We know yoga is a godsend when numerous people including our very own Prime Minister Narendra Modi stands by it. Saying that yoga has a myriad of benefits doesn’t do it enough justice. But before we jump to benefits of yoga, let’s talk a little about yoga. Yoga is a set of mental, physical, and spiritual practices and consists mainly of asanas. While yoga originated in India, it has experience yoga benefits increased popularity in the West where it is practiced as a form of exercise. Yoga also provides a retreat from our stressful and chaotic lives. If we start listing the benefits of yoga, it’s going to take a while.
So here is a list to get a head start on the few of the many benefits of yoga:
1.Increases flexibility and balance
The number one and most common benefit of yoga is an increase in flexibility. Many types of research back this hypothesis. Yoga poses to stretch and strengthens muscles. This reduces rigidity. As we age, our body loses its flexibility, especially given our sedentary lifestyles. This leads to pain in our joints including knees, hips, back, and neck. Practicing regular yoga can reverse this process. There is also a study that says flexibility improves by 35% only after 8 weeks of regular yoga.
2. Builds body strength
In addition to flexibility, one of the benefits of yoga is building muscle and bone strength. Few of the many asanas like the plank or downward-facing dog help in boosting upper-body strength. Due to this, there is lesser falls in elderly people and low chances of arthritis. Holding these asanas for several seconds can go a long way in muscular strength.
3. Fights stress
I think we can all agree that stress is a major part of our life. We are a generation of overthinkers which breeds stressful conditions. This is where yoga can come in handy. Another benefit of yoga is that it relieves stress and promotes relaxation. Yoga reduces the secretion of cortisol, which is known as the stress-inducing hormone. Some yoga styles including meditation focus on breathing movements. Thus, there is a shift in focus from our current problem towards the airflow in our body. Our daily problems begin to seem futile and they slowly melt away.
4. Ensures sound sleep
We spend many sleepless and restless nights in our daily life. Regular yoga can help you sleep better. When we don’t get enough REM sleep, it adversely affects our nervous system. This is also accompanied by obesity, high blood pressure and depression. Benefits of yoga include higher secretion of melatonin, the sleep-inducing hormone that regulates sleep patterns. After all, everyone deserves a good night’s sleep.
5. Helps boost self-esteem
Everyone faces self-esteem issues which mostly stems from poor body image. Making us comfortable with our bodies is one of the benefits of yoga. A strict regimen can improve physical and mental health. It makes us aware of our body enhancing the ability to fall in love with it. When we are less critical of our appearance, we witness an increase in self-confidence. We realize that fitness is not solely dependent on body weight. It is a more comprehensive notion.
6. Improves eating habits
Subconsciously, we have the habit of eating our feeling. Feeling sad, Feeling happy, Feeling angry, All seems to melt away when we eat our favorite dish. But this practice is immensely unhealthy. The benefits of yoga include promoting healthy eating habits. We are more careful about what we are putting inside our bodies. Yoga tends to decrease frequent episodes of binge-eating and an overall increase in physical activity. By enhancing mindfulness, it encourages mindful eating and discourages eating disorders.
7. Benefits breathing
Another item on the list of benefits of yoga is improved breathing. A special type of yoga called Pranayama plays the role here. Pranayama is a type of yoga practice where we focus our attention on our breaths through breathing exercises. Taking deep, long breaths can induce relaxation and calmness. People with breathing problems, especially those with allergies can be benefitted by this type of yoga. Further, it clears nasal passages and sinuses and helps asthmatic patients. In this practice, yogis take fewer breaths which are deeper than average. With an increase in the supply of oxygen to the brain, it calms the nervous system and also improves mental health.
8. Healthy for the heart
By now, we have seen that the benefits of yoga are unlimited. But we are still not aware of all the benefits of yoga. So, let’s talk about yet another benefit of yoga which is cardiovascular advantages. It reduces the risk of high blood pressure in people with hypertension. It increases the blood and oxygen flow to the heart, thus improving our heart health. Some studies even suggest that it reduces blood sugar levels in the body keeping diabetes at bay. In addition to this, it also reduces LDL (bad cholesterol) and boosts HDL (good cholesterol).
9. Boost in immunity
Immunity systems weaken if we are sleep-deprived, stressed out or malnourished. Weak immune system makes us vulnerable to an array of diseases. To keep infection and viruses at bay is another benefit of yoga. When we do yoga, our lymphatic system fights cancerous cells and disposes of the toxic wastes in our bodies. By relieving stress, ensuring sound sleep, and promoting healthy eating habits, yoga strengthens the immunity systems. Yoga affects the functioning of the immune system by boosting and lowering it, as needed. It is actually better than cure through antibodies because it prevents us from sickness in the first place.
10. Improves the overall quality of life
Quality of life is a relative term. But when we see it as a comprehensive concept, there are some things that are of most importance. Yoga acts as a therapy to improve the quality of life. It not only allows to live longer but also to live better. A stress-free life is, after all, a better life. yoga helps us stay happy and satisfied in life. We have better relationships with everyone and gives you peace of mind.
After all these benefits of yoga, I don’t think there is further need for me to convince you. Go ahead and inculcate yoga in your life. Breathe in good thoughts and breathe out all stress and anxiety. So, everyone say Om!
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