Often the most effective ways to lose weight and stay fit involve some extra time and effort. Yoga positions, stretching and meditation require no specialized equipment and little more than your time and the desire to learn, relax and feel healthy.
Hatha yoga is the most commonly practiced type of yoga in western civilizations. Yoga is a combination of breathing and positions that encourage harmony between the mind and body. By practicing conscious breathing and various postures, you tone your body and build muscle while relieving stress and improving your memory. Yoga also strengthens your back, reduces your need for sleep and increases your lifespan. For women, yoga is effectively used to prepare for birth as well as relieve painful menstruation and menopause. The benefits of yoga for men, women, children and senior citizens are promoted by many physicians today. However, a key element to remember when doing yoga is to take your time because it takes awhile to learn the positions correctly and coordinate your muscles, mind and energy.
Many of the positions used in yoga involve stretching, which relaxes your muscles and reduces tension. Basically, there are two types of stretching – dynamic and static. Dynamic stretching involves motion and static stretching requires no motion. Stretching makes you more limber and reduces the risk of physical injury to your joints, muscles and tendons, which is a great advantage when embarking upon other forms of exercise. Stretching also reduces soreness and tension in your muscles and tendons and increases suppleness, lubricates connective tissues and even relieves dysmenorrhea (painful menstruation) in women.
Meditation is used to get in touch with your higher self and unify your consciousness to create optimal mental and physical health, enabling you to realize your full potential as a person. There are two types of meditation – active and passive. Active meditation involves use of a mantra, which is the repetition of a particular word, syllable or sound. Passive meditation involves observing your breath, much as you do during yoga. Benefits of meditating include lower blood pressure, decreased heart and respiratory rates and an overall feeling of calmness and well-being.
By developing a regular routine of yoga positions, stretching and meditation, you can keep your weight under control while enjoying a lifetime of mental and physical fitness.
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