Heard about all the benefits of yoga, but haven’t had a chance to try it out yet? As a Soldier, yoga can help you reach your health and fitness goals—from relieving stress to increasing flexibility. It’s a great exercise to add to your workout routine.
What Is Yoga?
Yoga is the practice of postures, breathing techniques, and meditation. A mind-body discipline, yoga dates back thousands of years. You can practice yoga at a gym or studio, or try it at home with an online video or a yoga DVD. All you need is a mat and some space to do the exercises.
Physical Benefits of Yoga
Yoga is considered low-impact exercise. It helps widen range of motion and improve flexibility. Yoga also activates, sculpts, and strengthens muscles.
Yoga has been known to:
- Lower cortisol (the hormone that controls body fat)
- Lower your heart rate
- Improve circulation
- Lower blood pressure
- Improve lung function
- Increase oxygen to the body
- Ease back pain
- Relax the body overall
- Improve sex
Emotional Benefits of Yoga
Yoga is effective in helping Soldiers cope with emotional stress, too. Studies show yoga helps you:
- Sleep better
- Overcome insomnia and nightmares
- Manage depression
- Cope with anxiety and fear
- Manage anger
- Calm the mind and find focus
Yoga can also help build strength and resilience. Mindful Yoga Therapy offers yoga therapy to Soldiers with:
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Chronic pain
- Stress and other non-combat injuries
As always, talk to your Medical Readiness NCO or medical health professional before you start yoga to make sure it won’t affect any health conditions you may have.