Yoga benefits are tenfold. It continues to amaze me how much the practice of yoga has transformed my body and mind for the better. I feel more energized, more balanced, more clear, and more content in all areas of my life. Most of all, though, I feel more connected to who I am… what I want in my life… and what is important to me. Yoga is my physical and mental therapy. All of my healing and all of my peace has come from my consistent yoga practice.
According to the International Journal of Preventative Medicine, “Yoga is an ancient discipline designed to bring balance and health to the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual dimensions of the individual. Patanjali is the Indian man behind systemized yoga who defined its purpose as finding the knowledge of the true “Self”. The history and benefits of yoga are vast and date back thousands of years. Fast forward to today and we see the influence of India’s culture in the yoga practices that have grown into our everyday lives because we know the benefits are generous.
Stress, Depression, and Anxiety Reduction – Yoga is great for reducing the stress and anxiety that is ever-increasing in the “modern”, busy world. It’s a great holistic way to bring a calm into your life without the negative side effects some other anti-stress/anxiety methods can bring. And, with stress reduction, comes a more fluid mental state, greater emotional well-being, heightened consciousness, greater self-confidence, improved sleep, increased energy and many more benefits that follow when the mind and body are relieved of stress.
Hypertension Reduction [ Controls Blood Pressure] – Researchers are convinced that just an hour of yoga practice each day can equate to one hour of blood pressure controlling medical therapy.
Boosted Immune System – Stress causes our immune system to drop because it compromises the central nervous system. When the nervous system is compromised in an unnatural way for long periods of time, it creates imbalance in the immune system, and eventually can lead to all types of diseases. Because one of the biggest benefits of yoga is stress reduction, our immune system can strengthen and tackle bacteria and viruses before they attack us.
Increase in flexibility – Overtime, our bodies loose flexibility, the ability to lengthen and stretch and release tension. Yoga helps us to enhance and regain flexibility by strengthening and stretching the connective tissues that support our muscles and stabilize our joints. This leads to a feeling of suppleness, relaxation and youthfulness. In yoga we like to say, “You are only as old as the flexibility of your spine!” Yoga literally helps us look and feel younger because of the way it maintains flexibility.
Increased Muscle Tone – Yoga uses gravity and resistance to strengthen our muscles. Yoga poses require us to support our body weight which in turn builds muscle. The beautiful thing about yoga muscle conditioning is that we are not just working individual muscles, but rather the whole body works together to support the poses. In this way you are toning not just your exterior muscles, but your interior muscles, the fibers, the ligaments, the tendons, etc… This leads to an overall balanced, aligned, supportive body structure.
Weight Loss – With the extra rush of energy you’ll receive from regular yoga practice, you’ll be sure to burn more calories in a day. Also, increased muscle tone also helps burn more calories, even when you are resting. And then, of course, there is also a good chance you’ll make wiser eating decisions with a more fluid, conscious mind.
Metabolism and Digestive Balance – Yoga will help your metabolism and digestive system function at optimal levels. Changing food into energy your body can use is the definition of metabolism. Many of the organs your body uses to digest properly are located in the abdominal region and yoga is a great workout for this core area creating healthy organs, stimulating healthy digestion, and a healthy metabolism.
Easing chronic pain – We all have different areas of chronic physical pain we feel. Back pain, abdominal pain, headaches, pain related to cancer or other disease, etc… Through a specific yoga regimen, these areas can be targeted to reduce, if not eliminate pain. Stress is a major factor in making chronic pain worse. When we are stressed, our pain tolerance is lower than normal. Mindfulness techniques and breath work can also help relieve chronic pains by softening stress.
Beating fatigue – Think you’re too tired to squeeze yoga into your day? Think again. Even after just one week of practicing yoga, you’ll start to realize that you have more energy to conquer your day and increase your mental alertness. You’ll also start to realize that you have more than enough time to add in the value of feeling good consistently!