Originating in India thousands of years ago, yoga has become an increasingly popular form of exercise and stress reduction. The word yoga means to yoke or unite, which refers to the practice of using the mind and body together to achieve balance, flexibility and strength. There are different types of yoga to suit every need, from vigorous to relaxing and everything in between. Here are ACE's top 10 reasons to give yoga a try.

ACE'S TOP 10 REASONS TO TRY YOGA.

  1. INCREASED FLEXIBILITY AND REDUCED RISK OF INJURY

    Each yoga pose targets specific muscles while also keeping them warm and limber, thereby increasing flexibility and reducing the risk of injury.

  2. FOCUSED BREATHING AND CONCENTRATION

    A primary component of yoga is the rhythmic breathing. Taking full, complete breaths makes it easier to relax and center the mind and is believed to have other therapeutic effects.

  3. THE MIND-BODY CONNECTION

    Rather than mindlessly going through the motions, yoga requires you to focus all of your energies on performing each movement precisely. This benefits both the mind and body.

  4. GREATER STRENGTH AND STAMINA

    More vigorous forms of yoga, such as vinyasa and ashtanga, promote strength and stamina as well as flexibility and relaxation.

  5. FEWER MUSCLE IMBALANCES

    Those who are new to yoga may notice muscle and flexibility imbalances throughout the body. Yoga poses are designed to help correct these imbalances over time.

  6. BETTER BALANCE AND STABILITY

    Balancing poses require you to engage the core stabilizer muscles, which can help improve overall stability.

  7. IMPROVED POSTURE

    Yoga poses strengthens and opens tight areas such as the shoulders and muscles of the upper back, which is necessary for good posture.

  8. GREATER BODY AWARENESS

    Yoga requires you to contract and/or relax specific muscles as you stretch into each pose, thereby increasing awareness of the body's strengths and weaknesses.

  9. STRESS REDUCTION

    Yoga helps soothe the mind and lower stress levels by focusing the mind on the moment and the movements rather than on the external distractions.

  10. CROSS-TRAINING BENEFITS

    Yoga combines flexibility, strength training and balance to create a mind-body activity that is a perfect addition to any fitness regimen.