The benefits of yoga—happier moods, less stress, long and lean muscles—speak for themselves. Maybe that’s why America has fallen in love
Between 2002 and 2012, the number of adults aged 18 to 44 doing yoga nearly doubled, according to a new National Health Statistics report. Even cooler, about 400,000 more kids are practicing yoga than in 2002. (Thanks to these cool Instagram photos, we know celebs go nuts for it too.)
It makes sense: The exercise, which combines deep, meditative breathing with slow, strengthening movements, is incredibly healthy for your mind and your body. There are the upfront benefits, sure, like improved flexibility and balance, better muscle tone, and a calmer mental state. (See Your Brain On: Yoga for more.) But it offers some less-obvious perks too. Certain poses benefit your immune system, ease PMS and cramps, boost things in the bedroom, and more. It can even help long-time chronic pain sufferers, like this woman.
Plus, it’s easy to adapt poses to any skill set, so you don’t already have to be crazy-flexible or super-fit before you try it out. Haven’t jumped on the bandwagon yet? Start strong and feel confident for your first class with these 12 Top Tips for Beginner Yogis. Our one caveat: it's addictive, so once you get going, you may not want to stop.