Yoga is a form of stretching and working out your body that has been around for thousands of years. This practice originated in ancient India. Yoga combines meditation, mindful breathing, and movement to exercise and center your mind and body. Today, yoga has many different practices that people of all ages and sizes can take advantage of. If you are looking for a reason to try yoga, check out these ten health benefits you can get from starting your practice!
While many people believe that lifting weights is the only way to get strong, this is not the case. Yoga can increase your strength and help you gain muscles. Some yoga poses, like the downward-facing dog, boat pose, and extended triangle pose, are designed to strengthen your muscles.
For years, yogis have argued that practicing yoga can increase your flexibility, and it’s true! Poses like the seated forward bend and warrior I pose work to stretch your body, and repeated practice can increase your flexibility. Consistent yoga practice, in general, will stretch your muscles and will increase your flexibility.
One goal of yoga is to center and control your breathing. There are even specific poses and classes that focus on your breathing. Researchers found that people who practiced yoga increased their respiratory health. Another study found that people who regularly practice yoga can take deeper breaths and control their breathing more than those who don’t consistently practice yoga. More intensive classes and practices even have the same breathing benefits as running or intense cardio exercises. This makes yoga practices great if you have breathing problems like asthma or COPD.
Like flexibility, yoga can improve your balance through consistent practice and specific poses designed to help your balance. These poses include the side plank, eagle pose, and warrior III. One study found that people who regularly practice yoga had better balance than those who did not.
Protect Against Injury
One reason people don’t exercise is because of the fear of injury. However, yoga can help protect you against injuries. Yoga works areas of your body that popular exercises can miss, which decreases the risk of hurting these areas.
Having good posture is essential. If you need to work on improving your posture, yoga can help. The locust or cobra pose, among others, works to improve your posture. Regular yoga practice, in general, will help improve your posture as yoga focuses on form and the alignment of your body.
Manage or Reduce Chronic Pain
Chronic pain can make it hard to exercise. Yoga can be a low impact way to help manage and even reduce chronic pain. Researchers found that people with chronic pain experienced less pain and gained strength in the areas that cause them problems than those who didn’t regularly practice yoga.
Promote Heart Health
If you are looking to improve your heart health, yoga can help. Regular yoga practice is not only a great form of exercise for your body but also your heart and blood pressure. One study found that people with consistent yoga practices have lower blood pressure and sugar levels and had better overall heart health. Other researchers have found that people who regularly practice yoga have lower cholesterol.
Manage Stress and Anxiety
One of the biggest attractions to yoga is the management of stress and anxiety. Concentration on breathing and meditation can help you manage your stress, anxiety, and even depression. Some yoga practices are designed to help people with stress with poses like the rabbit pose and the side stretch, which help with relaxation.