Yoga, in its many forms, originated 10,000 years ago, and is practiced by millions of people, all over the world, to this day. Not only is yoga calming and a form of exercise, but it has many other health benefits as well! Here are the top 10 benefits of practicing yoga.
1. Breathe Better.
Pranayama, yogic breathing, works on controlling one’s breathing. Your breathing pace is reduced, and it involves deep breathes with long pauses and slow exhalation. Beathing this way increases the amount of oxygen in your body, which triggers the body’s relaxation response and enhances lung capacity and endurance abilities.
2. Improve Your Circulation and Strengthen Your Heart.
Practicing certain poses in yoga can help improve blood circulation and helps move oxygenated blood cells more efficiently through the body. Even gentle, calm yoga can strengthen your heart by lowering your resting heart rate and increasing oxygen uptake and endurance during exercise.
3. Become Stronger.
Yoga postures, referred to as asana, cause you to use every muscle in your body, which helps increase muscle strength all over. Yoga can also improve your bodies’ resiliency. It helps you strengthen your core and enhances endurance so you can carry out your other strength training with higher intensity.
4. Improve Your Flexibility.
Many postures in yoga stretch various body parts in certain ways that increase muscle flexibility and muscle tone. These postures also strengthen joints and increase the range of motion. These poses also help improve body alignment because they strengthen muscles and stretch ligaments in a way that helps relieve back, neck, joint, and muscle problems. The stretching done every day increases muscle flexibility, mobility, and control.
5. Manage Your Pain.
Studies have shown that yoga postures, meditation, and the combination of the two, can reduce pain for people who suffer from cancer, multiple sclerosis, auto-immune diseases, hypertension, arthritis, back and neck pain, and emotional pain as well. It reduces pain by stretching out and strengthening the muscles, lubricating joints and improving alignment.
6. Get Inner Peace.
Yoga has a meditative aspect to it, which can reach a deep spiritual level. Many people who practice yoga regularly report that this feeling of inner peace is the reason that yoga has become a regular, critical part of their daily lives. Yoga provides relief from stress as well as pain, which are things that cloud your judgment and moods every day. The asanas (postures) strengthen the nervous system, which leads to a better self-awareness and a better connection between the mind and the body. This relief from stress, pain, improved breathing, and better connection with the body can also decrease anxiety, depression, fear, and other emotional mood disorders.
7. Be in the Present.
Yoga helps us become more aware of ourselves and help connect between the mind and the body. Focusing on our breath and muscles helps us focus on the present. This helps improve our concentration, coordination, reaction time, and even memory.
8. Relieve Stress.
Yoga encourages relaxation and helps lower levels of cortisol, the stress hormone. Stress reduction is related to reduction in blood pressure and heart rate, improvement in digestion, and boosting of the immune system, as well as easing symptoms of anxiety, fatigue, asthma, and insomnia. There are key techniques and meditation tactics in yoga that help quiet the human mind and reduce the stress you feel.
9. Have a Healthier Body.
Yoga helps lubricate your joints, tendons, and ligaments. It detoxifies the body through certain postures and breathing techniques, leaving your body healthy and refreshed. Due to stress reduction, improved breathing and lowered blood pressure, yoga has an anti-aging effect. It provides elasticity to the spine, helps strengthen your muscles, and removes toxins, so it delays the onset of wrinkles and helps you feel and look younger.
10. Manage Your Weight.
With practicing yoga comes natural weight loss. Yoga causes a loss of excess fat from your body. Practicing yoga increases your metabolism and helps you lose weight and control weight efforts by reducing stress and burning more calories even while you sleep. Yoga also encourages healthy eating habits and promotes inner stability and mental health. This reduction of stress and greater self awareness decreases emotional and stress related eating. It raises awareness of your body’s needs and makes sure you only eat as much as your body requires, when it requires it, and reduces the times you may eat from boredom or emotional pain.
If you really want to get serious into yoga, learn the postures, and lose weight, you should try Kris Fondran’s program, “Shapeshifter Yoga”. Kris Fondran is a yoga teacher and health coach, and she developed this mind-body approach which helped her lose and keep off over 60 lbs. In her program, she teaches you how to reconnect your body with your mind and how to change your view of “exercise” from something grueling and difficult to something enjoyable and calming. She helps you practice powerful yoga moves that nourish your mind, body and soul, and she shows you the hormonal balancing and stress relieving benefits you will gain. This program is a “Yoga for Weight Loss” program that is made especially to help you lose weight naturally. It is meant for anyone interested in learning yoga and requires no previous experience or knowledge.
It comes with instructional videos as well as practice pose charts. There are numerous training sessions in yoga as well as meditation, and an additional recipe book for an improved, natural, healthy diet. It also has bonus audio visualizations to help you with meditation and self healing. Kris’ personal story of self healing and weight loss is truly inspirational and has helped many others.