New to yoga and wondering what all the terms mean(from Utkatasana to Balasana) or what class etiquetteyou should be aware of? Or if you’ve been practicing for awhile, are you unsure if you’ll ever be able to master some of the more challenging poses? Whether you’re a newbie or have been Downward Dogging it for years, there’s a lot to celebrate—and learn—about this ancient practice. From confidence-building moves to health benefits to must-follow Instagram feeds, here’s some fresh motivation to strike a pose right now.
It will actually whittle your waist
Now that we’ve got your attention, check this out: A review of 30 trials concluded that yoga is a sage and effective way to help overweight or obese people slim down. And a study of more than 15,000 middle-aged adults found that those who practiced for four or more years were less likely to gain weight over a 10-year period. Want to up your burn even further? Try adding light weights while flowing through a vigorous vinyasa.
Yoga helps your health big-time
An awful lot of research has shown that yoga may affect your body at the cellular level. “If you practice it on a regular basis, you’ll notice a cascade of health changes that can occur within a relatively short amount of time,” says Mindy Caplan, a certified exercise physiologist and yoga instructor. Three things in particular it may help with:
Less back pain: Dozens of studies have revealed that yoga can ease lower back pain.
An improved immune system: Folks who flowed for 90 minutes once a week for 12 weeks had higher antioxidant levels and stronger immune function, per research in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine.
Better numbers: It improves blood pressure, heart rate, and cholesterol, according to a review of 37 studies.
It just may perk up your posture
We spend most of our day rounded forward, so it’s refreshing to go into reverse. Wheel pose is ideal for this. To try it, lie faceup with knees bent, feet hip-width apart on floor. Bring palms to floor next to ears, fingers facing toes (A). Inhale; press into feet to lift hips (B), then into hands to lift shoulders and head (C).