Benefits of Practicing Yoga
Benefits of Yoga range from fitness, flexibility, firmness of both body and mind. Science has acknowledged almost all the benefits that we can enjoy from the practice of yoga, ranging from heart to overall health and balance. Yoga benefits also include awareness, clarity, focus, and an overall improvement in life quality.
When you come across yogis who wouldn’t stop talking about how yoga changed their lives, you might wonder if it’s worth the hype. Well, it is. The good news is anyone can do yoga regardless of age or size. And no…you do not have to be made of elastic fibers to begin like some might think. Most flexible poses you see done in yoga classes were learned and developed with constant practice.
Practicing yoga is less about trends or fancy poses and more about a real lifestyle shift and total wellbeing and spiritual awareness.
Here, we’ll be looking at 27 benefits of yoga, so read on to discover how incorporating yoga into your routine can turn out to be a life-changing and ultimately fulfilling experience. We also suggest reading the article on definition of meditation as a combination of both offer greater benefits both for the mind and the body.
INFOGRAPHIC - BENEFITS OF YOGA
1. Instant mood booster
Are you having a bad day? How about you turn on your feel-good button with some yoga therapy. Over time, yoga has proven to be a natural way to improve mood and happiness. Studies revealed that regular yoga practice helped serotonin imbalance by significantly increasing its levels while reducing monoamine oxidase. In his research, Richard Davidson discovered that yoga practitioners seemed to have more stimulation on their left prefrontal cortex. A well-conditioned prefrontal cortex increases feelings of happiness and positivity.
2. More flexibility
Being able to stretch a few more inches is one of the many benefits of yoga. Consistent practice helps you enjoy the benefits of yoga and loosens up the muscles and connective tissues allowing for more effortless and unrestricted movement.
Having a more flexible and supple body offers many physical benefits, including fewer aches, reduced muscle cramps, and the ability to withstand the strain of being in a particular position for a long time. Women can also enjoy the benefits of Yoga under proper guidance. But it doesn’t stop at a few inches. With courage and dedication, you might be the one with the jaw-dropping poses.
3. Improved muscular strength and posture
When you stand, sit or lie in unnatural positions, it puts a strain on the muscles and joints. This can lead to postural dysfunction. As you practice yoga, you can correct poor posture by learning to maintain the spine’s natural curves. The idea is for the skeletal structure to be perfectly aligned, which reduces tension on the postural muscles, among others, and optimizes functionality. Strong muscles help maintain balance as we age as well as prevent arthritis and back pain.
4. Benefits of Yoga for Stronger bones
There is strong evidence that yoga plays a vital role in maintaining healthy bone density and preventing fractures. Resistance and weight-bearing exercises are known to be best for bone strengthening. Many yoga postures require that you use your body weight to hold a pose against gravity. The extended triangle pose (Trikonasana) and the half-moon pose can help prevent osteoporosis – a bone-thinning condition that could lead to fractures.
The benefits of yoga for men are mostly applicable to women also. However it is always advisable to take guidance from qualified Yoga instructor.
5. Improves blood circulation
If you have low blood circulation, yoga can be a quick fix. A sufficient blood flow circulates oxygen to every part of your body, which boosts physical and mental performance. Being in a relaxed state promotes blood circulation, so it’s a no brainer that yoga- having quite a good number of relaxation exercises, gets your blood flowing. A twist pose will temporarily seize circulation to your internal organs, causing a rush of blood when you untwist. The catch is that these critical systems get adequately stimulated with fresh oxygenated blood. Inversions like the Headstand and Shoulderstand cause reverse blood flow from the lower body to the heart. The heart pumps oxygen-poor blood into the lungs, where the blood gets refreshed with a new supply of oxygen. Also, yoga replenishes the red blood cells by providing sufficient amounts of hemoglobin. In turn, this helps prevent blood clots, which, in turn, reduces the risks of strokes and heart attacks.
6. Protects the joints and spine
The movement and stretch that comes with yoga help keep the joint cartilage mobile and healthy. Immobilization may cause loss of cartilage. In that sense, engaging the joints in their full range of motion keeps your synovial fluid healthy. This helps prevent disorders, such as rheumatoid arthritis. Your spine needs as much attention and maintenance. Practicing yoga asana increases your range of motion, which awakens and energizes the spine.
There are many postures in yoga and each has a special function. A proper guide can tell you more about the various benefits of yoga.
7. Benefits of Yoga for Conscious Eating
For an increasing number of people, mealtime has become rushed affairs. Practicing yoga can help you pay more attention to your feelings while eating. Yoga can improve each bite’s taste and feel, your approach and response to different meals, savoring both your food and the eating experience. Being a conscious eater reflects your ability to appreciate the food you are about to eat-taking note of how the food was prepared, the different ingredients and flavors used, how eating it influences your mood and your reasons for having that particular meal.
