Yoga is an exercise that connects your body and mind through breathing techniques, meditation and physical poses. You may already know about the spiritual benefits of yoga but do you know that it is one of the best exercises for keeping fit?
Yoga is older than 5000 years and generations of yogis have found it to be the best form of exercise for physical, mental and spiritual health. Most people that want to lose weight or maintain their fitness levels don’t realize that practicing yoga could be the key to their success.
Keep reading for more information on these 9 health benefits of yoga and why you should join a class.
1. Increase Your Physical Fitness
One of the main benefits of yoga is its positive effect on your fitness and weight loss goals. In a lot of the poses, you must shift your body weight using strength, poise, coordination and power. This can lead to toned arms, shapely legs and chiseled abs.
Some intense versions of the practice such as Bikram Yoga can help you burn 300-400 calories per hour. The good thing about yoga is that it is a low impact exercise so it’s a great exercise for those nursing muscle injuries. Consider trying a group fitness class for yoga if you’re just beginning and need extra support.
2. Improve Your Focus and Concentration
The ability to focus is one of the main markers of excellence. Andrew Carnegie is quoted as crediting his ability to focus on a task for more than five minutes as the reason why he was able to become the richest man of his time. The modern world has so many challenges and distractions that an average person can only focus on one thing for a few minutes.
Improve your focus ability by taking up a yoga practice. Yoga trains you to be mindful of the present moment and focus on your body and breathe. This mindfulness translates to other areas of your life as after a few days of the practice you will find your thinking becoming clearer.
3. Strengthens Immunity
Another benefit of yoga is that it can boost your immunity. It is essential to have the highest possible immunity so that you avoid getting ill from communicable diseases. Stress is a major cause of inflammation and lowered immunity and yoga is a proven stress-buster, so it improves your body’s ability to stave off diseases.
Are you classified as a high-risk person due to an underlying illness or do you always catch the flu during the cold season? Then starting a personal yoga practice could reduce your susceptibility to illnesses.
4. Help Your Posture
Improper posture can have long-term consequences for your life. If bad posture is allowed to go unchecked for years, you may end up with arthritis, inflammation, and aches and pains in your back, neck and other body parts. The poses that you do in a yoga class strengthen and stretch your muscles which will lead to improved posture with consistent practice.
5. Pain Relief
Another popular benefit of creating a healthy habit out of doing yoga consistently is that it is a great way to reduce muscle pain. Body aches and pains may come from athletic injuries, slips and falls, or chronic pain due to illnesses like arthritis. Yoga can help to reduce pain because of the stretching done at each session.
In fact, some yoga poses are specifically for reducing body aches and pains. Practicing regularly can lead to long-term and permanent improvements.
6. Sleep Better
The National Sleep Foundation recommends Yoga as a way to sleep better. Sleep deprivation can reduce our productivity and increase our chances of getting depressed. So, getting at least 7 hours of quality sleep is a must for optimal health.
Practicing yoga can help you fall asleep faster as well as sleep longer. Additionally, if you wake up at night, practicing Yoga will help you return to sleep faster. Great sleep quality had positive effects on your body such as improved strength, improved physical looks and better mental health.
7. Reduce Stress And Anxiety
The mindfulness aspect of yoga can also help promote mental health by reducing your stress and anxiety. Numerous studies have shown that practicing Yoga could reduce the amount of cortisol (the stress hormone) in your body.
Usually, we get anxiety attacks when we worry about situations that may happen in the future. Yoga helps prevent such thoughts by directing our focus to the present moment. Having to concentrate on our thoughts, breath, and physical movements and poses take our thoughts away from anything else and focus us on the present moment.
8. Improve Your Flexibility and Balance
Yoga is a great way to improve your flexibility and balance. Many people see the complicated poses yogis do and get discouraged by the practice because they aren’t as flexible. Anyone can increase their flexibility with consistent yoga practice.
If you find yourself unable to bend down to pick something from the floor, then that is a sign that your flexibility could be improved by a yoga practice. When it comes to balance, yoga also helps improve it by strengthening your feet and ankles. Having great balance is important especially as you grow older due to the reduced possibility of slips and falls.
9. Increase Bone Strength
Women can benefit from yoga because the practice can help them fight off osteoporosis. A 2015 study found that yoga practitioners had better bone density than non-practitioners. The increased bone strength may be as a result of all the poses that need the person exercising to hold their body against gravity. The resistance leads to increased muscle and bone strength.
Try a Yoga Class to Personally Experience the Benefits
Yoga is one of the oldest forms of exercise and is proven to have numerous mental, physical and spiritual benefits as described above. But all this is theory until you put it to the test yourself.
Start a daily routine to reap the long-lasting benefits of yoga in your life. If you’re ready to get started on a yoga journey or looking to enhance your practice, check out our class schedule list today.