Health Benefits of Yoga:
You know that exercise is good for you. You’ve probably heard it a thousand times on television, and maybe your doctor’s told you to get more exercise too. There are few fitness programs that offer a broad scope of health benefits. So what are the health benefits of yoga?
Running, for example, strengthens your cardiovascular system and strength training builds muscle. Yoga is one of the few fitness programs that can accomplish both and much more.
For thousands of years Yoga has been practiced in India, today it is popular all over the world and in various styles and forms. Not only is the popularity of this form of exercises remarkable.
So is the results and benefits that people are getting from Yoga every day. The benefits can be broadly split into three different groups – physical benefits, mental benefits and spiritual benefits.
Which benefits are most important to an individual will vary based on their preconceptions and motivations.Anyone can experience beneficial results in all three areas from a prolonged use of Yoga.
1. Mobility and Flexibility:
As you age, and we’re talking about once you’ve passed that 25 year mark, your body begins to lose some of its mobility.
Your muscles can become short and tight.
Your tendons can stiffen and your joints may often feel sore.
When this happens, simple day-to-day movements can become painful or difficult.
You may not be able to touch your toes. When you walk long distances you may notice that your back aches. If you try to reach over your head to put something away you may feel pain in your neck or shoulders.
This may be due to a lack of mobility. Yoga can improve your mobility, meaning it can help lengthen those tight muscles and tendons.
It can give you a better range of motion so that when you move your body, you do it in the most efficient and effective way possible. Not only will you feel better, you’ll stop having those awful aches and pains.
Yoga often requires you to hold a position for a long period. In most cases you’re supporting your full body weight. This requires you to build great strength. Most yoga positions recruit strength from your large muscle groups, your core muscles for example.
As these muscles increase in strength you’ll find it expands to other areas of your life. Your posture will improve. You’ll be stronger, physically, and thus able to lift and carry more than you used to. And you’ll build muscle which burns fat and looks pretty darn fantastic too.
3. Reduced Stress:
Yoga requires a few things that impact and reduce your stress level. The first stress-reducing component is breathing.
Many yoga styles have a structured breathing protocol. When you focus on your breathing, it automatically lowers cortisol (a stress hormone) and it lowers your heart rate.
4. Physical Benefits:
The first types of benefits are those purely on a physical level. Yoga is at its core a group of exercises. Some disciplines will use these exercises to prepare the body for a deeper meditative process.
They will still experience physical benefits from performing them as exercises. The deep breathing exercise has immediate health benefits due to increasing the intake of oxygen into the system.
This oxygen is transported by the blood to our organs and tissues, which will become sick without sufficient oxygen and nutrients.
Frequently these tissues and organs are starved of nutrients due to a number of reasons including poor air intake or quality, bad circulation or disease within the body.
Yoga increases the oxygen intake, removes blockages in the circulation to ensure its safe delivery and also stimulates the lymphatic system to aid in the removal of toxins from our system.
Leaving our bodies auto immune system more free to deal with invading disease or viruses. Beyond this internal health which many people take for granted, Yoga will also greatly increase a persons balance, flexibility and muscle strength.
5. Mental Benefits:
Many people see this as the most important benefit that we can gain from Yoga. It will of course depend on what your priorities are but the mental benefits of Yoga are certainly impressive.
The ability to focus on ones breathing has a natural consequence of allowing extraneous thoughts to melt away and a state of calmness to be introduced.
This is not a feat to be taken lightly as it provides a valuable skill in the ability to remain calm a midst turmoil.
A mother can use this when everything happens at once in the home, a businessperson can use it to focus on a single task despite everyone around him being panicked.
A soldier can use it to block out the bullets and noise and focus on an important task. Yoga also requires a high level of discipline from those practicing it.
Both the discipline required to perform the exercises themselves and the discipline needed to stick to a regular exercise regime.
Again this is something that comes surprisingly easy to people once they have mastered the basis of the Yoga breathing exercises.
6. Spiritual Benefits
Generally newcomers to yoga will not understand these benefits for some time. There are a number of benefits that can fall into the ‘spiritual’ category.
Yoga itself is built around a philosophy that includes its own set of ethics, but these are seldom taught as part of Western Yoga practice.
Instead, the spiritual benefits we talk about tend to be a persona acceptance of yourself and contentment with your place in life.
For some people it goes beyond that but discussing spiritual feelings is always difficult to do so broadly.
Overall the level of spiritual satisfaction you get is likely to depend on your own personal beliefs. Additionally, yoga requires great focus.
Some poses not only ask you to hold your body in a balanced position, they also ask you to pay attention to your body and make slight adjustments to improve the pose.
You’re looking inward and focusing solely on your body and the very moment you’re in. This focus reduces stress. It’s akin to meditation and it’s wonderful for the health of your body and your mind.
There are numerous other yoga health benefits: improved breathing, better posture, and weight loss are just a few more to consider.
If you’re looking for a new fitness program to try, you just can’t go wrong with yoga.
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I’m happy to help any way that I can.
Disclaimer: Tips and suggestions mentioned in the article are for general information purpose only and should not be construed as professional medical advice. Always consult your doctor or a dietitian before starting any fitness programme or making any changes to your diet