, such as back pain, can be reduced through practicing yoga
How to start doing yoga
One of the first things you need to decide is which style of yoga you are going to do. There are many different styles but many novices start out with either hatha or vinyasa The best way to get into yoga is to attend a few classes so you can learn the beginner poses and exercises and build on a correct start. Pick a studio that is convenient to your home or work, so getting to class will be easy. Generally most studios’ have all the equipment you will need, so just wear some loose fitting clothing. When you attend the class for the first time, mention to the teacher that this is your first time.
If you don’t have access to a yoga class but still want to practice this unique exercise, here are 2 basic positions:
Sit/Easy yoga position – Sukhasana
This yoga position helps focus awareness on breathing and the body in addition to helping strengthen your lower back and open the groin and hips.
- Sit cross-legged with hands on knees
- Focus on your breathing
- Maintain your spine straight and push your bottom into the floor
- Try ease your knees lower to the floor
- If your knees rise above your hips, sit on a cushion or block
- Take ten slow, deep breaths
- On your next inhale, raise your arms over your head
- Exhale and take your arms down slowly. Repeat five times
Dog and Cat yoga position
This yoga exercise helps to increase the mobility and flexibility of your back and spine.
- Start on your hands and knees.
- Maintain your hands in front of your shoulders, your legs hip width apart
- As you inhale, slant the tailbone and pelvis up, and let the spine curve down, dropping your stomach low, and raise your head up
- Stretch gently
- As you exhale, transition into cat by reversing the spinal bend, tilting the pelvis down, drawing the spine up and pulling the chest and stomach in
- Repeat several times, going from dog into cat, and cat back into dog
Yoga does not only interact with your body but also is designed to help integration between the body, mind and spirit. It relaxes the mind and may help you to become more in touch with your body and yourself, which could help support the development of your self knowledge and acceptance. Yoga could help you attain not only a fitter body, but also a positive attitude towards life.
Last Published* December, 2022
*Please note that the published date may not be the same as the date that the content was created and that information above may have changed since.