Hey there fellow wellness junkie! If you are thinking of taking up yoga or are already an avid fan of the downward facing dog and tree pose, you might be interested to know that the health benefits of yoga are extensive, not to mention the inner peace and harmony it can bring. Take a look at these top benefits of yoga, so you know what to say to your friends next time they tell you to go to the gym instead.
Benefits of yoga at a glance
- Better flexibility
- Improved muscle strength and tone
- Better respiration
- More energy and vitality
- A more balanced metabolism
- Weight control
- Protection and recovery from injury
- Helps with back pain and other pain relief
- Better sleep
- Stress relief
Performing yoga on a regular basis will naturally improve your flexibility, loosening areas of tightness by the repetition of movements and stretching. In a relatively short time, you can notice improvements in your hamstrings, back, hips and shoulders. As we naturally become less flexible with age, which can cause pain and immobility, doing yoga can help to keep us feeling younger too.
Strength and Muscle Tone
Yoga is not just about stretching your muscles, it is also about strengthening them, which comes from supporting your body weight (and that of others in acro-yoga or couple’s yoga) in novel ways. For example, holding a pose, especially a balancing pose like the Tree or the Plank, over the course of a few breaths can help to build strength in your arms and legs.
Breathing More Deeply
The breath is at the very heart of good yoga practice. You might be able to do the asanas (poses) and put your legs into all sorts of cool positions, but if these poses are not accompanied by mindful breathing, the true benefit of your practice is lost. The correct way to move into a pose is to coordinate your breath with the action, and most teachers will recommend using an audible “Ujjayi” breath, which is also known as “ocean breath” because of its sound. Therefore, one of the benefits of yoga is to increase our lung capacity and draw attention to our shallow breathing.
Increased Energy and Vitality
Most people who make yoga part of their lifestyle claim that yoga helps to increase their energy and vitality. Breathing more deeply could have a lot to do with this as the cells in the body become more oxygenated with each deep breath. Some claim that yoga helps to align the energies centers in our bodies, known as chakras, which will also increase your energy and vitality.
A more balanced metabolism
Balancing your metabolism is among the benefits of yoga. As well as strengthening and stretching muscles and ligaments, asanas also target the glands and organs in the body which can have a positive effect on regulating our metabolism.
A regular, intense yoga routine can help you to lose weight, especially if you combine exercise with a healthy diet. The more muscle you have, the more calories you burn, not to mention the benefits of raising your metabolism during the yoga session.
Protection and Recovery from Injury
More so than high impact exercise routines, yoga can be a good way to help recover from injuries or to aid recuperation after an illness. Depending on the kind of yoga you perform, such as yin yoga or restorative yoga, which uses props, yoga can be used as part of a recovery program for injuries. Likewise, another of the benefits of yoga is that building muscle tone and regular stretching can help to prevent strains and reduce the probability of injury from other activities.
Helps with Back Pain and Other Pain Relief
Many of the poses in yoga help to strengthen the back and address issues such as spinal compression and tightness, which are common complaints for people who spend a lot of time sitting at a computer or driving. You will also find that one of the benefits of yoga is that it helps to improve our posture and the general alignment of our spine which can help alleviate other kinds of pain too.
Most kinds of exercise routines promote improved sleep patterns (unless you work out just before bedtime!), however, because of the calming nature of yoga, it is recommended for people who have difficulty sleeping. Yoga helps you to become more aware of your body and breath, learning how to identify each muscle and areas of tension in order to consciously relax them. These techniques become very useful when trying to relax and get off to sleep.
Stress Relief and Mental Calmness
Concentrating on each asana and using the breath to guide your movements in yoga helps to bring mental calmness, just like a moving meditation. During your yoga session, it becomes easier to forget your troubles and give your mind and body a “reset” to face the world again in a more calm and stress free manner.
These are just some of the more obvious benefits of yoga. Leave you comments below and share what benefits yoga has brought to your life.