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There are many health and wellbeing benefits of adopting a regular yoga practice, including: reduced stress and cortisol levels, increased strength, flexibility and balance, weight loss, better sleep and mindfulness are all just a start to a long and growing list.
Maybe you already practice some form of yoga, or have only watched a yoga class through the studio window at your gym while you ran on the treadmill or swung the kettlebell. Starting or adding an at-home yoga practice to your routine is a great idea and gentle or restorative yoga is a great option because you don’t need any additional equipment besides a yoga mat.
Here are 3 key benefits of practicing gentle yoga at home.
Gentle yoga is a great yoga for beginners. In gentle yoga, you move your body in a gentle, comfortable way; it encourages movement without the potential for strain. Poses are generally held for over 5 minutes each, and you utilize pillows and cushions for comfort.
Gentle yoga focuses on alignment and breathing techniques of the common, foundational yoga poses giving beginners ample opportunity to learn practice the basic principles. Gentle yoga teachers will share pose modifications so that everyone, at every fitness and comfort level, can participate.
When starting an at home yoga practice as a beginner, look for online yoga video services with a large library of gentle yoga videos so you can be confident you will find one or more teachers you like and you won’t get bored as your yoga practice progress. And you want a service which allows you to interact directly with the yoga experts. You will have questions and may need advice on modifications where you will need expert advice.
Gentle yoga is a perfect complement your current higher intensity fitness routine. Maybe you are an avid CrossFitter, weightlifter, runner or swimmer or perhaps your prefer Tabata, Latin Dance or other HIIT group classes? On your rest days, you may want to add a practice of gentle yoga at home in order to stay active without the intensity.
It is important to listen to your body and allow it some rest between more active workouts. In gentle yoga there isn’t any frustration of not being able to achieve a certain pose or any agitation in struggling to hold a pose. Gentle yoga for athletes is important because it is just that -- gentle. It will help strengthen and stretch the muscles that are in need some love and encourage your body to relax and rejuvenate before your next workout.
A gentle yoga practice at home encourages mindfulness. Unlike higher intensity vinyasa flow yoga videos or classes, sometimes students even fall asleep during the class! Because you are comfortably holding non-strenuous poses for many minutes, focusing on relaxing into the stretch, there is the time to just “be”.
Gentle yoga at home also eliminates distractions common in group classes like comparing yourself to others and then pushing yourself too hard. Instead this can be a time to just be aware of your body and your breathing as you move into and comfortably hold each yoga pose.