Yoga was first considered a spiritual practice before it became widely regarded as a holistic exercise for overall well-being. The word ‘yoga’ is derived from the Sanskrit term ‘<Yuga’, meaning union or to join.

Yoga can be considered a comprehensive term that includes several aspects, but the three main elements commonly practiced are physical poses (Asanas), meditation (Dhyana), and breathing techniques (Pranayama

Studies have demonstrated that all of these parts of yoga, by themselves or combined, offer various benefits such as improving flexibility, strength, and energy as well as enhancing mental health.

In this article, we dive into why yoga is good for you along with a few pointers on how you should go about starting your yoga practice.
 

Amazing Health Benefits Of Yoga

Whether you’re in your 20s, 40s, or even 90s, you can experience yoga’s therapeutic benefits while also improving your fitness. It’s why yoga is the best exercise to take up regardless of whether you’re a fitness fanatic or a newbie.

Let’s take a look at how this ancient practice can benefit you both on and off the mat:

1. Promotes Better Sleep And Reduces Stress

Do you struggle with getting a good night’s rest? Specific yoga poses promote a feeling of calmness and security, in turn helping the body relax. Studies have shown that individuals who practice yoga regularly benefit from improved sleep quality. Beyond the physical aspects of yoga, you can indulge in sound baths, meditation, chanting, and controlled breath work to further reduce anxiety and allow you to enjoy a restful night’s sleep.

2. Makes You Work Better And Feel Smarter

Yoga can help you soldier through challenging moments at work like experiencing a creative block, feeling uninspired, or being pushed into a corner. The Journal of Physical Health and Well-Being published a study that found a correlation between regular yoga practice and brain function. Just 20 minutes of yoga every day can help you remain in the present, improve your memory, process information better, and be more alert and quicker on your feet.

3. Improves Flexibility

Yoga is widely known for helping you improve flexibility and reduce stiffness. We can’t promise that you’ll be able to touch your toes or do a backbend, but you will eventually be able to move more freely without feeling pain, aches, or restrained movement.

Yoga can help loosen the body, free up pain in the back, knees, and shoulders, and drastically improve posture. Often, improper alignment tightens the hips, causing undue strain on the knees. Various yoga poses help gradually strengthen and align the thigh and shin bones.

4. Great For Mental Health

Major Depression Disorder (MDD) is considered one of the most common forms of mental disorder, with as many as 280 million people suffering from depression. Research suggests that yoga, as a complementary form of treatment, can reduce depressive symptoms in patients.

Studies have also shown that regular yoga practice helps reduce anxiety and improves overall mood.

5. Promotes Weight Loss

If you’re thinking, “can yoga help you lose weight?”, the answer is yes! Yoga is a holistic practice that encourages people to be more mindful of their health. A consistent yoga practice can dull food cravings and promote feelings of fullness. For those who have a complicated relationship with food, yoga can significantly promote self-awareness and mindfulness.

For those wondering, can yoga help build muscle mass? Absolutely! Practicing yoga can build endurance, help the body shed weight, and promote a leaner physique. Yoga involves training your body to hold a series of complex poses for several minutes. Doing so regularly can, over time, build your body’s strength and develop your muscles.

6. Better Cardiovascular Health

Several cardiac rehabilitation programs have acknowledged the significance of using it as a complementary form of recovery for heart patients. Yoga can also rebalance blood pressure by strengthening the body’s baroreceptor sensitivity (reaction to cardiovascular changes such as blood pressure).

7. Balances Blood Sugar Levels

Patients with non-insulin-dependent diabetes can turn to yoga to help control elevated sugar levels. Regular sessions can improve insulin sensitivity, lower cortisol and adrenaline levels, and promote weight loss. By practicing yoga, patients can slowly come off medication, of course, after consulting their doctor and conducting regular tests to keep sugar levels in check.

8. Improved Immunity

It’s no secret that yoga can improve your immunity, thus reducing the number of times you fall sick from illnesses such as the flu or common cold. Promising research reveals how yoga can enhance gene expression by accelerating the circulation of immune cells.
 

Things To Consider Before Taking Up Yoga

Compared to physical activity, the chances of sustaining injuries during yoga are less likely but not impossible. But it’s still important to exercise caution when taking up any new physical activity.

Here are a few things to keep in mind for beginners:
  • If you’re new to yoga, get in touch with a qualified yoga center or instructor to supervise your sessions.
  • Hot yoga, in particular, can increase the body’s temperature and accelerate dehydration. Consult a specialist and inform them about any health conditions you may have that can put you at risk.
  • Avoid immediately jumping into complex yoga poses; instead, build your endurance levels with simple Asanas.
  • You may think that breathing exercises don’t require supervision, but you’ll need someone to monitor you until you’re ready to practice by yourself.
  • Pre-existing injuries could exacerbate symptoms, so it’s best to speak to a licensed specialist about which forms of yoga are safe to practice. For instance, those with lumbar spine disease, knee injuries, high blood pressure, glaucoma, and heart conditions need special supervision.

 

Parting Words

As with any form of physical exercise, yoga should be learned from an experienced professional before you’re ready to try it on your own. You can learn individually or visit a fitness center where you can ease into a program while learning with a group.

Choose what works for you and build a routine that fits your schedule. The benefits of yoga can be rewarding and life-changing for practically anyone. If you’ve been waiting for a sign to start, this is it!

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References:

https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/yoga-benefits-beyond-the-mat

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/13-benefits-of-yoga#TOC_TITLE_HDR_5

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5871291/

https://www.who.int/en/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/depression

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3193654/

https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/wellness-and-prevention/9-benefits-of-yoga

https://www.webmd.com/balance/guide/the-health-benefits-of-yoga