If you are reading this, you probably want to venture into Yoga, but you’re wondering, ‘why should I do it anyway?’ Whether you are looking to keep fit or relax your mind, you ought to consider practicing Yoga. Apart from its health benefits, Yoga is an activity that you can practice anywhere. Let’s find out more.
What is Yoga?
Thanks to all the wellness coaches we see on T.V. these days, Yoga has become a common term. It is vital to note that the word Yoga doesn’t have a distinct definition. If you were to Google it, you’d find thousands of results with different concepts and wordings.
However, in simple terms, you can define Yoga as a physical activity that engages the body, mind, and soul by practicing a few breathing exercises. There are several Yoga categories, and each has its unique poses and benefits that you shall learn as you journey towards attaining the peak benefits of Yoga practice. Meanwhile, here are a few benefits of Yoga practice:
Why Should You Practice Yoga?
Yoga improves both your mental and physical wellness in the following ways:
1. Yoga Strengthens Your Bones and Muscles.
Yoga includes weight-bearing exercises such as Nataraj asana (dancer’s pose), vrikshasana (tree pose), and tadasana (mountain pose) that target the bones, hence making them stronger and denser.
Additionally, almost all Yoga poses engage your body muscles; they make them stretch and become stronger.
2. Want to Lose Weight? Try Yoga
According to an article published in the American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine in 2013, weight loss is one of the benefits of Yoga practice. The energy you spend during Yoga practice helps your body to burn unnecessary fats that could otherwise make you overweight or obese. Yoga also enhances your mood and reduces stress levels; as a result, it reduces stress eating and helps you lose weight.
3. Yoga Boosts Your Metabolism
Yoga poses, such as twists, inversions, backbends, and arm flaps, stimulate your endocrine system and abdominal organs, boosting your metabolism. As a result, they help to burn calories.
4. Increased flexibility
While practicing Yoga, you tend to stretch your muscles and move a lot. Therefore, when practiced regularly, Yoga can enhance your flexibility.
5. Back Pains? Yoga Can Help
If you experience back pain from time to time, then Yoga is the doctor you need. Yoga poses, e.g. backbends, target your lower back, stretching its muscles and enhancing a healthy spine.
6. Improved Body Balance
Yoga practices can help you gain balance by aligning your body with gravity, strengthening your body’s core, and maintaining your focus to the alignment.
7. Boost Your Energy Levels with Yoga
There are those days you wake up feeling low on energy (those days when you feel as if you are carrying the weight of the world on your shoulders). Yoga can help you with that.
Some Yoga poses, e.g. the chair pose, triangle pose, and camel pose, include gentle stretches that target the spine. They help to stimulate blood flow in your body, to reduce fatigue, and to boost your vigor.
8. Yoga Reduces Pain
Sometimes, pain can push you to the wall leaving you stressed and your body sore. Pain also threatens your immune system, which can lead to additional infections. Consistent Yoga activity reduces the synthesis of hunger and stress hormones and doubles the production of Adiponectin – an anti-inflammatory hormone.
9. Regulate Adrenal Glands with Yoga
Stress causes an increase in the production of cortisol, which is a stress hormone produced by the adrenal glands. Practicing Yoga helps you stay calm; hence only a regulated amount of cortisol is made to boost your immune function.
10. Reduced blood pressure.
High stress levels can lead to high blood pressure. If blood pressure is an issue you are struggling to overcome, then you may want to try Yoga. Poses like the child pose and easy pose entail rhythmic breathing and can help you control blood pressure by lowering stress levels.
11. Improve Your Mental Health By Practicing Yoga
Yoga can help you relieve stress, reduce depression, and boost your concentration. Let’s find out how.
- Reduced stress: Yoga poses will enable you to calm your mind and even lower fatigue. We all know that a tired mind and body can cause us stress. Take a brief look at these a few Yoga poses that are great stress relievers.
- Reduced Depression: A study by the U.S National Library of Medicine affirms that the Yoga body movements are similar to anti-depressants, in a way. The breathing practices in these movements are slow and rhythmic, and so they soothe the mind and help you relax, reducing stress and anxiety. Yoga also fosters tranquility and induces mental focus, resulting in minimized depression.
- Better sleep. Stress can bring about insomnia. A still mind, on the other hand, can help you sleep like a healthy baby. Yoga’s deep breathing techniques and gentle body stretches will allow you to relax and improve your sleep.
- Boosted concentration, focus, and memory: You might also want to consider Yoga if you are finding it hard to focus or feel overwhelmed with stuff. While practicing some of the balancing postures, you have to pay attention to them and listen to your body. The tree pose, for instance, requires you to maintain focus for you to achieve it. You must have a clear mind. With time, this boosts your concentration and memory.
Yoga can also boost positive emotions such as joy and self-esteem. It can also enhance your peace of mind and encourage you to take care of yourself. Who wouldn’t love to feel this way, considering the chaotic world we live in?
The only way to leverage the benefits of Yoga is by consistent practice. While it may feel tiresome in the beginning, Yoga practice becomes easy and fun if you keep at it. It would also help for you to start small and increase the intensity later in your practice (start with simple poses and embark on more complex ones when your body is ready). Let’s pose towards better health and well-being!