An exercise developed in India thousands of years ago, yoga today has become a popular form of exercise thanks to its vast benefits. The practice of yoga is designed to create strength, awareness, and harmony in both the mind and body. It can be looked at as preventive medicine, assisting the body’s ability to heal itself. There are many types of yoga, but most sessions typically consist of breathing exercises, meditation, and assuming postures (called “asana” or poses) that stretch and flex various muscle groups.
When done regularly, yoga is known to lessen chronic pain, including lower back pain, arthritis, headaches, and even carpal tunnel syndrome. Due to its relaxing nature, yoga can also lower blood pressure and reduce insomnia. It also helps a person manage stress, which can have a negative effect on the body and mind. Natalie Nevins, a board-certified osteopathic family physician and certified Kundalini Yoga instructor, told the American Osteopathic Association, “Stress can reveal itself in many ways, including back or neck pain, sleeping problems, headaches, drug abuse, and an inability to concentrate. Yoga can be very effective in developing coping skills and reaching a more positive outlook on life.”
She stated that regular yoga practice creates mental clarity and calmness; increases body awareness; relieves chronic stress patterns; relaxes the mind; centers attention; and sharpens concentration.
Yoga can be practiced to enhance overall health, to improve balance, to heal and prevent injuries, to strengthen muscles and to open the body for meditation. Yoga’s increasing popularity illustrates that people value an exercise technique that engages the mind, body, and spirit in equal measure.
Other benefits of yoga include:
- Increased flexibility
- Increased muscle strength and tone
- Improved respiration, energy, and vitality
- The maintenance of a balanced metabolism
- Weight reduction
- Cardio and circulatory health
- Improved athletic performance
- Protection from injury
Manitou Springs is a community that thrives on the concept of enhancing the mind, body, and spirit. There are various places – both indoors and outdoors – to practice yoga in Manitou Springs, including various free events.