When you scroll through Instagram, it seems like everyone you know is nailing single-arm balances and handstands (in front of a mountain or on a picturesque beach, no less).
But for those of us who aren’t hard-core about the practice, simply holding Downward-Facing Dog can be challenging.
The good news: You don’t have to be the most flexible person in the room to reap the benefits of practicing yoga. Still, you may wonder what good the occasional class is doing for your body and mind.
Well, let out an om: You don’t need to hit the yoga studio every day (or at all) to see physical and mental change.
First things first: “We know from exercise that the more you do, generally the more benefits you get,” says William J. Broad, a science journalist and the author of “The Science of Yoga.”
“Yoga is no different. Practicing once a week is good. Practicing three to four times per week would be better,” he said.
But just as with yoga pants, one size doesn’t fit all. Loren Fishman, MD, a back pain specialist who studied yoga and uses it in his rehabilitative practice, believes that even 1 minute spent in practice can be enough to reset someone’s outlook: “One minute in meditation can have a frustrated, angry, terrible-feeling person feeling resourceful, kind, and fun,” he says. While this way of thinking probably won’t lead to Cirque du Soleil-level moves, that doesn’t mean you won’t see — or feel — results.
A 1-hour yoga class won’t tout the same calorie-blasting effects as an hour of cardio. But it will increase your blood flow, get your oxygen moving, and, get any stuck parts of your body ‘unstuck’. If you commit to a weekly practice, depending on the class you take, your flexibility will improve over time, leading to fewer injuries, and you will experience toning in all of your muscles, not to mention a stronger core, which leads to less back pain.