5 Reasons To Find Your Inner Peace With Yoga, The New Cardio

by Stefani Pappas

Yoga and cardio are two different things, right? Well, a recent review of research suggested that yoga could actually help protect your body from cardiovascular disease, just like aerobic exercise does.

Additionally, the review found that yoga showed significant improvements in body weight, blood pressure, cholesterol levels and triglycerides.

Aerobic exercise is known for having cardiovascular benefits, and the review found no significant difference between yoga and exercise.

So, if you would rather find your zen than hit the treadmill, give it a go.

Not only does yoga offer great cardiovascular benefits, but it also offers countless other advantages. Here are five reasons to explore this practice and then implement it into your workout regimen:

1. Yoga Provides Discipline

Often, we think of the word “discipline” in a bad light, and associate it with some sort of punishment. Yoga gives the word “discipline” a whole new meaning.

Doing yoga naturally finds a way to make you committed to the practice, thus enabling this sort of daily discipline. You leave with a sense of invigoration and a will to improve upon the progress you made in practice.

Discipline in yoga isn’t so much something that you force upon yourself; rather, discipline is something that is cultivated with practice and a result of your commitment and intention. Yoga provides much clarity, and this clarity goes hand-in-hand with improved discipline.

2. Yoga Provides An Outlet To Relieve Daily Stress

Yoga teaches you to stop, live in the moment and be honest with yourself and your body. Once you start practicing yoga, stress doesn’t necessarily cease entering your life, but your perception of stress and drama definitely change.

You become much more conscious of how you react to things, and you begin to accept things for what they are. The calm that a yoga practice brings helps rid the chaos, frustration and exhaustion that commonly fills the mind. Ridding the body and mind of stress is something that will help you and spread to the people around you.

3. Yoga Enhances Circulation

The circulatory system is one of the most important parts of the body, as it is essential for keeping our hearts and blood vessels strong. Yoga is great for stretching muscles and getting your blood flowing, from all parts of the body.

In today’s society, we can succumb to sedentary tendencies. Yoga and deep breathing help enhance our circulation, and the more you stick with the practice, the longer you will be able to hold poses without tiring out (a sign that your circulation is improving!).

4. Yoga Heightens Intuition

Yoga is a mind, body and soul practice; all of these components must come together in this discipline. All parts and systems of the body activate and communicate with each other during each and every movement and pose.

When you start doing yoga regularly, your practice becomes less rigid and flows more with your body’s natural movement and intuition. We develop to use our intuition throughout the entire practice, both on and off the mat.

Yoga is a quiet practice and allows us to find answers from within. This enhances the development of internal intuition and helps us make decisions that unite our heart and minds.

In a world where we are constantly overwhelmed and drowned out by others' voices and opinions, heightened intuition can help us make decisions that are true to who we are.

5. Yoga Opens The Heart

Ahimsa, or compassion, is number one on the list of yamas, and encourages us to visualize and practice opening the heart.

Compassion is an energy that is sacred and allows us to feel senses of oneness with all; opening the heart fosters deep introspection and honesty. The discipline opens up receptivity to love and helps us practice heart opening in challenging and difficult situations.

We learn in yoga that it is not the exactness of technique, but rather the ability to open the heart and embrace this sacred energy that creates a meaningful yoga practice.

Do you practice yoga? Will you consider trying a yoga class after hearing about these benefits?