Discover the health benefits of yoga and start your practice today
Alternative medicine has been around since the dawn of creation and includes the practice of yoga. While it was mostly practised and embraced in the East, later years saw it adapted in the West and the rest of the world.
Rapid improvements in technology evolved into new medical discoveries. People found other methods to help with healing and wellness. Pharmaceuticals boomed, and OTC drugs became a way of life for many folks.
Recent years brought about an immense change in wellness through natural methods. The belief in alternative medicine is that a person can promote health and healing through natural means. This is better known as “healing the whole person.” Alternative medicine seeks to find the root of the condition and looks for a solution to naturally improve this.
In this post, we focus on the health benefits of yoga and how it can help you improve wellness.
Where yoga originate from, and what are the health benefits of yoga?
Yoga has been practised by the old yogis and gurus of early India for a very long time. According to Hindu belief, Shiva, one of the ancient Hindu gods was the first yogi of all time.
Whilst based on science, yoga is still a deeply spiritual practice that helps to connect a person through mind and body. To do this, it takes breathing techniques and various “vinyasa” or poses in yoga.
The connection between mind and body brings about balance. This balance helps improve emotional wellbeing and physical health.
Yoga is a complex practice and is mastered with time, regular practice and dedication.
The health benefits of yoga include but are not limited to:
- Promote deep healing sleep – good for insomniacs
- Improve blood circulation
- Improves focus
- Helps to improve balance
- Helps manage chronic pain
- It improves self-esteem
- Assists in weight loss by toning the muscles
- Strengthens muscles
- Protects cartilage and joints
- Good for your heart
- Promotes good posture
- Improves flexibility
- Strengthens the immune system
- Reduces stress
- Reduces anxiety
- It is a natural antidepressant
- It helps support hormonal balance
- Balance weight and wellness
- Lowers blood pressure
- Regulates cholesterol
Benefits in detail
1. Improves sleep
Yoga helps to improve sleep for insomniacs and people who struggle to get a good night’s rest. A lack of sleep happens due to many factors. These include stress, anxiety, too much sugar, processed foods, acute and chronic meds, some health conditions, and caffeine to name a few.
Yoga helps relax the body and mind and in doing so, it helps the person to feel calmer. When you’re relaxed it’s easier to fall asleep and enjoy a deeper sleep.
2. Improves blood circulation
Blood circulation is very important to help the organs function at their best. The body needs blood to flow constantly to deliver oxygen and vital nutrients throughout the body. You need to get moving to encourage good blood circulation.
If you don’t have time for a full gym-workout-session then a few minutes of yoga a day will help. Yoga improves blood circulation and is highly beneficial for young and older people.
3. Better focus
We all know the feeling of not being able to focus on something important at the time. Yoga along with Ujjayi breath or “victorious breath” helps you to centre your focus on the rhythm of your breaths.
The more you do it the better you’ll become at it. Ujjayi breaths are deep diaphragmatic breaths. It does wonders to help reduce stress levels and help clear your mind so that you can concentrate better.
4. Improve balance
The combination of stretches and breathing in yoga can help to improve your balance. This happens as your balance as your body learns to hold various yoga positions.
Good balance can reduce the risk of falls in elderly people and is good for your spine health.
5. Helps to manage chronic pain
Chronic pain can sometimes be debilitating. Health conditions like arthritis, inflammation and headaches can cause chronic pain.
Yoga helps the brain to release more serotonin and dopamine. This allows the body to naturally reduce inflammation. Tapping into these “happy hormones” also reduces pain levels.
6. Improve self-esteem
When embracing yoga as a way of life, it brings everything into balance. It improves confidence as it helps to tone muscles and strengthen the body.
Apart from the physical effects, it also has a positive impact on self-esteem and emotions, especially when you learn to master challenging poses.
