If you love yoga or want to try it out, you should know about the benefits. Click here for a list of the physical and mental benefits of yoga.
Did you know that over 20 million Americans practice yoga? And, 44 percent of people who don’t, admit they want to start.
Why are so many people reaching to this ancient practice?
Yoga is more than a spiritual hobby or weekly workout class. As more people are realizing, it’s actually good for your health. There are both physical and mental benefits of modern yoga.
If you’re interested in learning more about the benefits of yoga, keep reading. Chances are, you’ll be doing a downward dog by the end.
4 Physical Benefits of Yoga
Yoga is both a physical and mental activity. By moving your body into different positions, you use muscles you may not be used to. It might be a little uncomfortable at first, but there shouldn’t be any pain.
Here are the top benefits of yoga for your body.
Yoga encourages you to take slower, deeper breaths. After deep inhales, you pause for a moment holding the air in. Then, you exhale in a controlled manner.
Doing this repeatedly is excellent for your respiratory system. The slow-moving speed of the air through your system improves the oxygen saturation of your blood.
And, it encourages nose-breathing over mouth-breathing. Breathing through your nose filters and warms the air better than through the mouth. This reduces the triggers for asthma attacks and improves overall lung function.
Now, yoga isn’t going to make you sweat the same was a cardio or HIIT workout will. But, it does contribute to weight loss and strength building.
Many yoga poses require you to hold your body weight for a prolonged time. Think about the last time you did the plank at the gym. Just as the plank builds your ab muscles, different yoga positions build different muscles.
When your strength increases, you can burn fat more easily. Yoga is a great complimentary workout to any weight-loss plan. For a real sweaty session, try Bikram yoga which takes place in a steamy room.
It’s common for our bodies to become stiffer as we age. As children, we’re more active which keeps our bodies more flexible.
As adults, you must be intentional about maintaining flexibility. Yoga is the perfect exercise for lengthening muscles and improving posture.
When your muscles are stiff and tight, you’re more prone to back pain. You’re also at higher risk for injuries. Practicing yoga keeps your muscles, especially your back, agile and flexible.
Improved Circulatory Health
Do you have poor circulation, especially in your hands and feet? This is a common condition that many of us attribute to genes. But, you can improve your circulation through yoga.
Yoga forces you to twist and bend your limbs in different ways. It also changes your center of gravity. In one pose, your head is the highest point and in others, it’s your toes.
These movements encourage the blood flow to move efficiently from different limbs to your heart. Since yoga thins your blood, it also puts you at a lower risk of stroke and heart attack.
4 Mental Benefits of Yoga
As any yogi will tell you, your mind and body are intensely connected. The way you move your body alters your feelings, thoughts, and dreams.
Here are the ways yoga can benefit your mental health.
Relief from Chronic Stress
Careers, families, finances, and relationships all put stress on our bodies and minds. At times, it may feel like your mind is racing to keep up.
Practicing yoga gives your body a task and your mind something to focus on. Doing it first thing in the morning allows you to start your day on a peaceful note instead of a panicked one. It can even help lower your cortisol levels, the stress chemical.
One crucial aspect of yoga is mindful meditation. As you learn to quiet your mind, you learn how to calm yourself down in stressful moments.
Decreased Depression Symptoms
If you suffer from depression, you’re not alone. Over 16 million Americans are depressed, and many have found yoga helpful.
Doing something every day that makes you feel good improves your mood. Yoga can be a form of self-care for anyone struggling with depression or anxiety.
The cause of some cases of depression is low serotonin levels in the brain. Yoga increases this chemical’s level in the brain, thus leading to more positive moods.
Low self-esteem is a problem across all ages, genders, and backgrounds. It affects your job, relationships, and identity.
When you practice yoga consistently, you start to see changes in yourself. You become healthier, mentally and physically. Seeing the effects of your dedication can boost your confidence and appreciation for yourself.
And, knowing that you made those benefits happen all on your own, you feel empowered. Yoga allows you to feel proud of yourself and self-efficient. Those are powerful ways to increase self-esteem.
Raise your hand if getting quality sleep is hard for you. Perhaps it’s the falling asleep part of the staying asleep part. Or, perhaps you sleep too much yet never feel rested.
If you have sleep problems, yoga can help.
Your day could be full of hustle, bustle, stress, and commotion. Your nervous system is likely overstimulated by the end of the day when you’re supposed to be relaxing.
Yoga gives you the time to transition from stressful daytime to calm nighttime. It slows down your mind and stretches out tense muscles. Meditative yoga quiets the mind, allowing you to peacefully drift off.
Ready to Give Yoga a Try?
As you can see, there are numerous physical and mental benefits of yoga. Perhaps you have an issue, like poor sleep, you want to solve. Or, you’re looking for better overall health.
Starting a daily yoga practice could be the key to living a happier life.
Yoga isn’t the only way to improve your mind and body. Check out the Health section of our blog for more ideas.