Yoga is known to be excellent training for a clear and healthy mind. But yoga also promotes physical health in multiple ways.
“Yoga has so many amazing benefits,” said Beth Funk, founder and executive director of Life Moves Yoga with offices in Killeen and Harker Heights. “A regular yoga and mindfulness practice can improve heart health, help relieve symptoms of depression and anxiety, reduce inflammation and chronic pain, promote quality sleep, improve flexibility and balance, and enhance your overall wellness.”
While some of the benefits derive from better stress management, others result from gentle physical movements and yoga postures in yoga, which help promote flexibility and reduce joint pain.
“Practicing at least 2-3 times a week is often enough to help you notice a difference in how you feel and can lead to improved quality of life,” Funk said.
One reason many Americans find the way into the nearest yoga studio is back pain. Statistics show that four out of five Americans suffer from back pain at some point.
A variety of trials and studies found evidence that regular yoga practice helps very effectively with short-term back-pain and improves long-term or chronic low-back pain moderately.
The American Society of Pain even recommends physicians to recommend yoga to patients with long-term pain in the lower back.
Yoga also offers pain relief for arthritis patients.
Although data shows that exercise helps alleviate pain and stiffness associated with osteoarthritis, gentle yoga movements can improve range of motion and strengthen the muscles around painful joints.
Other studies showed that yoga could also help rheumatoid arthritis, migraines, osteoporosis, balance and mobility issues, multiple sclerosis, inflammatory bowel disease, fibromyalgia, and ADHD.
Funk said practically everyone could do a yoga class.
“If you can breathe, you can practice yoga,” she said. “One of the most common things I hear is, ‘I can’t do yoga because I’m not flexible.’ Flexibility is not a requirement for starting a yoga practice. Rather, flexibility is a beautiful and beneficial byproduct of a regular yoga practice.
Since there are various yoga styles, it is essential to find the right match before starting a practice regimen.
“Not every style or pace is right for every person, however, and it is important to find the right fit for you,” she said. “Practicing yoga does not have to mean tying yourself up like a pretzel. While it is true that we become stronger and more flexible through the practice, it is important that we participate in a way that makes sense for us.”
Yoga sessions typically last from 45 to 90 minutes. The Harvard Medical school even recommended following yoga video instructions at home for 10 to 20 minutes several times a week to improve health and reduce pain.
The Life Moves Yoga studios are located at 2710 S Clear Creek Road in Killeen and at 3045 Stillhouse Lake Road, Suite 110 in Harker Heights.