8. It gets your heart rate up
Although yoga tends to be more about steady, low-intensity exercises, it can still be dynamic. When done with vigorous intensity, it ensures your heart rate increases steadily over a longer time frame. It results in a more healthy heart and a decreased risk of heart attack or heart disease. These heart-pumping exercises also improve cardiovascular health. Some studies show that yoga helps build a strong aerobic base, which means higher endurance levels and lower resting heart rate.
Scientific research has acknowledged the various health benefits of yoga both for men and women. Yoga can only change you for a better and healthy life.
9. Promotes lymphatic drainage
Exploring various yoga postures, flexing, and stretching muscles encourage a fluid called lymph’s natural drainage. Subsequently, it enables the lymphatic system to fight infections better while getting rid of toxins and bodily waste. Lymphatic drainage has proven beneficial to people with lymphedema and other conditions.
10. Prevents adrenal gland disorders
As a response to stress, the adrenal glands secrete the hormone cortisol. Which is your body’s way of reacting to a potentially life-threatening situation, as it comes with an immune boost. Usually, Cortisol levels stabilize once the situation returns to normal. But modern life makes it easy to remain in constant stress, and as a result, cortisol levels stay high longer than required, which can reduce the immune system’s effectiveness. Which again can cause rapid weight gain, high blood pressure, and mood swings.
Regular yoga practice helps you unleash the many benefits of yoga for the mind as it reduces cortisol levels by psychologically calming the body and putting you at ease.
11. Yoga Benefits in maintaining a healthy lifestyle
Following basic yogic principles will help promote a healthy lifestyle, which is one of the major benefits of yoga. Yoga motivates you to pay attention to your body’s needs. Continuous yoga practice engages your entire body while getting rid of calories. The spiritual and emotional elevation of yoga may be what you need to understand and deal with eating or weight disorders fully. The mindfulness that comes with yoga translates into making healthier choices when it comes to food consumption. One of the major benefits of yoga is effectively drawing away from non-nutritious meals and snacks. Maintaining a healthy diet is synonymous with low sugar and weight loss. When your blood sugar levels are down, your risk of having diabetic related issues go down with it.
12. Lowers your blood pressure
Investigative studies have shown positive effects of yoga on hypertensive patients. Researchers selected 10 people with first stage hypertension assigning five of them to take extended yoga classes 3 times weekly for at least 12 weeks. At the end of the exercise, those who participated saw an impressive drop in their average diastolic pressure, while those who did not take classes saw no changes.
Like diabetes, high blood pressure is the cause of many diseases. Apart from you heart a high BP can be harmful for your Kidneys as also other organs. The benefits of Yoga in controlling BP is well researched and documented.
13. Benefits of Yoga in Boosting Stamina
An interesting study showed that yoga practice is linked to enhanced fitness. A group of individuals with no prior yoga experience began practicing yoga at least twice a week for a maximum of eight weeks. The participants developed more resilience and endurance.
14. Keeps you focused
Do you find yourself steering off to wonderland every five minutes? Yoga practice is known to improve concentration and enhance brain power. People who do transcendental meditation have a more retentive memory due to their ability to be fully present in the moment. Read more on definition of meditation.
Our mind remains ever active even when we are doing nothing. It has a constant opinion about everything we see, listen to, touch, or remember. The benefits of yoga are best realized along with meditation as it helps in calming the mind and focusing on the present. Yoga not only helps improve performance in the workspace but also in any form of creative pursuit.
15. Better sleep
Practicing some yoga poses will help relieve stress and anxiety after a long day. Balasana, Yoga Nidra, and meditation are known for their calming effects. Regular practice will ensure a good night’s rest and better sleep.
16. Yoga Benefits in Regulating your Nervous System
Remain consistent in yoga training, and you may find yourself being able to control your body remarkably. Some yogis are known for their ability to influence their heart rhythms, increase their hand temperature, and produce specific brain activity using the mastery of different yoga techniques. The rhythmic breathing during meditation or pranayama is known for balancing the nervous system.
One of the top benefits of yoga is that it stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system or the calming side. The opposite is the sympathetic nervous system is usually responsible for high BP, stress, and anxiety.
17. Helps you grow awareness
One of the significant yoga fundamentals is building awareness. As you practice yoga, you begin to cultivate awareness and mindfulness. Which incidentally helps in controlling impulsive emotions and reactions, especially when you have anger issues. Having uncontrollable rage leaves you prone to heart attacks. Yoga helps to control anger by promoting compassion and empathy. It enables you to make better decisions by taking a moment to think things through. It also helps you progress and understand what is spiritual awareness.
