yoga teacher trainingBy Dr. Paul Jerard, E-RYT 500

Physical activity is one of the most important actions in which any person can take part.  There are many reasons to practice Yoga, but one would be to decrease the chance of an untimely death. That said, living a lifestyle that is mainly sedentary can have disastrous consequences. Whether this lifestyle is led by choice (being a notorious couch potato) or by necessity (logging long hours at a desk job), it is important to incorporate physical activity back into your life; and Hatha Yoga is the perfect way to do this.

A long term sedentary lifestyle causes damage to the body, by weakening muscles and decreasing flexibility. A radical upsurge of activity, however, can cause injury. Since Yoga posturing is a  low impact activity, it is a wise choice as a tool to gradually ease into an active lifestyle.

Your hip flexors have been caused a lot of trauma, due to all that sitting around, so it is important to stretch them daily to avoid lower back pain. The Warrior I pose, or Virabhadrasana, is a great hip flexor stretch. While performing this exercise, it is important you ensure your body is in proper alignment – with your heel perfectly in line with your knee, and your hips are aligned in a forward position.

The reclining hero pose, or Virasana, is also an excellent stretch for your hips, and can be practiced every day. Downward Dog is a great pose to promote healthy blood flow. Sun Salutations are also very beneficial because they increase the body’s activity greatly and speeds up the metabolism. To start with, go through each pose gradually and mindfully. Do not worry about making up for past mistakes.  Set your own pace to create a healthier lifestyle.

A lack of self-discipline may have been what created your sedentary lifestyle, but self-discipline is what is needed to end it. Make it a habit to practice Sun Salutations as soon as you wake up, for a healthy greeting to your day. It is crucial to carve out time for physical activity and do it – no matter what. If it’s hard for you to give up your TV, practice Yoga in front of it! Find little spaces of time to do poses, and slowly increase that amount each day, until your sedentary habits are replaced.

Turning a sedentary lifestyle around is crucial to your health and your future. Imagine how accomplished you will feel when you achieve this goal, and use that as your driving force. The self-discipline you gain, while practicing Yoga, can assist you in other aspects of life, as can the many other benefits of practicing Yoga.

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