There’re plenty of reasons to give yoga a try, including the fact that it can be great exercise and help you develop flexibility.
But did you know that yoga can also be great for your mind?
Yoga has all sorts of benefits, from improving physical health to encouraging inner peace and reducing stress.
To learn more about how yoga can benefit your body and mind, check out this list of nine awesome benefits below!
1. Improves your heart health
The heart is a muscle and, like any other muscle in your body.
It responds well to exercise.
Regular yoga practice helps increase flexibility, prevent injury, and improve stamina.
A strong heart will pump more blood with each beat, helping you maintain an optimal blood pressure that reduces stress on your arteries and heart.
If you’re suffering from high blood pressure, it’s important to learn how to manage it effectively.
Some simple steps you can take at home include starting a regular exercise routine and eliminating processed foods from your diet.
Eating foods that are low in fat, salt, and sugar will also help keep your blood pressure in check.
Finally: Eat nine servings of fruits and vegetables per day!
How many do you eat now?
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2. Boosts your brain power
Working out can be a huge boost to your brainpower and memory.
The more oxygen you get flowing to your brain, the better you’ll think and remember.
One of yoga’s benefits is that it forces you to stay mentally alert while exercising.
If your mind starts wandering, gravity will kick in and force you back into position.
By increasing blood flow to different parts of your body and stretching muscles, you are improving cognitive function at all times during class.
Not just when it feels good or even when you want it to happen.
When we exercise our bodies, including our brains, we send a signal for increased blood flow.
3. Strengthens your immune system
Contrary to popular belief, yoga doesn’t just make you flexible.
It also increases your resistance to stress and illness.
The practice of yoga boosts immunity by activating white blood cells and reducing inflammation in your body.
This, in turn, reduces oxidative stress in your body.
Scientists believe that oxidative stress is one of the triggers of chronic illnesses like cancer.
Regularly practicing yoga also helps reduce cortisol levels in your body, which can contribute to a weakened immune system.
Lastly, because it improves blood circulation throughout your body, yoga also aids in healing cuts and bruises faster than would otherwise be possible.
Your lymphatic system will thank you for including yoga as part of a healthy lifestyle!
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4. Fights anxiety and depression
Studies show that yoga can be an effective treatment for both anxiety and depression, with practitioners reporting decreased symptoms of stress, reduced feelings of loneliness, and fewer physical problems.
For example, one study found that out of participants who experienced generalized anxiety disorder, around three-quarters also experienced depression at some point.
But practicing just two 20-minute sessions a week significantly improved overall well-being for those struggling with both conditions.
Even if you don’t suffer from anxiety or depression specifically, you can still gain huge benefits from focusing on your emotional health in general through regular practice.
In addition to combatting negative emotions like fear and anger, yoga helps to increase self-awareness and improve your relationships with others.
Both are critical components of overall happiness.
5. Treats back pain
Although yoga has been around for thousands of years, it’s only recently that people have begun to see its benefits.
One study showed that after six months of regular practice, patients with chronic lower back pain had better sleep quality and significantly less neck pain.
Another found that those with neck pain who did yoga for 12 weeks reported a 31% decrease in pain and disability compared to those who just took an educational class on back care.
Although more research is needed, these findings suggest that yoga could be a great way to manage chronic lower back pain.
6. Improves strength
Every time you stretch, your body learns to hold its muscles in a new position.
It’s kind of like working out, but without all that sweating and grunting.
Over time, your joints and muscles get stronger, so that when you move into a new pose or start using a heavier weight at your next workout, it feels easier than it did before.
Longer lines and tighter curves—without going under the knife.
A recent study found that people who practiced yoga on a regular basis had more lean muscle mass after 16 weeks than those who didn’t practice yoga regularly.
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7. Relieves insomnia
Getting enough sleep is one of life’s biggest challenges.
It seems that almost everyone struggles with falling and staying asleep, at some point or another.
But you can do something about it.
A recent study from researchers at San Diego State University revealed that practicing a few yoga poses each day might actually improve your chances of getting a better night’s rest.
After 3 months, participants who regularly practiced inversions and balance poses fell asleep more quickly and had fewer sleep interruptions throughout the night.
In addition to helping you fall asleep faster, yoga may also help you get back to sleep if you wake up during your normal sleeping hours.
In part because deep relaxation caused by certain yoga postures promotes calming brain waves, leading to enhanced inner peace and restfulness.
8. Prevents osteoporosis
We all know that exercise is important to keep our body in shape, but even light activities like yoga have significant benefits.
In a study conducted by Harvard University Medical School, it was shown that women who did yoga showed an increase in bone density and strength of their lower limbs.
This can be especially beneficial for women at risk of osteoporosis.
Osteoporosis is common among seniors, but can also affect younger people (especially athletes).
The study indicated that patients at risk of osteoporosis should increase their activity levels and practice safe habits to prevent any future complications due to weakening bones.
9. Helps you manage stress better
In the same way, you learn how to react when triggered, yoga can help you understand what gets you stressed out and then help find better ways to handle it.
When you feel stressed, try a few deep breaths while chanting om or another affirmation of your choice.
Although there’s not really any scientific evidence that suggests using mantras has any health benefits, research published in Neuropsychopharmacology found that actually saying these types of words out loud (as opposed to just thinking them) causes a change in brain activity.
Specifically increased neural signaling between regions responsible for emotion and cognition.
This could be helpful for managing stress when it comes up again.
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