BENEFITS OF YOGA
Yoga can benefit you in many ways, some of which may be unique to you. Below are ten benefits of taking up a regular yoga practice:
1. Improves your flexibility and strength
With regular practice, yoga begins to lengthen and loosen tightness in the body. At the same time, yoga helps to build strength by engaging muscles correctly to support flexibility.
2. Reduces stress and anxiety
Yoga moves the body through a series of postures to reduce tension and stress. When breath work (pranayama) and meditation are also included in our yoga practice, it can bring a sense of calm and deep relaxation to the body, reducing both anxiety and stress levels.
3. Improves poor posture
Poor posture is often an imbalance of muscle strength and length in the body. Yoga can be used to readdress the balance by strengthening weak, over-stretched muscles and lengthening/releasing overly tight muscles.
4. Improves balance
Yoga helps us to become more aware of our bodies. With a regular yoga practice, we increase proprioception – the ability to feel what the body is doing and where it is in space. This can help to make us generally feel less wobbly and on top of that, yoga strengthens the muscles used to help us balance.
5. Hydrates the spine
The spine requires a combination of movements to keep the spinal discs hydrated and the spine supple. A yoga practice, which takes the spine through compression, extension, rotation and rest, helps to keep the spine hydrated.
6. Improves breathing
Many people don’t realise that they are not using the full capacity of their lungs, restricting the breath. The most common way we do this is by holding in the belly and trapping the breath high in the chest cavity leading to shallow breathing. Yoga teaches us how to let go and breathe more deeply, bringing more oxygen into the body. This is particularly helpful for anxiety.
7. Improves circulation
Yoga encourages you to use most of your body during practice. Through a combination of forward bends, side bends, back bends, twists, balances and inversions, the heart rate is increased. This causes the body to pump blood around the body faster
8. Can improve sleep
Yoga meditation techniques can help us to relax deeply, both physically and mentally. Yoga encourages letting go, not only during meditation but also when practicing postures. This can create a deep sense of relaxation, leaving our minds less cluttered, leading to an easier sleep.
9. Helps to release stuck emotions
Emotions are powerful and if they are repressed they can show up as pain or discomfort in the body. Yoga postures, breath work and meditation can help to release trapped emotions and free the body from stress and sometimes, physical pain.
10. Can support joint health
Restricted movement in the joints can be a result of habitually restrictive movement patterns. Yoga moves the joints through their full range of motion and if this is done with care and attention, it can help to keep them supple.