Busy people use it to manage stress in their hectic lives. Pregnant women use it to prepare for the birth of their children. Elite athletes use it to focus themselves toward a high level of performance and to recover from injuries. You can use it, too.
When you study yoga you will find that it works on several levels. As a beginner, you will experience the practice of hatha yoga as a form of physical exercise that challenges and refines your flexibility, strength and balance. When you go through this stage, you and your teacher will develop a personalized approach to each yoga posture.
To do this, the Iyengar approach to hatha yoga makes frequent use of different kinds of props. These are objects like blocks, chairs, blankets and belts that help you adjust yourself to the different postures so that you can work in a range of motion that is safe and effective for you. Learning how to do this will increase your body awareness.
Often in conventional forms of exercise people hold their breath while exerting themselves. In hatha yoga, you will learn to control your breathing in a relaxed and modulated way in order to provide focus in the different postures. Learning to do this properly is the gateway to many of the mental and spiritual benefits of yoga.
As you progress with hatha yoga, you will gain greater flexibility in your body and mind. Like any form of exercise, hatha yoga helps develop physical strength. Yoga adds another dimension to this with a matching development in emotional strength that will help you handle the challenges of life with a balanced disposition.
From there you can continue to grow with your yoga practice. And you will find that there are plenty of resources to help you along the way. In contrast to conventional sports and physical training programs, yoga has been developed over thousands of years as a way of teaching people how to improve their lives.