Yoga is a combination of breathing techniques and varied stretches and poses. The physical, mental, and spiritual nature of the practice renders it as powerful as exercise.
And, the gentle nature of yoga means that anyone can practice it despite your level of fitness and age. As a form of workout, yoga offers both physical and health benefits.
The history of yoga dates back more than 5,000 years ago. The practice unites both the body and mind for its range of benefits. Although yoga vary in style or type, they all balance the mind, body, and spirit in different ways.
Whereas some styles of yoga are vigorous and intense, others more meditative and relaxing. Whichever style you choose, you’re bound to focus your mind, stretch and strengthen your body muscles, and relax your spirit.
On 21st June, the International Yoga Day is celebrated worldwide. The annual event promotes awareness on the various benefits of yoga. So, if you’re yet to start doing yoga, here’re a few reasons to practice it regularly:
13 Benefits of Practicing Yoga for the Mind and Body
1. Enhances body posture
You can practice yoga asana poses to improve your body posture. Additionally, the asanas can also prevent lower back and neck pain. The poses include the mountain pose, the tree pose, and the cat cow pose.
2. Improves blood circulation for better body function
Yoga allows more oxygen to flow throughout your body, enhancing blood flow. In turn, this enhances your body’s functioning. Certain poses promote blood flow from your legs and pelvis area to your heart. The blood is then pumped to your lungs for oxygenation.
This also increases red blood cells and levels of hemoglobin in your blood; the former supports oxygen transportation to various body organs and tissues. Some popular yoga poses for improved blood flow include handstand and headstand.
3. Promotes weight loss
Practice yoga regularly for enhanced body awareness, including your specific bodily needs. With information about your body and its needs, you can control the amount of food you consume, and thus your body weight. Some good yoga poses to achieve weight loss include Kapal Bhati pranayama and Sun Salutation.
4. Improves stamina and builds muscles
Yoga stretches, strengthens, and builds body muscles. This prevents back pain and arthritis, including other bone or joint conditions. It can also boost your stamina and flexibility, factors that aid participation in athletics or sports.
5. Boosts anxiety, stress and depression management
Stress can easily hamper your mind and body, hence the need for yoga. It can help you to develop effective skills for coping with stress, depression, and anxiety.
Practice yoga regularly to develop a positive outlook on life and enhance your general mental wellbeing. Other benefits of yoga on your mental health include:
- Improved calmness
- Better mental clarity
- Sharper focus or concentration
- Increased body awareness
6. Improves sleep quality and prevents insomnia
You can also relax your nervous system through regular yoga. As a result, you’ll experience better sleep quality because yoga fights stress and fatigue. Restorative yoga such as pranayama, savasana, and meditation yoga can help you get better sleep each night.
7. Improves your body immunity
If you practice yoga daily, you can better fight viruses and bacteria. The practice enhances the functioning of your body, in turn boosting your immune system. A strong immunity is better equipped to fight and destroy foreign bodies such as viruses, diseases and bacteria that enter the body through food or cuts on the skin.
8. Boosts mindfulness and relationships
Promote inner peace and develop better mind clarity through yoga. It relaxes the mind, eliminating disturbing thoughts to help you better handle sensitive relations.
You won’t just improve your relationships with friends or loved ones, but also with self. When combined with meditation, expect to enjoy calmness and mind peace in abundance.
9. Boosts your self-awareness, esteem and confidence
Explore yourself through various yoga styles. With regular practice, you experience enhanced happiness about yourself and life. In turn you’ll enhance self-esteem and confidence, allowing you to approach life positively and appreciate what it has to offer.
10. Strengthens the heart and reduces high blood pressure levels
Bad cholesterol, high blood pressure, and stress are risk factors for chronic health conditions such as heart disease, stroke, etc. When you indulge in yoga daily, you’ll benefit from reduced bad cholesterol, high blood pressure, and stress hormones. Some good yoga poses for better heart health include the corpse or savasana poses.
11. Supports the functioning of your lungs
Breathing exercises in yoga support your lungs in function. Take deep breathes to improve your lungs’ breathing capacity. As a result, you’ll reduce your risk of developing respiratory problems.
12. Better control of your thoughts and emotions
Build self-awareness and control your emotions through meditative yoga. You can fight anger through enhanced interconnection and compassion.
The practice can relax your mind and the nervous system, relieving you of negative thoughts. You also get the opportunity to relax in quietness and calmness to reflect about your life.
13. Where to Find Yoga Sessions/Instructions
You can find a suitable yoga class online or in a local yoga studio near you. If you’re not sure where to start, begin your search online for a studio-based yoga class or one you can follow online from the comfort of your home.
Whichever is the case, the need to wear the right clothing for yoga goes without saying. Invest in the right yoga wear and equipment to prepare for your classes. For example, you can buy women’s tights and sports bras if you’re a woman.
Yoga is beneficial for both the mind and the physical body. Whether you’re new to the practice and despite your age, you can enjoy the many health benefits of yoga. Ranging from weight loss to keeping in shape and fighting stress, the list of yoga benefits is long. What’s more, you can practice it almost anywhere.