The Benefits of Yoga

By Aisha Powell

What if yoga could make you stress-free? What if yoga could help you lose weight? What if yoga could prevent a heart attack? Turns out that it does, and for African Americans, doing yoga could be the difference of avoiding the most prevalent diseases in our community.

Getty Images/Granger Wootz

Yoga has a very spiritual and deep-rooted definition within the Hindu religion, but yoga has superseded its religious origins and has become a world-wide phenomenon of deep stretching and relaxation¹.  Yoga encompasses bringing health to all aspects of your life; physical, mental, spiritual and social, by different movements, stands, breathing, stretches and poses that are said to bring a different awareness to your body and soul. Yoga is practiced all over the world and yoga classes are of abundance. The term” Yogi” defines someone who regularly practices the custom, but you do not have to become an expert at Yoga to get the benefits.

Yoga accolades go on and on, but for blacks, yoga could be the cure to some of our deadly ailments. African Americans tend to be effected at a higher ration, to cardiovascular health related illness like high blood pressure, high cholesterol, stroke and heart disease. Blacks also have higher levels of anxiety and stress due to the societal influences that have been cast on them. These diseases are heavily influenced by cultural meals, genetics and our environment, but with simple changes can be overcome. Yoga, however is a trifecta cure. Yoga helps cardio and circulatory health by regulating blood flow and being a form of exercise. Yoga is one of the best ways to relax your mind and body from daily stresses and yoga increases one’s physicality in a day, increasing muscle mass and therefore decreasing fat on a body. The best thing about yoga is it is completely free and doesn’t require much to implement in your day.

Getty Images/Granger Wootz

Yoga has the misconception of being the “white” thing to do, but it’s benefits do not abide by any race lines that could be drawn. Black women (and men) should practice yoga and reap the blessings it brings. To get started on yoga or to learn more about it, there are a plethora of free websites, videos and pictures on the internet; you do not need to be enrolled in a class to start or consult an expert. However, you should consult your physician before starting any type of exercise program/regimen. It is time to get stretching!

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