Benefits of Yoga
If you are a yoga practitioner, you might have experienced some of the benefits of yoga: sleeping better, getting fewer colds or feeling more relaxed during stressful times. But there are many more life-altering rewards to be gained when practiced frequently, such as reformed mental and physical states of being.
For its physical benefits, yoga has shown to increase flexibility, muscle strength and tone. Research also shows that yoga practitioners have improved respiration, as well as better levels of energy and vitality.
Most yoga sessions include breathing exercises, meditation and postures, called asana or poses, that stretch and flex various muscles, protecting the body from injury and improving athletic performance. Yoga can also help with weight reduction and help in maintaining a balanced metabolism.
Even though practicing yoga burns fewer calories than traditional exercises such as jogging or swimming, yoga can increase one’s mindfulness on the way they relate to their body, helping them become more aware of what they eat and making better food choices.
If one is trying to lose weight, it’s important to choose yoga classes that challenges the body and supports weight loss goals, such as Vinyasa, Ashtanga and Bikram—types of yoga that focus on strength-building and cardiovascular exercise.
According to studies published by the British medical journal The Lancet, clients with hypertension had their blood pressure dropped as they engaged in yoga regularly.
The benefits don’t stop there, as a recent study from the University of Illinois showed that practicing yoga for 20 minutes can also improve brain function. Participants of the study focused better on their mental resources, processed information more quickly and held more pieces of information whenever they were practicing the breathing exercises.
Exercises in general help decrease levels of depression, but yoga specifically has proved that if practiced on a regular basis, it can help decrease depression drastically. Some of these poses, including the Cobra, Bridge or Supported Headstand, can be extremely calming to the mind.
Yoga asana is a key component to breathing well and can contribute to a state of calm, where the mind and body connects and releases the attachment of worries, problems, fears and circumstances.
Patients who suffered from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and frequently experienced nightmares and flashbacks were able to be significantly more at ease overall whenever frequently practicing yoga.
Developed in India over five thousand years, yoga proves to help clear the mind and break bad habits, eliminating negativity and diminishing stress.