18. Helps with digestive problems
Regular bowel movement and a healthy gut are among the many perks that come with constant yoga practice. Yoga’s breathing techniques increase the flow of oxygen and reduce anxiety allowing proper digestive tract movement. Some yoga twists circulate energy to your digestive organs, which helps with gastrointestinal issues. So the next time you have gas, a simple forward fold might be the solution.
Some yoga postures might seem difficult initially. With practice everything is possible. As such one should start yoga early to master various posses and enjoy the various benefits of yoga.
19. Wards off viruses and allergies
In yoga, cleansing practices include fast breathing exercises to aid in intestinal detox. Regular practice of Jala neti facilitates breathing by keeping your nasal passage clean and free of infections. Though there is no scientific evidence, many Yoga masters suggest this practice to stay safe during the current pandemic and protect the body from viruses like Covid 19.
20. Helps you see your worth
If you struggle with self-esteem issues, rather than go on a downward spiral, immerse yourself in yoga. Gradually, you’ll begin to feel better about yourself, gain more confidence, and feel comfortable in your own skin. When you believe that you are a divine manifestation according to yogic philosophy, you start to appreciate your existence and feel more in control.
It is a common belief that our life has a purpose as the saying goes, everything has a reason. Often we spend too much time analyzing the past and events which does not allow us to enjoy the present to its full extent. One of the benefits of yoga is help you to let go and improve our focus on the present and overall awareness.
21. Benefits of Yoga in Developing a Strong Will Power
The phrase ‘old habits die hard’ may be on its way to becoming another cliché expression. Self-discipline developed from regular yoga practice can give us the inner strength we need to resist temptations and make better life choices. Which consequently results in positive changes in our lives.
22. Gives your lungs more space to breathe
The practice of taking slower and deeper breaths is beneficial to those with lung problems. It strengthens the respiratory muscles and offers a significant decrease in sympathetic reactivity. And in the long run, it reduces stress and anxiety, thereby improving lung function.
Deep breathing is also a major practice in meditation. Focusing on our breathing helps us to keep away from distracting thoughts. Some people develop a practice of counting breath which each inhale and exhale which helps in quietening the mind. The true benefits of yoga require consistent practice and commitment to a schedule.
23. Yoga Benefits in Strengthening your immunity
In our everyday life, we are prone to different viruses and infections. Yoga helps the immune system build a more robust defense against infections. By doing asanas and pranayama breathing, we help our systems’ blood circulation process, strengthening our immunity.
24. Inner calm and peace
Yoga promotes peace in your mind and soul. Meditation exercises quiet down those constant voices in your head, keeping negative thoughts at a distance. The relaxation response helps you relax, be in the moment, and slow down your breathing. Being in a relaxed state loosens body and mental tension, reduces blood pressure, and promotes sufficient blood circulation to the reproductive system.
The benefits of yoga for men and women has been studied for ages. The recent scientific researches not only attest such observations but also found a few more. In summary, yoga keeps you going.
25. Service to others
Can you think back to a time you willingly gave up your seat to an older person or offered help to someone who needed it without expecting anything in return…and how that made you feel? Most people have admitted that they experienced a feeling of contentment and happiness. Karma yoga encourages selfless service to others, which could also be a form of self-care. At the University of Michigan, a study found that older people who engage in voluntary work tend to live longer than their counterparts. Selfless service to others can give you a sense of purpose. You are less likely to get caught up in your problems, seeing what other people are going through.
26.Relieves pain naturally
Continuous yoga practice may affect how you respond to pain, physically and emotionally. A combination of asana and meditation can help manage chronic pain, thus improving mobility and encouraging a positive outlook.
In a study among 313 people with chronic low back pain, a weekly yoga class increased mobility more than standard medical care for the condition. Yoga postures can be modified to accommodate your strength and experience, as well as any health conditions. As such it is always advisable to take guidance form a qualified yoga instructor to enjoy the various benefits of yoga.
27. Yoga Benefits by Reducing Your Drug Intake
No one wants to rummage over a drug-filled cabinet frequently, which is where yoga comes in handy. People experiencing OCD, asthma, hypertension, and type II diabetes were studied to see how yoga affected their health. Well, you guessed right. Starting a yogic lifestyle found them taking fewer trips to the pharmacy, improving their overall quality of life.
Concluding thoughts on Benefits of Yoga
If we list all the benefits of Yoga this article will run into thousand and more pages. Listed here are the major Yoga benefits which are also science-supported and practiced widely.
It is helpful that you identify your goals in yoga practice. Maybe you are looking to build healthier relationships, stay fit, or unwind. Yoga offers incredible benefits that can improve virtually every aspect of your life. With so many styles and variations of yoga, trying out different classes and trainers will help decide which best suits your needs as you go through different life stages.
DISCLAIMER: Medical conditions cannot be treated, cured, or diagnosed by the practice of meditation, yoga, exercises, or using apps. These things at best can be complementary to a health care plan monitored by a qualified health professional.