I won’t be an exception to consider Yoga exercises one of the healthiest, effective and beneficial physical activities you can engage in. However, there is a controversy about practicing yoga, and I have met myself few people who claimed that doing yoga damaged their bodies in some way. I do agree that advanced yoga poses are very challenging , require lots of strength, flexibility ,balance from the practitioner, and therefore can cause an injury. But same is with all advanced sports.
None knows your body better than you. My advice is to progress with care, always listening to yourself. If you are just a beginner, it is very important to find a great teacher, attentive, challenging, trustworthy. Good experienced teacher can evaluate your physical abilities and predict the pace of your advancement. He or she will ask the student before the class of any injuries or health problems that may interfere with certain movements. Good teacher will alter poses for your specific needs and abilities. Good teacher will pay close attention to breathing exercises and teach the student how to synchronize your physical movements with your breathing. Most importantly , he or she will carve for you and guide you through your own unique way of leaning yoga.
Benefits are enormous. I am practicing yoga for 5 years and based on my experience I can gladly verify some of the best yoga gains for myself. Yoga helped me tremendously with improving my posture. As an office worker I spent most of my day in front of the computer ,that caused my posture to became slouchy . Actually, this particular problem was my major decision point before engaging into practicing yoga. Yoga boosted my flexibility , improved my muscles strength , enhanced overall balance of my body movements ( which is important for me since I am taking ballet and ballroom dance lessons) ,helped with getting higher energy level and overall well being. Yoga helps me also to control body weight. From my experience yoga won’t make you shed extra pounds. For that you will need to add some cardio exercises into your routine. But practicing yoga will tone your body for sure and will keep your appetite in check.
Get into yoga practice and in your best physical shape ever!