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Yoga for Beginners | The Best Basic Stretches to Get You Started, Yoga stretches are great for everything from pain relief to stress relief....

 


Yoga stretches are great for everything from pain relief to stress relief, and they’re really easy to work into your day.

What Are the Benefits of Yoga?

There are physical and mental benefits to yoga. First, it can “keep the body strong and supple”, as well as “increase flexibility” and “help with the realignment of the body”. All of these things can “help your body to achieve its full potential”, as well as protect it from injury when you’re engaging in other physical activities such as weight training and cardio.

But yoga is also very calming, and as a result it can aid sleep and even help to alleviate insomnia. In fact, according to the Sleep Foundation, when insomniacs perform yoga daily, “they sleep for longer, fall asleep faster, and return to sleep more quickly if they wake up in the middle of the night”. As Donna goes on to explain, this can help to reduce sleep deprivation and restore energy and vitality. 

 



 Yoga’s calming effects don’t just help with sleep – they can give your mental health a boost, too. Practising moves such as downward dog and warrior poses soothes soothes and centres the nervous system, “which in turn helps to relieve stress and associated issues”, such as low mood and anxiety. In addition, yoga helps you to get in touch with your body, teaching you to breathe fully, trust your body, and make you more mindful, Donna explains. All of this makes yoga a great thing to include “as part of your self-care practice”. 

How Often Do You Need to Do Yoga to Feel the Benefits?

The short answer is that “some yoga is better than no yoga”, says Donna, so even if you only find time to do 10 minutes of yoga stretches every day, you will still experience some of the benefits. In the short-term, yoga stretches may offer you a way to relax after a busy day, wind down before bed when you’re feeling stressed, or stretch out your aching muscles following an intense gym session.

Because of its huge calming effect, there’s no better time to practise some simple postures than during your work day, when stress levels are peaking. As part of Stylist magazine’s Work It Out campaign, Strong Women is encouraging everyone to take their Work 5-a-day, five scientifically backed breaks from your computer, with at least one break focusing on moving your body. So, try walking away from your desk for five minutes of gentle stretching and see how you feel. 

Donna does note that if you want to really feel the full benefits, or you have mental or physical health concerns that yoga could help you to manage, you could try “doing yoga at least twice a week”.

 

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