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What Vinyasa Yoga Can Do For You

In today's world, new developments are occurring faster than we can keep up with.  Every day there is a new study purporting the up-to-the-minute research that will help people live healthier, happier lives. However, there is something to be said about practices that were developed when the world was a much simpler place.  For instance, yoga, which can be traced as far back as 5,000 years ago and potentially even further than that.  The first concrete evidence found of yoga practice dates back to the Indus-Sarasvati civilization in Northern India.  

From 500 B.C.E to today, yoga has become an increasingly popular way for adults of all physiques to get proper exercise.  In fact, nearly 10 percent of all American adults in 2012 practiced yoga, double from the previous 10 years.  Like many old practices, yoga has branched off into various forms, each with their own priorities and points of emphasis.  However, the question remains, which is best?  In this article, we will outline the benefits of Vinyasa.

What is Vinyasa Yoga?

Vinyasa broken down to its roots means “to place in a special way,” which doesn’t help much in explaining what it is.  The practice of Vinyasa Yoga is a dynamic form of Yoga that concentrates on breathing and movements that flow into each other.  For that reason, Vinyasa is commonly referred as “Flow Yoga.”  The dynamic label that is associated with Vinyasa is part of the reason for its growth in popularity.  Downward Dog may be a pose you’ve heard of before. Vinyasa combines a series of poses with an emphasis on breathing and the transition between poses.  The attention to detail on the transitioning sets Vinyasa apart from other forms.

What are the Benefits?

Strength Training:

People may be skeptical that without weights it’s not possible to gain muscle but they’d be woefully wrong.  The poses in Vinyasa utilize a person’s body weight and tension to build lean muscle.  Vinyasa also helps build up smaller muscles that can be ignored in traditional weight training.  A huge benefit of developing those smaller muscles is their application to everyday life.  The bicep curls that many people obsess over are building single muscle that is essentially for show.  The poses and transitions of Vinyasa don’t isolate a single muscle group but instead uses eccentric contraction to strengthen an entire body.  Building those smaller muscles makes your daily movements like standing, sitting, lifting, twisting easier.  Say goodbye to the groans and aches of pain in your knees and back that plague many Americans.

Flexibility:

Flexibility is the most obvious benefit from practicing yoga.  However, most people don’t take into account just how vital flexibility is to their overall health.  Back strains, muscle pulls, tweaks and aches become all too common as people age.  Part of the reason why these maladies become more typical is because humans lose flexibility as we age.  Kids can fall out of a tree and be fine the next day.  Parents, on the other hand, can strain their back getting out of bed.  It’s the elasticity in their joints, ligaments, and muscles that keep kids superhuman.  Yoga helps maintain that flexibility and allows bodies to stay younger for longer.

Relieve Stress:

This is the part of yoga that begins to sound like a magical cure-all.  While yoga is not a panacea for all life’s woes, there are a number of studies that indicate that it is beneficial for not only physical well-being but also mental health.  For depression, stress, or anxiety, the breathing technique utilized in Vinyasa is aimed at quieting all the noise that life throws at us.  Through the process of controlling breathing and concentrating on body movements as you flow through the poses, Vinyasa settles the central nervous system and smooths the mind.

As technology advances and works to make our lives easier, we are also simultaneously bombarded with more information than our ancestors ever could have imagined.  While the information is aimed at lessening the burden in our lives, many times it overwhelms us.  It is then time to turn to activity that was invented when messages were still sent out by a bird.  By returning our minds and bodies to a simpler time, and focusing our attention on our breathing and on our internal selves, we can reduce the never-ending cacophony of stresses that life throws our way.  Vinyasa Yoga is a fantastic way to build both mind and body.