I push yoga like my life depends on it, or yours does, or both. But why? I believe yoga benefits the mind and body in countless ways. Here I’ll focus on my favorite 9 yoga benefits that make me try to convince everyone to get into it.
What is Yoga and where the heck does it come from?
Yoga is derived from the Sanskrit word Yuji and it means yoke or union. This ancient practice helps to bring the mind and body together and to stay fit. With a combination of meditation, breathing exercises, and poses yoga benefits the body’s natural relaxation and reduction of stress.
Yoga is getting more and more popular nowadays because of the wide range of health related yoga benefits, as outlined . One of the reasons you should do yoga is that it helps to develop a relationship between our body, spirit, and mind with our different body postures, breathing patterns, and meditation. See my top 9 yoga benefits listed below.
1) Yoga helps improve strength, flexibility, and posture
Doing daily yoga is a great way to stretch and tone your muscles. We often think of weight training as the best way to reshape the body but yoga can definitely get you into great physical form. You can try out some famous core poses such as plank which will help to give you strength in your arms, abs, low back, legs, and shoulders. Plank position is truly works a whole body exercise. A common misconception, and deterrent for yoga newbies is the idea that you need to be flexible to start. That’s totally incorrect because yoga can easily be practiced at all levels of ability. As you progress you’ll become more flexible and more confident in difficult poses. With a regular routine you’ll experience improvements in your flexibility, posture, and strength.
2) Fat Loss and Body Recomposition
You can also expect a boost in your metabolism, as yoga will help you to fuel your metabolic system. This will then burn fat in your body and lead to weight loss. Hot Yoga and advanced yoga can further increase these benefits. Doing yoga regularly will allow you to restore the hormonal balance in your body and reduce your body weight. Doing yoga daily is also a great way to strengthen your overall mind and body connection which will help you to deal with unpleasant emotions effectively instead of eating foods to suppress the feeling.
3) Reduction of stress and anxiety
You can experience proven yoga benefits on mental health which is why lots of workplaces are now offering lunch-time yoga sessions to reduce stress. The main elements of yoga are breathing, poses and meditation and according to some studies, people that can regularly practice these three elements have a better chance of regulating their heart-rate variability (HRV). This also means that doing yoga helps to lower your heart rate so that you can handle stress better.
4) Helps you breathe correctly
Another great yoga benefit is that it helps you learn to breathe deeply and calmly. You can try out Yogic breathing techniques known as pranayama which means focusing on trying to slow down your breath while you breathe fully from the pit of your stomach to the top of your lungs. Practicing this method will help to calm your nerves and it will give you all the confidence and calm that you need. Another yoga health benefits are that it will increase your lung capacity and its tidal volume.
5) Helps you to be more mindful
Yoga helps you to be mindful. This means when you’re practicing yoga, you’ll shift your awareness to the thoughts, sensations, and emotions that come with a given pose. This means yoga will help you to focus on the present moment and one of the major aims of mindfulness is that it helps you to stay focused and happy. Mindfulness has long-lasting physical and psychological benefits which are quite the same as the benefits of yoga. Mindfulness means that you are going to enjoy higher levels of energy and enthusiasm.
6) Improved Concentration & Focus
Being more mindful leads to better overall concentration and clear thinking. As you concentrate on your breathing, your mind is going to be calm and you’ll be mentally relaxed. Having mental stability is a great way to remember and retain more information. This means if you can simply meditate for bit in the morning, you’re going to have great concentration all through the day. This also helps to improve your cognitive function and which means your mind is clear and refreshed. With daily yoga, you are going to reduce your mental stress and physical tension and you will have more organized thoughts.
7) Helps in supporting Joint Health
The movement during yoga is low impact and it allows you to move your joints without injuring them. One benefit of yoga is that it will help in strengthen the muscles around the joints and then reduce their load. For instance, people with arthritis that practice regular gentle yoga practice see a great improvement in their pain and mobility.
8) It prevents and/or reduces back pain
Yoga helps in increasing strength and flexibility and this can, in turn, prevent the causes of numerous back pain issues. Most of the people with back pain spend a lot of time driving, sitting and this can then lead to the tightness in the body and spinal compression. Doing yoga helps to counteract these conditions.
9) Helps to build self Confidence
Regular yoga helps in improving the mind-body connection and it provides a better sense and appreciation of your body. As you practice yoga, you will learn to make subtle movements which help to improve your alignment while you get better touch with your being. Yoga will also help you to accept your body without any judgement. As soon as you learn to accept your body, you’ll be more comfortable with your body which will help to boost your self-confidence greatly.
Starting Your Yoga Practice
Start enjoying my favorite 7 yoga benefits and more by finding a program and giving it a try. Find the yoga program that best suits your needs, such as:
- Local yoga classes – most studios offer a trial period
- YouTube – tons of talented yogis give classes and instructions for free on YT
- APPs and/or old school DVDs
- Individual 1-on-1 yoga lessons
- Yoga retreats
My last piece of advice for yoga newbies is allow for a period of discomfort.
A new practice can be mentally and physically uncomfortable but that’s where growth happens.