Being healthy is more than just taking care of your body when you get sick. It is about setting up healthy habits that help keep your body in peak condition year round. One healthy habit that helps people stay healthy is Yoga. Yoga is quickly becoming one of the most popular, if not the most popular, workout regime among those who are looking to gain flexibility, strength and even lose weight. It can be done from the privacy of your home or in a gym or classroom and is great for reducing stress and better relaxation. And these are just some of the benefits. Today, we will go over some of the major health benefits that yoga can have on your body and mind.
1. Improves Flexibility
Improved flexibility is one of the first and most obvious benefits of yoga. During your first class, you probably won’t be able to touch your toes, never mind do a back-bend. However, if you stick with it, you’ll notice a gradual loosening, and eventually, seemingly impossible poses will become possible. You will also notice that aches and pains start to disappear. Tightness in your hips can strain the knee joint due to improper alignment of the thigh and shinbones. Tight hamstrings can lead to a flattening of the lumbar spine, which can cause back pain. And inflexibility in muscles and connective tissue can cause poor posture. Loosening these areas through yoga will help reduce pain and improve body functionality.
2. Builds Muscle Strength
Strong muscles do more than look good, they protect us from conditions like arthritis and back pain, and help keep the elderly functional and on their feet. Undertaking a regular dynamic yoga flow can strengthen and tone your body, as it works nearly all of your core muscles. When you build strength through yoga, you balance it with flexibility. If you just went to the gym and lifted weights, you might build strength at the expense of flexibility.
3. Lowers Blood Pressure
If you have high blood pressure, you can benefit from yoga. Two studies of people with hypertension, compared the effects of a Savasana yoga pose with simply lying on a couch. After three months, Savasana was associated with a 26-point drop in systolic blood pressure and a 15-point drop in diastolic blood pressure. It also has the beneficial effect on the functioning of the immune system, boosting it when needed and lowering it when needed.
4. Encourages Fat Loss
An added benefit of practicing yoga is the potential for fat-loss. While yoga might be a low-intensity form of exercise, it can help you become more aware of your body and mind connection. This is where the concept of mindfulness can also come into play; studies have demonstrated that many people find a regular yoga practice helps them to be more mindful about their food choices and how they fuel their bodies. In the long-term, this related to them being more likely to maintain a healthy weight.
5. Improves Mental Health
One of the main elements of yoga is the interconnection of the mind and body through sequences, while focusing on your breath. Yoga teaches you to be present in order to get through a class successfully, you need to concentrate on the poses that you’re completing. If you don’t, you might find yourself falling out of the pose! The more you learn to focus your mind during yoga, the better you can become at staying present in the moment, without letting your thoughts wander. By developing better self-awareness of your thought-processes in class, you can then learn to do the same in life; in turn, you may find that this helps you to cope better with challenges that life throws at you.
One of the greatest things about yoga is how versatile it can be. There are many different styles of yoga to choose from, each with varying levels of difficulty and benefits to suit your goals. Whether you do yoga for beginners, as a recovery workout or as an intense strengthening yoga flow, this beneficial practice can provide both men and women with a range of emotional and physical health benefits. It can be done anywhere. It doesn’t require anything except for a little bit of space and a yoga mat, so what’s stopping you?