What are the advantages of doing Yoga?
Yoga is a worldwide phenomenon, however it isn’t a recent one, far from it. Yoga stems from India thousands of years ago and has changed over the years. For some, yoga is all about breathing and spirituality, for others it’s about exercise and flexibility. The one thing that most do agree on though, is the absolute benefits of practicing yoga for health benefits and to living well.
If you’ve been practicing yoga, you’ve probably noticed some benefits already. Perhaps you’re sleeping better or getting fewer colds and illnesses or just feeling more relaxed and at ease. The mental health benefits can often be ignored but can often bring the biggest impacts for people.
My experiences with yoga have been amazing and I’ve had first-hand experience of the healing powers of yoga. I’ve always been very sporty and have recently taken up Crossfit. This can be very intense of your body and as a result I was getting little injuries very often. I turned to yoga to help my body recover and repair as well as strengthen. People often only associate yoga with flexibility however if you want to increase your strength then yoga is a perfect option for you.
So how can Yoga Improve your Health?
You’ll notice this benefit straight away. During your first class, you might not be able to touch your toes, never mind do a backbend. However over time you’ll notice rapid improvement and you’ll be so surprised what you can achieve. Many healthy people who go to the gym often can still struggle with flexibility. Tight hamstrings Tight 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, such as fascia and ligaments, can cause poor posture.
2. Muscle strength
This isn’t about being a bodybuilder or looking good on the beach. Muscle mass helps protect us from injuries and illness. The type of muscle built during yoga is perfect as well because you are using your body weight. This means your body is supporting a weight that it can manage. If you lift weights you can often go too heavy causing more issues and injuries.
3. Improves your Spine and Posture
If you work in an office and sit at a desk all day then this is particularly important. Improving your posture with have a knock on effect on a lot of things so this is very important.
4. Improves your Bone Strength
Lifting your own body weight is such a good way to improve your fitness. This not only improves muscles but also strengthens bones.
5. Increases your blood flow
Like most forms of exercise and sport, yoga gets the blood flowing. This is particularly good for the elderly who may have problems with circulations. This shouldn’t be ignore by younger people though, as we can all benefit from improved circulation. Also, more adventurous exercises will get blood flowing to parts of the body that don’t usually get as much, e.g. during a handstand the blood will flow to your head. This may not seem like an advantage however if you suffer from swelling in the lower part of your body then this is obviously a great exercise to do regularly.
6. Increases your heart rate
Getting your heart pumping is very good for overall health. The benefits are well documented and regular exercise is a must for anyone wanting to get fit. Yoga may not be as intense as running a sprint or lifting heavy weights, however, it certainly gets your heart beating and helps improve your fitness.
7. Mental Health
The spirituality of yoga is a big part of it. People strongly believe it can help significantly with mental health issues/anxiety. It could almost be seen as a form of meditation which helps focus the mind. This has a strong correlation with an improved sense of well-being and happiness.
Yoga is great for helping you relax. It focuses on breathing and this has a big impact on your ability to lower your heart rate and control your body better. The expression ‘Mind, Body, and Soul’ is very clear in yoga due to this connection. By being able to control your body better you can usually see an improved ability to relax and sleep.
9. Improves your balance
Balance can often be ignored when trying to improve your fitness. This is vital in sport but also in every day life. As we get older our balance can go so working on this is very important.
10. Improves self-esteem
The combination of all the previous points has a communal effect that helps improve overall self-esteem. This is the overall reward for all your hard work in the yoga classes and one that can have such a positive impact on your life.