Have you ever had anyone try to explain the benefits of yoga to you? They’re SUPER passionate, but can’t clearly articulate the extraordinary things yoga does for the body, mind and spirit.
That’s why we’ve come up with this list of the TOP 20 things yoga can do for you. Check it out to see if adding yoga to your workout routine is a good move for you.
1. Increases flexibility
This is the ONE yoga benefit most people are aware of.
Stiffness increases as people age or if muscles aren’t stretched regularly. When most people start a yoga program, they’re unable to bend and touch their toes or raise their arms over their heads.
However, over time, seemingly impossible yoga poses become easy to do as stiffness disappears and flexibility improves. An increase in flexibility results in fewer aches and pains, as muscles and connective tissue become more limber and lubricated, making it easier for joints to work properly.
The lesson: Start slow with a beginner yoga class. Commit to attending a few times a week for a few months. At the end of that period, you’ll find that you’re more flexible and enthusiastic about taking your yoga training to the next level.
2. Builds strength
Most people associate strength building with weight lifting and endurance exercises. However, yoga builds muscles, as well. The muscles developed by doing yoga tend to be longer, leaner and more flexible than those built through other types of training.
Adding yoga to a broader workout regimen will help develop higher-quality muscle tissue.
3. Improves posture
Your body is a carefully calibrated instrument. Hold your head at the wrong angle, twist your back incorrectly or bend your knee in an unexpected way and you‘ll experience pain. For some people, these relative minor incidents turn into long-term degenerative diseases.
Yoga makes you more conscious about how you carry your body, which can contribute to improved posture and motion.
Over time, this increased awareness will help you carry yourself in a more confident and attractive way while avoiding short- and long-term physical damage.
4. Brings inner peace
Yoga breaks the negative thinking patterns that loop around in people’s heads. This allows fresher and healthier ideas to replace them, leading to greater inner peace.
A more peaceful mindset can result in improved health overall.
5. Prevents degeneration of joint tissue
Unlike most other types of exercise — yoga pushes joints through the full range of motion they’re capable of. LIke many things in life, joints are “use it” or “lose it.”
Using your joints to their full potential can help keep them from degenerating and losing function.
6. Provides “me” time
Yoga isn’t a team sport. Even when you do it with a group, it’s something you do for yourself. It provides time to focus on WHAT and HOW you feel and WHY. This gives you the power and control you need to take charge and improve all aspects of your being.
If you’re willing to “own” your change, yoga gives you the power to affect it.
7. Protects your spine
Most people aren’t aware that the spine needs “exercise” to stay healthy. One of the few ways to work the spine is through yoga. Backbends, forward bends and twists are a great way to stretch the spine and keep the spinal disks — the critical shock absorbers between the vertebrae — at peak function.
8. Encourages long-term thinking about health and well-being
Many people begin enjoying the benefits of yoga during and after their first workout (despite the aches and pains usually experienced by beginners). However, REAL improvement increases exponentially over time.
This gets most people who do yoga regularly to think more about big-picture, long-term physical, mental and emotional improvements rather than short-term gains.
9. Strengthens bones
Lifting weights is one way to build stronger bones. However, it’s not the ONLY way.
Many yoga poses require you to use your arms and legs to lift your own weight. Studies show doing this helps build bone strength, even among aging people who are losing bone density.
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10. Encourages positive life changes
The meditative component of yoga can help you get a broader and deeper persoective on your thoughts and feelings, increasing self awareness. The higher your level of self awareness, the more likely you are to feel empowered to enact positive change in your life.
Many people are able to control anger, hostility and other issues by comitting to yoga. Starting a yoga routine can be a good first step toward eliminating negative habits like eating and drinking too much or smoking.
Yoga provides the kickstart many people need to take their lives to the NEXT level.
11. Maximizes cardiovascular efficiency.
The relaxation exercises that are part of most yoga routines can help open-up blood vessels, increasing blood flow to all parts of the body, even to extremities like hands and feet. This helps boost energy and alertness and improves muscle performance.
12. Optimizes your heart rate
Certain types of yoga classes, especially more vigorous routines that encourage movement, can get your heart performing at the same level as light or moderate types of aerobic exercise, such as vigorous walking, skating or bicycling. This can help improve overall cardiovascular health, lower resting heart rate, increase endurance and improve oxygen use during physical activity.
13. Makes you feel happier
Feeling sad? Several studies show that consistently practicing yoga can increase serotonin levels, improve neurotransmitter performance and reduce feelings of depression. Taken together, these things could leave you feeling more content.
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14. Improves focus
Doing yoga right requires maintaining focus on the here-and-now. Studies show that this shift in mindset, done regularly, can improve coordination, problem-solving ability, reaction time, memory and ability to recall information.
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15. Provides enlightenment
Good yoga instructors go beyond helping you improve your body. They offer insights that can enhance your overall life. They often give advice on improving balance and posture, relaxing, reducing pain, enhancing spirituality and gaining control over difficult aspects of your life.
They find sensitive ways to tell it like it is.
16. Raises self-esteem
Social media critiques, bad relationships and poor family dynamics leave many people feeling negative about themselves. This causes them to take drugs, drink and eat too much and sleep poorly.
Practicing yoga can help you envision a better, more positive self. This vision may come slowly, at first, but over time, you’ll develop a clearer, more coherent concept of how you can live a better — and healthier — life.
17. Lets you relax
Another well-known benefit of yoga: Its ability to help you relax and breathe easy. It can shift your mindset — and related body functions — from the common, aggressive fight-or-flight response to a calmer, more reasoned and relaxed approach to addressing the challenges you face.
Yoga is one of the best ways to lower breathing and heart rates and decrease blood pressure.
18. Improves balance
How does yoga promote better balance? It enhances the ability to more clearly and deeply feel what your body is doing, including how it performs in space.
For people who are aging or experiencing joint pain, the improved balance that yoga creates can lead to greater confidence and independence. Even athletes can benefit from the power improved posture provides.
19. Promotes deeper sleep
Today’s fast pace of life makes it impossible for many people to get a restful night’s sleep. Yoga provides an opportunity to slow a hyper-active nervous system and calm down.
A calmer demeanor makes it easier to fall asleep and enjoy a deeper, more beneficial night’s rest, which can make you feel energized the next day.
20. Improves breathing
Breathing correctly is a MAJOR component of a sound yoga workout. Over time, it can make your cardiovascular functioning more efficient — allowing you to take fewer, but deeper breaths, each supplying the body with more oxygen.
For people with lung issues, yoga — perhaps more than any other type of exercise — can be a good way to begin restoring normal function.
Of course, you should ALWAYS consult with your medical professional prior to starting any new exercise program.
Are you ready to get started?
Are you FINALLY convinced that yoga could benefit you? We thought so!
Get started by making a commitment to taking a few beginner classes a week for several months with a reputable instructor. A single class — or a few — won’t allow you to experience the full benefits of yoga, which grow exponentially over time. That’s why it’s important to make a long term commitment to it.
Have you experienced the benefits of yoga? Please share them in the comments. We may use your story in a future article about yoga.
The products and information found on this website are not intended to replace professional medical advice or treatment. Statements and claims have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Our dietary supplements are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease or medical condition. Individual results may vary.
ThinkitDrinkit urges you to seek the advice of a qualified professional for any health concern lasting more than two weeks, and to share with your provider any information pertaining to your health and well-being, including the use of supplemental nutrition.
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