In fitness, Yoga is a popular form of exercise across the world. The workout has been in practice for over 5000 years and it has over 100 different forms to work with. There are very many benefits of yoga, hence, the styles you take depends on your goal in mind. Our today’s post will mostly focus on these advantages but before we get to them, let’s first understand what the workout entails.
Brief Introduction to Yoga
Yoga can be defined as a discipline for improving one’s innate power in a balanced manner. The exercise is a body and mind practice which involves various styles, which incorporates physical poses, breathing techniques, and meditation. As such, Yoga doesn’t just help you tone and burn calories but improve your brain’s health as well.
Even before we start discussing the benefits, one of the best things about yoga is that it doesn’t select the age. Both kids and adults can get to learn the motions and start working on them. While beginning, nonetheless, it’s good to select the class that fits your needs. Not that you’re a man and you’re going for the Prenatal Yoga.
Although all the yoga poses are wonderful to do, some of those preferred by the majority of the enthusiasts include:
- The Lotus Pose: Practiced by both beginners and Pros since it works nearly on the whole body. It stretches the hips, thighs, knees, and ankles.
- Downward facing dog: the exercise works on various parts of the body, including hamstrings, calves, shoulders, arms, and spine.
- The Crane Pose: an ultimate pose which is very fun and energizing. The exercise involves knees, wrists, shoulders, forearms, and even abdominal muscles.
- Head to knee Forward Bend: helps you in stretching your groins, abdominal muscles, spine, hamstrings, neck and shoulders.
- Balasana or Child’s Pose: it’s a great resting pose which helps in stretching your hips, thighs, and also ankles.
- Trikonasana or Triangle Pose: this exercise is truly great in strength-building, as well as stretching your thighs, hips, back, hamstrings, etc.
Having briefly reviewed the meaning and types, let’s now discuss the key benefits of Yoga, starting with the most obvious one: Flexibility.
Benefits of Doing Yoga
When you tell someone who knows about it that you do Yoga, the first thing to come to his mind will be flexibility. Not that the exercise is all about becoming flexible but it releases more tensions from our bodies and improves your attitude towards it. According to Dr. Thomas Green, a chiropractor from Nebraska, our modern lifestyles usually makes our bodies lazy and our muscles atrophy. Once you do certain yoga styles (almost all), the stretching lubricates your joints and enhance stimulation of Fascia.
According to the science of flexibility, Yoga exercises like Paschimottanasana (Seated Forward Bend) release the lower back muscles when you exhale and stretch. This then relaxes the muscles around the coccyx and frees your pelvis and allow it to rotate around the hip joints.
Perfects Your Posture
Poor posture can lead to a variety of health issues, including fatigue and problems with the joints, neck, and back. However, doing yoga improves on this bad posture by aligning the spine, which is the central network of the nervous system. The exercise can also reverse Hyperkyphosis (hunchback) which occurs due to muscle imbalance.
Yoga styles like Locust pose can help you stretch your thoracic spine and also straighten your erector spine. This improves your posture and even relieve back pain.
Increases Blood Flow
Poor blood circulation can occur due to various practices, including prolonged sitting, high cholesterol, and even diabetes. As the key to myriad health wellness, Yoga practice assists a lot in case of poor circulation, regardless of what has caused it.
When doing the Downward-Facing Dog Pose, for instance, your hips act above your heart and the heart above your head. With the law of gravity, this pose facilitates blood flow to the head and even to the legs. The Triangle Pose can improve blood circulation in your legs as well.
Builds Muscle Strength
Can you build muscles with yoga? Well, why not? Besides meditation, Yoga is a form of strength training which induces muscular contraction, particularly when you’re holding a pose for extended periods.
If you hold the Warrior II Pose for long, for example, you’ll notice your quads are shaking, just as with high-resistance squatting when using weights.
In a study conducted by Wisconsin’s Human Performance Laboratory University, Hatha Yoga was also noted to improve subjects’ strength and endurance. The American Council on Exercise even confirmed the results of this study.
Ups Your Heart Rate
Although not all yoga styles are aerobic, doing any of them boosts your heart rate into the aerobic range, and or improve the cardiovascular conditioning. This is very important in terms of health as it lowers the likelihood of having a heart attack or depression. Further studies have even stated that the practice can lower the resting heart rate and also improve optimal uptake of oxygen.
Reduces Chronic Pain
Yoga also helps in relieving pain in people with disorders like Arthritis, Back Pain, and Fibromyalgia. These conditions mostly affect the joints and muscles/ tendons and the stretching is the best physiotherapy technique to reduce or eliminate this pain. Once the pain is gone, your mood will spike and you become more inclined to be active.
Improves Your Breathing
Doing yoga regularly can give your lungs room to breathe and improve its functions in general. Yogis usually take fewer breaths of bigger volume, which is more efficient and also calming. In a study published by The Lancet, the “Complete Breath” yogic technique was noted to decrease the average respiratory rate of subjects with lung problems by 43%. Their blood’s oxygen saturation and exercise capacity improved remarkably as well.
When doing Yoga, you often use your nose in breathing. This filters the air and remove impurities like dust and pollen, which you ought not to take to the lungs.
While contracting and stretching your muscles, the drainage of lymph (fluid rich in immune cells) increases and enable your body to fight infections. Also, the meditation exercises ensure a balanced functioning of the immune system by boosting or lowering the levels of antibodies when needed.
Pranayama and Asana are two of the best yoga practice for improving the functionality of your immune system.
Helps You Focus
Though aerobics boost your memory, Yoga practice improves brain functioning at a higher impact. A small study which involved 30 college females highlights that doing yoga can improve cognitive performance.
According to Neha Gothe, Exercise Psychologist at the University of Illinois, Yoga lets you focus on your breath and your posture. This then affects your thinking ability, letting you concentrate beyond the exercise’s environment and give you peace of mind.
So, if you are a victim of anger, fear, and frustration which causes disappointment and stress, start doing Yoga now.
Build Awareness for Transformation
Yoga and meditation assist a lot in building one’s awareness and break free from destructive emotions like anger. From the field of psychology, chronic anger and hostility can cause a heart attack, which is the second life-threating disease after cancer. Whatsoever, doing yoga can help reduce anger by creating feelings of compassion and interconnection between your mind and nervous system.
Choose a good yoga map to start your yoga life now!
Let’s Do Yoga for a Healthy Lifestyle
Though there are dozens of others, those are the top benefits of Yoga in one’s life. With them, what now remains is your efforts to joining the millions of yoga practitioners across the globe. Doing Yoga regularly will not just give you peace of mind and body but also a healthy lifestyle.