By Katya - Lotus Flower Yoga
Yoga can provide you with so many benefits physically, mentally, and emotionally. With a regular yoga practice, you won't just start to feel stronger and more flexible, but you may also start to notice that you feel calmer with a sense of an improved overall wellbeing. In this blog post, you will learn 10 amazing benefits of yoga that you will not want to miss out on.
- REDUCES STRESS
A huge benefit of Yoga is that it is known for reducing stress levels. As we perform yoga poses and connect to our breath through Yoga practice, it directly affects the nervous system, moving us out of fight and flight and into rest and digest, which will encourage the body to relax. As the body moves into the relaxation response controlled by the parasympathetic nervous system, many positive things start to happen to the body, such as slowing down the heart rate, increasing the gland function and ultimately encouraging the body and mind to reduce and release stress.
- IMPROVES BREATHING
In a yoga class we work with the body through yoga poses, but we also become more aware of our breathing and perform breathing exercises. Conscious breathing is almost always an essential part of a Yoga practice. Yoga teaches us that our breath is a manifestation of our vital energy and allows us to be in this world. Yoga helps us to understand our breathing and learn about our breath.
"Breathing is a direct means of absorbing prana (life force/energy) and the manner in which we breathe sets off pranic vibrations which influence our entire being." swami Muktibodhananda.
- LOWERS BLOOD PRESSURE
Studies have shown that those who do Yoga practice three times a week, and include breathing and relaxation, have lower blood pressure!
"Researchers analysed data from 49 trials with a total of 3,517 participants who were typically middle-aged, overweight women and men who already had high blood pressure or were close to developing the condition [....] When people with high blood pressure did yoga three times a week in sessions that also included breathing and relaxation exercises; they experienced average decreases of 11 mmHG more than control groups in systolic blood pressure and 6 mmHG more in diastolic blood pressure." https://www.reuters.com/
- IMPROVES FLEXIBILITY
In Yoga, you move your body in a range of motion, which helps to increase flexibility. When we move the body into a Yoga asana, the muscles are either contracting (agonist) or releasing and elongating (antagonist). Every Yoga stretch that you do can increase the range of motion within the muscle fibres and allows them to become more flexible over time.
- IMPROVES STRENGTH
Yoga has the benefits of improving our overall strength. Yoga posture work with different muscle groups can strengthen our resilience. Many poses are active, and require our ability to hold them for several breaths. A regular yoga practice will create strength within the core, legs, arms, shoulders, and many other body areas.
- ENHANCES THE IMMUNE SYSTEM
Yoga can help to enhance the immune system. Doing a yoga practice that includes yoga poses, breathing and relaxation will help to move the body out of fight and flight, and into rest and digest, which encourages healing of the body. Stress is known to be one of the culprits of a weakened immune system, so yoga can play a vital role in supporting the immune system and helping overall well-being.
"Stress responses increase strain upon the circulatory system due to increased heart rate etc. Stress can also affect the immune system by raising blood pressure." https://www.simplypsychology.org/
- HELPS WITH LYMPHATIC SYSTEM DRAINAGE
When performing yoga poses with breathing, we are offering the body a cleaning system, a way to move in order to shift the lymphatic system, especially when we include inverted yoga poses. Yoga can help move the lymphatic system to rid of toxins, and eliminate unwanted waste and stresses within the body. When the body and the mind have the right setting to become clear and vibrant, the immunity will become stronger.
- IMPROVES CONCENTRATION AND FOCUS
All Yoga postures require focus as we move in and out of them, which allows the mind to strengthen its concentration and focus levels not only on the mat, but also when we are off the mat. Yoga begins to train the mind to let go of unwanted thoughts, worries and distractions, encouraging us to be in the present moment, the only moment we truly have!
- HELPS DIGESTION
Many of the beautiful poses performed in Yoga benefit the digestive system due to the gentle internal massaging action. As we move into Yoga postures, we encourage the body to open up on a deeper energetic level, stimulating and bringing balance and harmony into the functioning of the organs, meridians and body as a whole.
"According to medical scientists, yoga therapy is successful because of the balance created in the nervous and endocrine system which directly influences all the other systems and organs of the body" Swami Satyananda Saraswati.
- INCREASES ENERGY AND VITALITY
Yoga postures open the body and release any blocked energy that may be stagnant. As you breathe deeply, you draw pure fresh energy/oxygen/prana into the body; into areas of the body that may feel tight or hold tension. The overall effects of a Yoga practice can have different outcomes which are dependent on the class plan. Despite this, your body will receive more energy and vitality, even if you are feeling very relaxed.
If you haven’t started a yoga practice yet, I hope that these benefits will encourage you to try yoga. If you already do yoga you may already be familiar with receiving some of these wonderful physical and mental benefits. Yoga really is a journey and we can start that journey exactly where we are.
Author: Katya - www.lotusfloweryoga.co.uk