10 Health Benefits of Yoga

My last blog post focused on 6 popular types of yoga that are widely practiced today. Although there are many other forms of yoga that I did not mention, the styles that I touched on focus more on the foundation of the practice which is especially beneficial for beginners.

For those who don’t know much about the practice, or are curious to know about the health benefits of the practice (being more than just a nice stretch), I’ve included some perks of the practice that might entice you to step onto your mat. 

Overall Fitness:

Yoga asanas (poses) help you stay free from diseases, not just because of their organ specific asanas but also due to the meditation and pranayama practices. Adho Mukho Svasana (downward facing dog) and Dandasana (plank pose) are great asanas for overall health.

Flexibility:

Yoga asanas are very complex and that is why they can only be mastered over a period of time. Though it is no child play at first, once you do master the various asanas of yoga, your body becomes very flexible and agile. Asanas such as Uttanasana (forward fold), Supta Badha Konasana (seated butterfly pose), Utthita Parsvakonasana (extended side angle pose) and Virabhadrasana (warrior pose) help attain flexibility.

Stress Relief:

Yoga is designed for the overall happiness of humans. While asanas tend to the physical bliss of the body, meditation and pranayama (breath) can help relieve stress. Focusing on the breathing helps your mind shift attention and gain a larger perspective of your own life. Breathing exercises like Kapalabhati (short, sharp exhales) and Bhramari (bee breath), and asanas such as Viparita Karani (legs-up-the-wall pose) and Sarvangasana (shoulder stand), help in stress relief.

Weight Loss:

Since yoga involves a lot of stretching and unusual poses, the fat that otherwise gets accumulated in various parts of the body gets burnt out through yoga. Various asanas such as Ardha Chandraasana (half moon pose), Utkatasana (chair pose), Vrksasana (tree pose), Uttanasana (forward fold), Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutation), Ardha Matsyendrasana (seated twist), Halasana (plow pose) can help in reducing weight.

Good Posture:

Since one is required to sit in a proper posture in asanas, the overall posture of the body also gets better. With the tension in the muscles and primarily in the spine, (which is a problem area for many) reduced and eventually gone, people are able to maintain a better posture for their bodies.

Glowing Skin:

Due to limitless intake of junk food and stress, people start to age before their time. Yoga postures help in reducing wrinkles, problem skin, and keeping your body regular. Performing the Kapalabhati breathing technique also helps to attain glowing skin.

Better Blood Flow:

With improper blood flow, a lot of people experience swelling in various parts of their body. The breathing exercises of yoga help the oxygen reach the blood and also helps in keeping blood pressure normal.

Better Immunity:

Yoga also helps in developing a better immune system. Since various yoga postures directly heal cells, tissues and organs, asanas such as Matsyasana (fish pose), Ustrasana, Dhanurasana (bow pose), Adho Mukha Svanasana (downward facing dog) and many others help in achieving better immunity.

While yoga practice is picking up worldwide, a lot of people are still stuck to their treadmill routine. Yoga, unlike any other form of exercise has helped many people battle deadly chronic diseases, and has also cured paralysis!

There are so many types of yoga available today. This means that one just has to choose the type of yoga more in sync with one’s lifestyle and what one wants to achieve and bask in all its benefits.

Increased Energy:

Just a few minutes of yoga every day will provide that much needed energy boost in our busy lives and will keep us fresh for longer. Yoga, with its unique synergy of body and breath work, is perfect when your reserves are running low. 

Daily yoga practice will awaken the chakras in our body, which are the main energy centers. Great poses for extra energy are those that extend the spine, such as tree pose, allowing energy to circulate throughout the whole body, and poses that open the chest, like the cobra pose, encouraging the intake of more breath.

Be More Mindful:

Yoga and mindfulness go hand-in-hand. When practicing yoga, you will shift your awareness to the sensations, thoughts, and emotions that accompany a given pose. That awareness will bring the mind back to the present moment – the main aim of mindfulness – where it can stay happy and focused. 

Practicing mindfulness has lasting physical and psychological benefits that are very much in line with the benefits of yoga. You will feel more calm and relaxed, and less stress and anxiety. 

Ciao!

The Traveling Yogi

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