Today I want to go into more detail regarding why yoga is good for your health. Yoga has helped me in several ways that no one can imagine. I used to suffer from a lot of anxiety and digestive issues (and of course from time to time I still have anxiety), and this amazing way of exercising has helped me to feel a lot better and more in balance with myself. Not only do I feel stronger and more flexible, I also feel more aware and awake than ever.
There are many types of yoga and different health benefits of each type of yoga, so I will share with you below just the general reasons why yoga is good for your health (otherwise this will turn into a book!). I hope that this article can motivate you to start doing yoga TODAY 🙂
Improve Flexibility & Posture
The good news is that you don’t have to be flexible to start practicing yoga. Within a few weeks of yoga practice, you can already improve your flexibility by more than 30%. Your flexibility improves because you are flexing your muscles, allowing more movement and as well as making your muscles looser. After becoming more flexible, you will see that your posture will be much better and it may be easier for you to perform some of the poses. Poor flexibility & posture can harvest back pain in the short run, but if you let it go for too long, you can develop a series of problem all over your body due to your back not being properly aligned.
Keep in mind that to improve your flexibility, you need to do yoga regularly! These are just some of the poses that really help to stretch and improve flexibility:
- Downward Facing Dog
- Child’s Pose
- Half Moon Pose
- Cow Face Pose
- Crescent Lunge
- Seated Forward Bend
- and many more!
Breathe Better & Deeper
Yoga uses a breathing method called diaphragmatic nasal breathing, also known as belly breathing. When you inhale through your nose, and expand your belly, your diaphragm contracts which allows your lungs to take in more air than usual. There are numerous benefits from doing this kind of breathing, such as lowering your heart rate and blood pressure, improving the stability of your core muscles, and also helping you to relax. Here’s how to do diaphragmatic nasal breathing while practicing yoga or just meditating:
- Sit or lie down in a comfortable position
- Place one hand below your rib cage and one hand on your upper chest
- Breathe in through your nose, and feel your belly expand out
- Breathe out through your mouth
This is a really simple technique to learn and incorporate into your life while you practice yoga!
Become Naturally Toned & Build Your Strength
Different types of yoga have different types of poses, but they can all help to build strength in different parts of your body. When you are doing poses standing up, you are working your core, abs, and leg muscles. Poses such as downward/upward dog can help to work your upper body muscles. But the great thing about yoga is that you are working out your whole body, therefore you will be evenly toned (instead of working out your arms too much, but not your legs or vice versa!) You don’t need to only do cardio to become toned, as in yoga you are actually using your own weight to build muscle. By practicing Yoga, you can also help to speed up your metabolism and thus burn fat more efficiently, therefore helping us to be toned and in our ideal weight! This is an added bonus regarding why yoga is good for our health.
If you want to focus on strength, then go for power yoga or ashtanga. Even if you do hatha yoga (which is the “basic” yoga), you will still be able to build your strength and become toned.
Nowadays it’s very easy to say that many of us, if not most, are stressed by everyday life. Whether it’s because we are working too much, stressed about finances, or maybe we have just lost a loved one, this can all impact our mental health which therefore can impact our biological health as well. Physical symptoms can manifest differently in different people. Some people can get really bad migraines, or allergies, and some people like me can get digestive issues. As long as I remember, I have always had digestive issues, and of course as I got older it seemed to get worst and worst. As yoga is an exercise that also compromises of meditation and diaphragmatic breathing, it connects body and soul together. Not only does yoga work on our physical body such as flexibility and strength, yoga also helps us to free our mind. According to some studies, yoga can help to relieve depression as it releases serotonin in our brain.
One of the main psychological benefits is that yoga makes us become aware. What does becoming aware actually mean? Awareness means that we become present in what’s happening right now. We do not think about any of our worries, or what is for dinner. We just focus completely on what we are doing, and this is where yoga can calm our mind and appreciate the present moment.
It’s Never Too Late To Start Now
I hope that by reading this article you begin to start feeling inspired to practice yoga, or if you are already a yogi, this is just a reminder why yoga is good for your health. There are many scientific studies out there proving the many benefits of yoga and how it can dramatically improve our quality of life, and this is not surprising as yoga has been around for more than 5,000 years!
Like everything in life, results will appear if you are consistent with your practice. If you are a beginner, I recommend you start with a yoga instructor, so that you can learn how to do the poses correctly and prevent any injury from happening. Like with any physical activity, we need to be careful to not push ourselves too hard and be aware of any unusual pains in our body in order to avoid harming our bodies.