Did you know that yoga can improve muscle tone and flexibility? As well as help manage chronic disease symptoms for people with asthma, multiple sclerosis, and arthritis?
For thousands of years yogis have been touting yoga's mental and physical powers. Luckily, you don't have to be an expert to reap the benefits — adding just a few poses to your daily routine can help your health in all kinds of unexpected ways.
Yoga is a process. It’s active. It’s the way you engage with the world to create harmony. Yoga is how we participate and create relationships. Yoga is essentially a spiritual discipline based on an extremely subtle science, which focuses on bringing harmony between mind and body.
In addition, it’s a relaxing form of exercise that was developed in India about 5,000 years ago and involves holding postures that stretch the limbs and muscles, doing breathing exercises, and using meditation techniques to calm the mind. Yoga appears to have benefits for increasing physical flexibility and reducing internal feelings of stress. Yoga is recommended as an alternative or complementary health-promoting practice.
“Yoga does not just change the way we see things, it transforms the person who sees.”
Benefits of Yoga
The reason so many people are falling in love with yoga is because they are discovering how wonderful it is for your mind, body and spirit. But in case you’re not yet convinced, we’ve come up with our top ten reasons why yoga is incredible.
1. Improves your flexibility. Improves your flexibility. During your first class, you probably won't be able to touch your toes, never mind do a backbend. But if you stick with it, you'll notice a gradual loosening, and eventually, seemingly impossible poses will become possible. You'll also probably notice that aches and pains start to disappear. Tight hips can strain the knee joint due to improper alignment of the thigh and shin bones. Tight hamstrings can lead to a flattening of the lumbar spine, which can cause back pain. And inflexibility in muscles and connective tissue, such as fascia and ligaments, can cause poor posture.
2. Yoga boosts your immune system. Any form of movement is great for keeping the immune system healthy. With yoga’s twisting, inverting, back bending, and calming, the body is able to spend more time within the parasympathetic nervous system (rest and digest) and less with the sympathetic nervous system (the fight or flight system, which causes stress and inflammation and dramatically lowers the immune system).
3. Builds muscle strength. Strong muscles do more than look good. They also protect us from conditions like arthritis and back pain, and help prevent falls in elderly people. And when you build strength through yoga, you balance it with flexibility. If you just went to the gym and lifted weights, you might build strength at the expense of flexibility.
4. Perfects your posture. Daily yoga helps improve your posture, making you walk taller and sit up straighter at your desk. Aches and pains caused by incorrect body posture such as back pain can also be alleviated.
5. Yoga lowers blood pressure. Having high blood pressure is a serious medical condition, which is associated with increased risk of both heart attacks and strokes. As well as reducing stress, which can be a contributing factor to high blood pressure, several aspects of yoga practice are thought to directly improve blood pressure. The relaxation and deep breathing of yoga can reduce high blood pressure even after the practice is finished. Certain postures such as Supported Bridge Pose, Legs Up The Wall Pose and of course Savasana or Corpse Pose are particularly beneficial for those with high blood pressure.
6. Yoga helps with back pain relief. Yoga is as good as basic stretching for easing pain and improving mobility in people with lower back pain. Physicians recommend yoga as a first-line treatment for chronic low back pain.
“When you listen to yourself, everything comes naturally. It comes from inside, like a kind of will to do something. Try to be sensitive. That is yoga.”
7. Weight loss. You don't have to practice Hot Yoga or be able to bend double in a yoga pose to lose weight. An everyday gentle yoga practice will fuel the metabolic system and will help burn fat, leading to weight loss. Daily yoga can also help restore the hormonal balance in your body, which can normalise your body weight.
8. Increase your energy. Another benefit of yoga is that much-needed energy boost in our busy lives that it provides to help keep us fresh for longer. Yoga, with its unique synergy of body and breath work, is perfect when your reserves are running low. Daily yoga practice will awaken the main energy centres (called chakras) in your body. Great poses for extra energy are those that extend the spine, such as the tree pose, allowing energy to circulate throughout the whole body, and poses that open the chest, like the cobra pose, encouraging the intake of more breath.
9. Reduce stress. Many workplaces now offer lunch-time yoga sessions because it's been shown that yoga is an amazing stress buster. Any yoga practice, even a short daily one, should be made up of three elements; poses, breathing and meditation. Studies have shown that those people who regularly practice all three elements are better able to regulate their heart-rate variability (HRV). This generally means that their heart rate is lower, giving the body the ability to respond to stress in a more flexible way.
10. Improve concentration. Yoga poses and meditation require you to concentrate on your breathing. This process of observing your breath calms your mind and makes you more mentally relaxed. As a result of this mental stability, you'll be able to recollect and retain more information. Meditating for just a few minutes in the morning can result in better concentration throughout the day.
11. Sleep better. Studies have shown that practicing daily yoga can reduce insomnia. When experiencing insomnia, practice relaxing asanas or postures, such as forward fold (uttanasana) or lying on your back with your feet up the wall.
12. Fosters Mental Calmness. Yoga practice is physical. Concentrating so intently on what your body is doing has the effect of bringing calmness to your mind. Yoga also introduces you to meditation techniques, such as how to focus on your breath and disengage from your thoughts.
13. Yoga makes you happy. A recent study has shown that practicing regular yoga and meditation results in higher serotonin levels (the happiness hormone). The same study showed that long-term yoga practitioners have more mass in the areas of the brain associated with contentment.
“Meditation brings wisdom; lack of meditation leaves ignorance. Know well what leads you forward and what holds you back, and choose the path that leads to wisdom.”
Multiple studies have confirmed the many mental and physical benefits of yoga. Incorporating it into your routine can help enhance your health, increase strength and flexibility and reduce symptoms of stress, depression and anxiety. Finding the time to practice yoga just a few times per week may be enough to make a noticeable difference when it comes to your health.
Get yourself out there and experience for yourself the incredible benefits of yoga practice!
P.S- You Can Combine Yoga Equipment, Meditation Music or Meditation Tools to boost and to gain more from your Yoga and meditation practice.