7. Assists in weight loss by toning the muscles
The health benefits of yoga include assisting with weight loss. This is possible because it helps you to get a work out even when you’re doing yoga for flow. Yoga involves bodyweight exercises that challenge various muscles, and this assists in toning muscles and burning calories.
Believe it or not, yoga can help you work up a sweat even when you’re not into “hot yoga.”
8. Strengthens your muscles
The benefits of yoga include helping you to strengthen your muscles. Strong muscles go a long way in protecting your body from pain and conditions such as arthritis and back pain.
9. Protects your joints and cartilage
When it comes to the health of your bones, protecting your joints and cartilage will help in the long run. With healthy cartilage and joints, you reduce the chances of injury and long-term rheumatic conditions.
10. Good for your heart
As mentioned before, the health benefits of yoga include it being good for your heart. It helps to increase and decrease your heart rate during meditation and cycles of stretches.
Even if your yoga routine doesn’t get your heart rate up, it will help to regulate and improve the health of your heart.
11. Have better posture
As we have already mentioned, yoga also helps you to improve your posture. There are poses or asanas “body pose” that helps to align the spine as well as improve balance and posture.
“cat/cow”, “warrior” and “cobra” are some of the poses that aid in better posture.
12. Improves flexibility
Another amazing health benefit of yoga is the fact that it truly can help improve flexibility.
This is important to help minimize the chances of injury and at the same time, it helps to improve balance, which is essential in seniors.
The suppler the muscles are the fewer chances of suffering strain and pain in the long-run.
13. Strengthens the immune system
A stronger immune system means fewer chances of battling flu and the common cold, amongst others. The immune system is a magnificent defence mechanism that protects the body.
14. Reduces stress
We know that one of the many health benefits of yoga includes being calmer. Yoga helps to create positivity and reduces that feeling of worry and stress.
If you are looking for self-care ideas, be sure to put yoga on your list.
15. Reduces anxiety
Because yoga has such a positive effect on the central nervous system, it is clear that it helps reduce anxiety. The effects of a difficult life and various work or financial conditions can cause stress and anxiety.
Yoga breathing helps the body to regulate and breathe better. By doing so, you can feel calmer and reduce your stress levels.
16. Works as a natural antidepressant
Forget about fluoxetine and other antidepressants. Yoga is a potent practice that helps the body to produce and regulate dopamine and serotonin. These necessary hormones help you to be happy and positive to name a few.
Antidepressants work by increasing serotonin levels in the brain (usually by preventing their re-uptake). But, when engaging in yoga regularly, the body will start to do this by itself.
If you take any medications, speak to your doctor before starting yoga and never just stop taking your medication as this can have serious side effects.
17. Balances your hormones
Yoga helps to balance the mind and body. In doing so, it also aids and improves hormonal balance. In this way, your body will produce enough serotonin and dopamine to reduce stress hormones like adrenaline, norepinephrine (needed for fight-or-flight) and cortisol.
18. Maintain a better diet and general wellness
If you start to practise yoga regularly, you might find yourself being drawn to living a healthier life in general.
19. Can assist with lowering high blood pressure
Yoga can help to lower high blood pressure. This is because of the relaxation benefits, and it can boost the body’s natural “feel good” hormones and lowers stress hormones.
Stress hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline elevate blood pressure. Even though these hormones are crucial for fight-or-flight, it is dangerous when high stress levels are ongoing.
20. Regulates cholesterol
Another excellent health benefit of yoga is that it can help to regulate the good cholesterol in the body. This is important for a healthy heart because it reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease.
The takeaway on the amazing health benefits of yoga
Humans can benefit from yoga in tremendous ways. You don’t have to be a yogi or guru to start learning and benefiting from this health practice.
For many folks leading a bustling lifestyle, yoga helps to focus and find that much-needed sense of calmness. If you haven’t started practising yoga, then we recommend trying it. You will feel the difference. As a bonus, the better you get at it, the easier it becomes.
Do you practice yoga and what health benefits are you enjoying?