Benefits of yoga transcend the body, mind and spirit. The benefits of regular yoga practice are for everyone, regardless of age, weight, or physical condition. Yoga benefits have been studied and documented all around the world and more studies are underway to scientifically prove what many yogis already know – yoga does the body and mind good. There is no question of the power yoga possesses and its wide reaching benefits.
Mind and Body
Yoga unifies body, mind, and spirit, bringing together breath and the movement, focus and flow, mind and body. Simply going along with the physical movement or postures of yoga and ignoring the mind is beneficial to some degree, yes, but nowhere near as powerful as results of unifying your mind and body.
Most of us in today’s world feel varying degrees of stress in our lives. We face pressures from work, family, health, etc. and at times it can be overwhelming. Yoga calms the mind and lowers stress. Even after the very first yoga class, students feel more relaxed and less stressed out. There is what can be described as a sense of euphoria walking out of the class. Yoga calms the body and the mind.
“I can’t bend into a pretzel!” a person may say. You certainly don’t need to. Yoga offers increased flexibility to all, no matter how stiff or how flexible you might be. Within a few yoga classes, and especially after a couple months of regular yoga, you will notice that your body feels more flexible and fluid than it did in the beginning. Not only does yoga gently stretch your muscles, tendons and ligaments, but even your joints get more mobility and range of motion. You may especially notice this on your shoulders and hip joints.
Yoga can improve your muscle tone and strengthen your muscles. Some types of yoga, such as Ashtanga and Power yoga incorporate vigorous flowing movements into the classes and you will be building muscle with yoga push ups, lunges and core exercises.
Building strength and flexibility with yoga will make you notice your newly improved posture. In yoga your body is being realigned and balanced. Poses take you to the right and to the left, up and down, straight and back. Working all corners of your body also build up a solid core. A strong core allows us to stand tall and sit up straight. Regular yoga practice makes you more aware of your body, if you are slumping, you are more likely to notice it quickly and correct it.
Yoga is like a breath of fresh air. Many of us breathe very shallow breaths, breath in and out. It’s as if we are always out of breath, huffing and puffing. How many of us even notice our breaths? You step into your first yoga class and you will take a note of your breathing. Inhaling and exhaling. Even just a few minutes a day of deep, concentrated breathing can calm your mind and make you more relaxed. Deep, longer breaths increase your lung capacity. Some yoga classes can make you breathe as if you were running a race, but typically the breathing is slow and deep. Inhale. And exhale.
Learning, Memory, Concentration
Students that regularly practice yoga will tell how their ability to concentrate is improved. How does it work? Yoga practice increases oxygen supply to the brain allowing for clearer mind and focus. Concentration and ability to focus go hand in hand with learning and memory. Couple those with the relaxed and calm feeling you get with yoga practice and you have a proven path to unlocking power of your brain.
Mood and Energy
You will not fail to notice how upbeat, energized, and happy people are both walking into a yoga studio and out. Especially out. Even a one hour yoga practice does wonders to your mood and it carries over to your life. Currently researchers are studying how yoga helps with depression.
Certain yoga postures give your internal organs a good massage improving their function. Combination of the deep abdominal breathing and the internal massage improves digestion.
Effects of yoga have been extensively studied in relationship with Heart disease. Yoga can lower blood pressure and regular yoga pratice slows down your heart rate. Slower heart rate can benefit people with high blood pressure/hypertension, stroke and heart disease. Yoga is also said to reduce cholesterol and triglyceride levels as well as boost our immune systems, all good news for the health of our hearts.
Relieve Symptoms of Medical Conditions
Yoga can be used in conjunction with traditional medicine to alleviate symptoms of variety of medical conditions. This type of yoga is called Therapeutic Yoga. More and more research is done to scientifically prove the benefits of yoga in treating multiple conditions such as depression, insomnia and arthritis, yet most yoga practitioners would say the proof is how you feel, both physically and mentally without seeing scientific proof.
Medical conditions benefiting from yoga
Bronchitis and Emphysema
Please consult your physician before beginning any new exercise program such as yoga.