If you practice yoga on a regular basis, you likely have noticed how beneficial yoga is due to the fact that you are sleeping better, you are not getting sick so often, and you are feeling more relaxed. Therefore you know that yoga has some great benefits. However, if you are interested in yoga, and have been looking around for a few instructors- you are doing the right thing because you will be much better overall once you are used to the exercise.
In fact, Western science is starting to prove how beneficial yoga is for your health. Just be prepared, at first, the exercise will be uncomfortable and experience some degree of pain after. Therefore, you may be inclined to quit. You need to hang in there and work through it because you will become used to yoga. Listed below are 10 ways how yoga can support your health and wellness:
1) Builds your Muscle Strength
You are going to want to have strong muscles for reasons other than appearances. Strong muscles will protect you from conditions such as chronic back pain and arthritis. This is why you are also uncomfortable when you first start practicing. Your muscles are being worked with in unfamiliar ways. However, in time your muscles not only become used to the practice but become stronger so you become healthier.
2) Helps you Become more Flexible
Improved flexibility is really the most obvious yoga benefit. However, during your first class, you will not likely be able to touch your toes. But again if you stick with the practice, you will start to loosen up and notice any aches and pains from before will disappear. You will want to become more flexible because you could end up with problems with your knee joints, as well as the improper alignment of the shinbones and the thigh. In order to prevent problems like that from happening, you need to practice yoga and stick with it.
3) Prevents Joint and Cartilage Breakdown
Whenever you practice yoga, you are working on all of your joints which can help prevent degenerative arthritis or other conditions that are involving joints and cartilage. Joint cartilage is like a sponge because it receives fresh nutrients only when its fluid is squeezed out. Therefore a new supply can be soaked and without proper sustenance, areas of cartilage that is neglected may eventually wear out. Therefore, bones are exposed which can cause problems later on.
4) Protects your Spine
Your spinal disks are shock absorbers that are between the vertebrae that can compress and herniate nerves, and they need movement. That is the only way they can get their nutrients, so you need to do those backbends, forward bends, twists and other movements that you do in yoga to keep your disks healthy!
5) Improves your Bone Health
We know that weight-bearing exercise strengthens bones, that in the end can prevent osteoporosis from happening. Therefore, many postures in yoga require that you lift your own weight so you can strengthen your arm bones. Your arm bones are quite vulnerable to osteoporotic fractures.
6) Perfects your Posture
When you are not standing straight, you are straining your muscles in your back and neck. Therefore, poor posture can cause neck, back problems, and other problems involving your joints and other muscles. The more you practice yoga, the more you will be able to naturally stand straight and improve your posture, and prevent neck and back problems from happening down the road.
7) Increases your Blood Flow
The relaxation exercises you learn in yoga can help your circulation, especially in your hands and feet so your blood is flowing more naturally. Not to mention, you get more oxygen in your cells from doing you which helps you function better as a result. The poses that involve twisting help blood flow through your internal organs more effectively as well. Not to mention, yoga also boosts your hemoglobin levels, as well as red blood cells. Your red blood cells carry oxygen to the tissues and help thin blood by making platelets less sticky, and preventing internal blood clots from happening. Therefore, if you do yoga on a consistent basis, you are preventing the risk of having a stroke or heart attack in the future.
8) Helps Lower your Blood Pressure
Yoga will help you if you have high blood pressure. Studies have shown that after three months of doing one particular yoga pose had decreased blood pressure substantially in patients who suffer from hypertension.
9) Helps Build your Immune System
When you contract and stretch muscles, and move organs around, and go into different yoga poses, the drainage in the lymph nodes increases which helps the lymphatic system fight infection and ruin cancerous cells. It also helps you get rid of toxic waste products from cells. In other words, this is another way that yoga can make you healthy!
10) Helps Relieve Depression
If you are suffering from depression, taking up yoga is something to definitely consider. Many yoga poses can help boost your levels of serotonin which is the happy hormone and lowers stress hormones such as cortisol. Increased levels of cortisol cause not only depression but obesity and can wreak havoc with your blood sugar levels, which are all intertwined. It can be pointed that yoga also keeps blood sugar levels in check, but more than that it certainly helps with your mood.
Therefore, if you want to be healthy overall, whether it is physically, spiritually, mentally and emotionally, then yoga is the exercise to start doing! It will be hard at first, but keep at it and you will not only become comfortable with it, but you will enjoy it- and enjoy the benefits!