5 Health Benefits From Practicing Yoga
Practicing Yoga Has Many Health Benefits - Here's Our Top 5!
There are many health benefits to practicing yoga that goes beyond the mat. According to Good Housekeeping, yoga is on par with aerobic exercise and is one of the best things you can do for your mind, body, and soul. Yoga also leads to a happier, healthier life.
At Yama Yoga Store we believe in the benefits of yoga and not only do we offer the best yoga products, but we also practice what we preach in our own yoga studio and we love to share our experiences with you. In our quest to help you live your best life we wanted to share a few benefits that yoga has on your health. Of course, we could go on and on about all the reasons to try it but these are top of mind to help you reap the health benefits of practicing yoga.
“Yoga is designed to bring about increased physical, mental and emotional well-being,” as described by M. Mala Cunningham, Ph.D., counseling psychologist and founder of Cardiac Yoga, in the article “Yoga and Heart Health” by The American Heart Association. Dr. Cunningham continues by saying, “Hand in hand with leading a heart-healthy lifestyle, it really is possible for a yoga-based model to help prevent or reverse heart disease. It may not completely reverse it, but you will definitely see benefits.”
Here are cardiovascular risk factors that yoga has been found to have a positive effect on:
- It helps to lower blood pressure in people who have hypertension.
- It helps to lower excessive blood sugar levels in people with non-insulin dependent diabetes and reduced their need for medications.
- It helps in many cardiac rehabilitation programs due to its cardiovascular and stress-relieving benefits.
- A great low impact workout without the need to use all the heavy lifting of weights or gym machines.
- A great way to exercise and stay in shape while traveling or on vacation.
Just think of all the benefits yoga has for not only your cardiovascular health but your mind and spirit too! Just stop and think about having a yoga session on the beach, it truly is the best medicine, don’t you agree?
Yoga promotes weight loss because people who practice yoga are mindful eaters and are more in tune with their bodies. They may be more sensitive to hunger cues and feelings of fullness. Harvard Medical School researchers found that there are many benefits of yoga as they found people who practiced for at least 30 minutes once a week for at least four years, gained less weight during middle adulthood. People who were overweight actually lost weight. Overall, those who practiced yoga had lower body mass indexes (BMIs) compared with those who did not practice yoga. Researchers attributed this to mindfulness. Mindful eating can lead to a more positive relationship with food and eating. If you a looking to shed a few pounds add yoga to your daily routine for an extra calorie burn and a surge of happy thoughts.
Better Body Image
Yoga provides a better body image. The more you practice yoga the more in tune you become with your body. Not only does yoga begin to tone and sculpt your muscles it makes you feel good about yourself, therefore providing positive thoughts about your own body. Yoga also develops inner awareness. It focuses your attention on your body's abilities at the present moment. It helps develop breath and strength of mind and body. Yoga studios typically don't have mirrors. This is so people can focus their awareness inward rather than how a pose or the people around them look. Surveys have found that those who practiced yoga were more aware of their bodies than people who didn't practice yoga. They were also more satisfied with and less critical of their bodies. For these reasons, yoga has become an integral part of the treatment of eating disorders and programs that promote positive body image and self-esteem.
Improved flexibility is one of the most obvious benefits of yoga. During your first class, you probably will struggle a bit and might have difficulty with some of the poses. That’s okay because if you stick with it, you'll notice a gradual loosening as you become more flexible. Then you will begin to notice the poses that seemed impossible at one time will now be much easier for you!
You'll also probably notice that aches and pains start to disappear. That's no coincidence. Tight hips can strain the knee joint due to improper alignment of the thigh and shin bones. Tight hamstrings can lead to a flattening of the lumbar spine, which can cause back pain, and inflexibility in muscles and connective tissue can cause poor posture. Yoga is about becoming receptive to our individual self, body, and mind. The more we do yoga, the more we can recognize that even our own states can change day to day - moment to moment. One way to push yourself and increase your flexibility is through props. You can use props like blocks, cushions, straps, blankets, or even the wall to find a version of the pose that feels right for you.
Makes You Happy
Research has found that consistent yoga practice helps to improve depression and led to a significant increase in serotonin levels. People who practice yoga are generally happier! Yoga helps to reduce stress and anxiety through deep breathing exercises, physical postures and stretching. This warms the body and causes feelings of peace. Yoga triggers the release of the essential hormone oxytocin, which floods your body with feelings of happiness and well-being.
Yoga is not about perfection or performing a beautiful pose to show others. It’s not a competition of flexibility, nor is it about comparing yourself to the person next to you in your yoga class. Practicing yoga is being the best you both inside and out.
As yoga continues to become more popular in the U.S., we must not lose the true spirit of yoga as one of compassion, awareness, and acceptance. Yama Yoga Store invites you to share with us how yoga benefits your life, post your comments below as we'd love to hear from you!
To your health!
Sat Nam ਸਤਿ ਨਾਮੁ The Yama Yoga Store