Going to a yoga class is usually a pretty predictable scene: rows and rows of women all sipping green juices and complimenting each other’s Lululemon leggings.
Yes, that’s definitely a stereotype.
But do you know what’s also a stereotype? The idea that yoga isn’t “real exercise” or that it’s only intended for women.
No matter who you see stretching out next to you on the mats, experts agree: Yoga is for everyone.
Here are four reasons why everyone should practice yoga.
Injury Recovery and Prevention
It should go without saying, but it’s not just women who are susceptible to injuries, right?
As we get older, we’re all more prone to slips and falls, back pain, and other muscle and joint injuries.
Yoga can help prevent that.
Because yoga helps you lengthen and strengthen muscle tissue, it can also help you speed up your recovery from muscle injuries.
Another key feature of practicing yoga is improved balance. And balance plays a big role in helping prevent injuries.
Mark Kozuki, a physical therapist and owner of Elite Performance Physical Therapy, explains how balancing training can help prevent injury in an interview with the Wall Street Journal.
It’s one thing that unites us all: stress.
Whether it’s from work complications or relationship problems or even just simply reading the news, spiked cortisone levels are something we all experience throughout the day.
For many, yoga is their secret weapon to fighting rising stress levels. It starts with fighting inflammation.
Inflammation is a major hallmark of stress on the body. But the journal Immunology found in a recent study that people who practice yoga suppressed the activation of certain genes that cause inflammation.
This is a powerful display that yoga goes beyond just helping people feel good and can actually have positive side effects on the body down to the cellular level.
Mindfulness and Productivity
Often, lower stress levels go hand in hand with improved mindfulness and productivity. After all, it makes sense that if you’re feeling less stressed out, you’ll be able to focus better, whether that means being more productive at work or reminding yourself to stay present in the moment.
It’s true: Even the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is pointing out how yoga can help improve productivity.
In a recent study, the CDC assessed how mindfulness-based practices, such as yoga, could improve workers’ health. Among the 85,000 American workers who participated in the study, yoga was shown to help people beat burnout by improving their well-being.
Research from the Scandinavian Journal of Work, Environment & Health takes the claim that yoga aids mindfulness and productivity one step further.
In 2013, 367 workers from the Netherlands reported lower levels of fatigue and higher levels of perseverance and resilience in the workplace after practicing yoga and another general workout once a week for six months.
Everyone dreams of getting a better night’s sleep. And the benefits of practicing yoga might just help you get the shut-eye you and your body have been craving.
In 2013, PubMed Central conducted a study on the effects of long-term yoga practice on sleep quality in the elderly. Results show that those who practiced yoga reported:
- Having fewer sleep disturbances,
- Falling asleep more quickly,
- Being less likely to use sleep medications.
The yogis of the group also scored higher on the study’s measures of sleep quality.
Why can yoga have such an impact on our quality of sleep?
Researchers believe it’s due to it comes down to muscle exertion and breathing exercises. Simply stretching and exerting your muscles in yoga can help tire out your body so you can nod off earlier.
Meanwhile, yoga’s breathing exercises help strengthen your respiratory muscles to ward off common sleeping problems like snoring or sleep apnea.
The Bottom Line
The benefits of practicing yoga are numerous.
From helping prevent injuries to mitigating stress and improving productivity to even getting a better night’s sleep, yoga can be a valuable practice for maintaining good health.
And yoga isn’t just for women.
It’s for everyone.