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9 Reasons Why You Should Practice Yoga

Here’s how routine stretching and breathing can enhance your life, from better sex to injury prevention.

1. Relieve stress.
We all find ways to deal with stress. But Terrence Monte, a managing teacher at Pure Yoga, says, “going to amped up gyms or punching a punching bag can make you more aggressive or more tired.” Yoga, on the other hand, employs a number of relaxation techniques, which, with regular practice, can make you calmer overall. Sadie Nardini, host of “Rock Your Yoga,” adds, “Along with training your body, yoga trains your mind to see the bigger picture and act from integrity instead of freaking out. If you want to be more James Bond than Charlie Sheen, get yourself on the mat.” Being forced to unplug from text, calls, and email for 60 to 90 minutes doesn't hurt either.

2. Get flexible.
Most series of yoga asanas (physical postures) include one or more spinal twists to loosen the many joints that make up your spine. This can improve your tennis game and golf swing, as well as promote detoxification and good digestion. Yogi Cameron Alborizan, Ayurvedic healer, yoga guru, and author of The One Plan, says, “Think of the body as a sponge filled with dirty sink water. Gentle twists help to wring the sponge out and purge toxins.”

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3. Sculpt muscles.
Yoga uses the weight of your own body to build mass and strength. Don’t believe it? Think about how many clunky free-weights it takes to bench press your bodyweight (150–200 lbs.)—yoga allows you to get the same muscle-building benefits by performing long, extended pushups, squats, and leg lifts. The results are well-worked muscle groups, which get stronger with each class.

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