Yoga aims to balance different energy flows within the human body. As a form of exercise, yoga consists of postures that embody controlled movement, concentration, flexibility, and conscious breathing. The postures range from the basic to the complex, from the easily accomplished to the very challenging. While the movements tend to be slow and controlled, they provide an invigorating workout for the mind and body, including the internal organs.
Yoga exercises are designed to ease tense muscles and to improve the flexibility of the body's joints and ligaments. The aim is to improve suppleness and strength. Each posture is performed slowly in fluid movements. Violent movements are avoided; they produce a buildup of lactic acid, causing fatigue. It can be practiced by anyone, regardless of age, to achieve a more limber body, increased physical coordination, better posture, and improved flexibility without incurring the potentially negative effects associated with high-impact forms of exercise.
Overall, the postures release stiffness and tension, help to reestablish the inner balance of the spine, renew energy and restore health. Some postures provide the added benefit of being weight-bearing which helps sustain bone mass (very important for women). Relaxation and breathing exercises produce stability, reduce stress and put you in touch with your inner strength. In addition, regular practice of yoga can promote graceful aging.
Young and old alike can practice yoga. While there is no one who should be excluded, you should check with your doctor before you begin a course if you suffer from a medical condition or have any doubts. If you have any concerns about your health or fitness, consult your physician, qualified health practitioner or yoga teacher before undertaking a yoga practice, especially with these specific health problems: high blood pressure, heart disease, arthritis, back or neck injury or recent surgery.
Mental Health Benefits of Yoga
Yoga has both preventive and therapeutic benefits. It has been shown to offer both physical and mental benefits to the body and the mind.
The mental benefits include:
- It increases body awareness
- Relieves chronic stress patterns in the body
- Refreshes the body by relieving muscle strain
- Relaxes the mind and body
- Centers attention
- Sharpens concentration
- Frees the spirit
Please check the Athletics web page to find out when and where yoga classes are offered at Fordham.
A Yoga studio that aims to make yoga classes affordable to everyone. Suggested donation $10. St. Marks Place NYC.