YOGA 10 Health Benefits for Mind, Body, and Soul
Weight loss, muscle tone, reduced stress, and increased energy are some of the benefits that many people enjoy through the simple and natural practice of yoga. Yoga is not limited to the physical benefits realized from the practice of physical postures (asanas). It also yields mental and emotional benefits as well. Yoga can provide you with an overall feeling of harmony leading to a calmer, happier and more fulfilling life. Here are 10 top benefits of a regular practice.
1. Increased Strength
Asanas use both big and small muscle groups in the body, helping to increase strength from head to toe. Yoga works and strengthens muscles by holding poses for an extended amount of time while breathing into them. Using core muscles in each position allows the practice to become more stable and centered. Yoga also helps build bone density through weight bearing postures.
2. Weight Loss
This is one of the most popular benefits of yoga. Surya Namaskar (sun salutation yoga sequence) and Kapalabhati Pranayama (yogic breath control exercises) are two examples of yoga techniques that help body weight normalize. In addition, with a regular yoga practice we tend to become more aware of the kind of food our body needs which, in turn, encourages healthy eating habits and helps us control and maintain our weight.
3. Tension Relief
Practicing a few minutes of yoga each day naturally relieves tension (both physical and mental). By encouraging relaxation, yoga can lower the level of the stress hormone cortisol in the body.
4. Inner Peace
We all yearn to visit serene places and connect with nature. However, we seldom realize that true peace is within us. Yoga’s meditative aspects can help practitioners feel calm and centered and enjoy a sense of peace.
5. Improves Immunity
Our system is a synthesis of body, mind and spirit. For this reason, a physical irregularity can affect the mind. In turn, any restlessness present in the mind can manifest as a physical illness. Yoga postures massage the organs and strengthen muscles. In addition, breathing techniques and meditation help release stress and improve our immune system.
6. Greater Awareness and Clarity
The mind is constantly engaged with thoughts from the past and the future. Simply being aware of this mental tendency can help us relax our mind. Like meditation, yoga keeps practitioners focused on the present moment, which opens the way to improved concentration, coordination, reaction time and memory.
7. Better Relationships
Yoga can even help us improve relationships with our friends or loved ones. With its calming and happiness-boosting benefits, there’s no doubt that a regular yoga practice is good for all relationships. In addition, by practicing yoga we come to know and love ourselves. When we are self-aware, and self-loving, we are better able to have a relationship with another.
8. Increases Energy
As stress levels go down, energy levels improve. Combining asanas in a series or flow helps to improve circulation in the body and move oxygenated blood to the cells more efficiently. Moving through the postures also helps to flush internal organs and detoxify the body resulting in increased energy to keep us fresh throughout the day.
9. Better Flexibility and Posture
Just including yoga in our daily routine will improve flexibility and mobility, increase range of movement and even reduce joint aches and pains. Many people can't touch their toes during their first yoga class, but find they are able to do more poses with practice as they stretch their muscles. Yoga also helps to improve body alignment, resulting in better posture and helping to relieve back, neck, joint and muscle problems.
10. Heightens Intuition
Intuition is a roadmap leading to our inner self. Yoga is a quiet practice and allows us to find answers from within. This enhances the development of intuition, and helps us make decisions that are true to who we are. With practice we can effortlessly realize what to do, and how and when to do it.