The practice of yoga originated in India, some 5,000 years ago – the word itself coming from the Sanskrit root ‘Yuj’ which stands for ‘to join, to unite or to harness’. Doing yoga regularly reduces the painful symptoms of several medical conditions like high blood pressure and heart diseases as well as improving posture and breathing.

The most popular reasons for starting yoga are increasing flexibility and stress relief. A Harvard study found that members of a kundalini yoga program showed better sleep patterns, more resilience and less stress and anxiety than those who did not participate. In addition to this, other recent studies have shown that individuals who practice yoga score higher on brain fitness tests (verbal and visual memory, executive function, connectivity of the brain) than those who do not. These studies have also proved that yoga is more effective than aerobic workouts (like running) for improving focus and processing ability.

Whilst yoga is not only good for the body and the mind, it is also good for the economy. Although not one of the primary reasons that yoga exists, the worldwide yoga industry is worth almost £60 million! According to the International Yoga Federation, there are 300 million practicing yoga students globally.

Despite often being seen as just an exercise, yoga is extraordinarily multi-faceted and good for all age groups. It is often used in accompaniment of medical treatments due to its unique positive effects. There is really no excuse for not practicing yoga especially since the rise of technology has led to an ever-increasing number of YouTube yoga teachers (although it really is better to do face-to-face). Have a search for a class in your area - I promise you will reap the rewards!