Exercise Spotlight: Yoga

Looking to try something out of your comfort zone in 2019?

Yoga is a fantastic physical activity to incorporate in our busy lives. It involves the practice of various poses or ‘asanas’. These vary greatly in difficulty and intensity, making yoga perfect for a broad range of physical abilities. Modern yoga is a blending of Western styles of gymnastics with postures from Hatha yoga in India in the 20th century.

It can seem a little daunting at first, isn’t yoga for flexible people? Won’t I have to contort my leg over my head?

Not at all! Yoga instructors undertake many hours of practice and training, to safely guide all abilities through the class poses. Usually there are low, moderate and high options to take. Yoga isn’t a competition, the only person you should be focusing on is yourself! Doing this will mean that each time you get a little closer to touching your toes will feel greatly rewarding. There will be poses that you find easy, and poses you find difficult, depending on your individual biomechanics and connective tissue properties.

Benefits of Yoga

Physical benefits of yoga include:
  • increased flexibility
  • increased muscle strength and endurance
  • improved respiration, energy and vitality
  • maintaining a balanced metabolism and weight control
  • cardio and circulatory health
  • improved athletic performance
  • protection from injury

Our physiotherapists often use forms of basic stretching similar to yoga poses for injury management.

For example:

cobra pose for lumbar extension

child’s pose for lumbar flexion, hip flexion and shoulder extension

reverse pidgeon for a piriformis stretch


The benefits of a regular yoga practice aren’t only physical, but mental. It can be very helpful in creating a relaxed, peaceful state of mind and lower cortisol levels. Therefore it makes a great option for those who are anxious or stressed, yoga feels like a moving meditation. The postures can take all of your attention and concentration, not leaving much room for wandering thoughts! It can also boost your sleep quality.

So, find a mat and your nearest yogi! There are also mobile app based programs and free youtube videos, making starting a yoga practice at home very easy. Be a little careful of these if you have any pre-existing injuries, where a teacher-led class is probably your best option.

Your Leap Health clinician can help you find a local practitioner or give you some basic yoga stretches to get started!