It’s a simple truth that many of us have something we’d like to change about our bodies. We’d have less fat here, more muscle there, better this, smoother that. But making these changes can be far easier said than done for many of us.
If you’re wanting to change something about your body, yoga is a great way to do it. A yoga body transformation can touch everything from your core to your quads, not to mention the mental and emotional benefits a regular practice provides. Read on to learn more about how you can transform your body through the power of yoga.
Increase Your Lung Capacity
One of the first ways yoga can begin to transform your body is by increasing your lung capacity. This may not seem like a big deal at first. After all, if you’re getting all the air you need every day, why does it matter?
But have you ever been out of breath after walking up a flight of stairs? If so, you’ll know that having a greater lung capacity can help make many aspects of your daily life easier. Yoga focuses on deep breathing, which can begin to help increase oxygenation to all parts of your body.
Improve Your Posture
Many of us work at computers in some form or fashion these days, and too often, we find ourselves hunched over our screens or contorted into strange positions on the couch. Over time, this bad posture can lead to all sorts of joint pain and other challenges. Yoga can help you begin to correct that bad posture.
When you practice yoga, you focus on stretching and lengthening your body, drawing yourself out into long, straight lines. Not only does this help to work out the knots and kinks from being hunched over, but it can also strengthen muscles in your back and shoulders. This can make it easier for you to sit up straight for long periods of time, keeping your posture pristine throughout the workday.
Increase Your Flexibility
It should come as no surprise that yoga can increase your flexibility. The practice is all about stretching and gently easing your body deeper into new and more challenging positions. But what may surprise you is the benefits this added flexibility can bring to your life.
For one thing, greater flexibility can make it easier to do something as simple as tying your shoes or pick something up off the floor. But it can also improve your sex life and increase your mobility. If you’re entering or enjoying your golden years, increased flexibility can help keep you moving naturally and increase your joint health.
Change Your Mental Discipline
Yoga is all about the connection between your mind, your body, and your breath. Part of your yoga practice is training your brain to let go of distractions and focus on being there in the moment as you move. And this mental discipline can actually help to transform your body (as well as providing a number of benefits at home and at work).
Some studies estimate that we make more than 200 food decisions every day. That’s a lot of times when you could choose to eat those cookies in the break room, and you need a lot of mental discipline to resist. The increased mental training yoga provides can help you have an easier time making healthy food choices all 200 times a day.
Get Your Cardio In
Many people have it in their heads that yoga is a gentle, low-impact workout. And in some practices, it certainly can be that, depending on what your needs are from day to day. But yoga can also have some serious cardio elements and can push you to your physical limits.
Vinyasa, ashtanga, and power yoga all focus on a practice that is much more centred around cardio. Even speeding up your normal flow movements can get your heart pumping and your breath moving. But the beautiful thing about yoga is that you can slow down your practice as needed so you don’t push beyond your limits.
Build Lean Muscle
Many of us would like to be thinner, and a major fitness goal for many people is being more toned. This means building a lot of lean muscle, which is something that it’s hard to do by lifting weights at the gym. Luckily, yoga excels at helping you to build long, lean muscle.
When you’re going through those stretches and holding poses, your muscles are getting stronger, and you’re melting away fat. But the muscle tissue you’re building is also long and limber. So you can get that lean, toned look that many of us want through a regular yoga practice.
Tone Your Core
For many of us, our midsections are a particular point of pain in our self-image. We can be very self-conscious about our tummies, and that fat can be admittedly hard to get rid of. But yoga is a great way to help tone your core, which has the added benefit of improving your balance.
Having a strong core is a huge part of being able to balance well, a key skill in yoga practice. So as you continue practising and improving your balance, your core will get stronger. This will lead to the lean, toned muscle you want and even a six-pack, assuming you’re eating a healthy diet.
Strengthen Your Arms
Stronger arms can have many more benefits than just looks, though that is a major point for many of us. Having good arm strength can help you do everything from lift a bag of dog food to pushing a lawnmower to getting the jelly jar open. And yoga is also a great way to get strong, toned arms.
In yoga, you rely on your arms just as much as your legs for certain poses. Downward-facing dog, the baseline yoga pose, puts equal weight on your arms and legs. And yoga involves a number of handstands, all of which help you to build up that upper-body strength you need.
Build Leg Strength
Of course, our legs are what keep us moving through the day; so having strong legs is very important, too. That flight of steps that had you so winded before would be easier to handle if your legs were strong enough to lift you up those steps.
Strong legs can also make it easier to protect your back when you’re lifting one end of a couch or picking up a heavy box around your office.
Yoga incorporates a number of poses that work your quads, your calves, and your hips. You’ll practice holding lunges for a long period of time and keeping your legs strong while you hold balance poses. A regular yoga practice can help you build tremendous leg strength, not to mention making sure your favourite pair of jeans look amazing on you.
Get Plenty of Variety
When you’re trying to implement a body transformation, one of the biggest challenges is keeping your motivation up. After a week or two, chances are you’re going to want to let your workout slide. In many cases, going through the same workout routine day after day can make it that much harder to stay motivated.
But yoga keeps things fresh every time you come back to the mat. No two practices are alike, even for the same person, and you can tailor your practice to meet your needs that day. If you had a frustrating day, you can pick more ashtanga yoga poses, or if you need something soothing, you can stick to gentler flows.
Skip the Injuries
Many people find that as they get more and more involved with their sport of choice, they reach a point where they get injured. Maybe they pushed too hard on a workout, or maybe they were trying a high-risk, high-reward maneuver. But in either case, you lose a lot of precious time waiting for those injuries to heal.
While it isn’t impossible to injure yourself doing yoga, it is less likely than with other workout options. Yoga is about listening to your body’s needs and responding appropriately. In many cases, the moves are slow enough that you aren’t likely to wind up hurting yourself during a yoga practice.
Begin Your Yoga Body Transformation
If you’re looking to remake your body, there are few better ways to do it than with yoga. A yoga body transformation can give you the body you’ve always dreamed of in a way that is healthy and sustainable.
You’ll be able to skip the injuries and work at your own pace, which can be crucial to seeing long-term success.
If you’d like to start your yoga body transformation, check out the rest of our site at I’m Centred. We have resources for people at all levels of their yoga journey.
Check out our six favourite facts about yoga to learn more about this fascinating practice and the benefits it can bring to your life.