Yoga is a centuries-old practice with its origins in ancient India. Being practised for thousands of years, yoga has become an increasingly popular form of exercise and relaxation. As more and more people seek ways to maintain good health and wellness, many of them have adopted practices of yoga as a means to cultivate inner peace, strength, flexibility, and balance.
In this blog, we will explore 10 benefits of yoga that contribute to a healthier lifestyle.
1. Increased Flexibility
It is a common misconception that one needs to be naturally flexible to be able to do any form of yoga. However, the fact is, yoga increases flexibility. Yoga involves stretching and bending the body into various poses. Hence, if you have tight hips, calves, hamstrings, quads, or shoulders, then, over time, regular yoga practice can help loosen these tight muscles and increase the range of motion in the joints. In one study, adults who participated in a yoga program for eight weeks showed significant increases in flexibility compared to those who did not practice yoga.
2. Improved Strength
Not only does yoga make you flexible, but it can also make your body strong. Some forms of yoga such as Ashtanga, and Vinyasa help build strength through repeated sun salutations. These are good for building strength in the upper body and legs. Poses such as core planks, dolphin, tree, warrior pose, boat pose, and more require the use of the body to help strengthen the muscles in the body, including the core, arms, legs, and back.
When practised over some time, this leads to improved overall fitness and better posture. In yoga, holding a pose for a longer time helps build strength quickly.
3. Reduced Stress
Yoga, in many ways, relieves the body of all the tension helps in alleviating stress and releasing hormones like endorphins. Yoga asanas such as child’s pose, corpse pose, and cat-cow pose, can induce relaxation in the body and reduce stress.
Practising yoga involves deep breathing or pranayama, which helps to calm the mind and reduce anxiety. 20-30 minutes of breathing practice every day reduces the stress hormones helping you to manage stress better and improving the quality of your sleep.
4. Better Sleep
Many studies have linked yoga to better sleep. Practising yoga before going to bed can help you calm the mind and aid in relaxation resulting in a peaceful night of sleep. Studies have shown that yoga also helps in dealing with cases of insomnia. Yoga poses like the thunderbolt pose, staff pose, child’s pose and corpse pose to improve the blood flow in your body which reduces stress and anxiety, helping you to sleep better.
5. Relief from Chronic Pain
Chronic pain is known to affect the quality of life. The rise in pain-related diseases such as arthritis, joint pain, fibromyalgia, back pain, neck pain and migraine, has made chronic pain a common symptom. When practised three to four times a week for six weeks, yoga has been seen to be effective in reducing pain perception, reducing inflammation, and increasing mobility for individuals with chronic pain conditions. However, it is crucial to consult with your doctor before taking up yoga so it complements your pain management plan.
6. Improved Heart Health
Recent statistics have shown that a majority of adults have started showing symptoms of heart disease at a younger age. Hectic lifestyles, no physical activities, and unhealthy diets are reasons people are experiencing heart-related issues. Hence, practising yoga has become imperative. Yoga has been shown to have immense benefits for cardiovascular health. Studies have suggested that the mind-body practice in yoga helps reduce blood pressure and cholesterol levels. The mountain pose, the chair pose, the tree pose, the forward bend, the big toe pose, the dog pose, the bridge pose and many more asanas in yoga helps relieve stress levels and are good for heart-related issues as well.
7. Boosted Immune System
Our bodies are vulnerable to infections by viruses and bacteria which cause cold, cough, stomach infections and flu. While proper hygiene and healthy eating habits can help build immunity, yoga has been shown to help boost the immune system. Practising yoga leads to an increase in the levels of immune cells in the body which helps boost overall health and reduce the risk of illness. Yoga helps calm the nervous system which is linked to the immune system.
Infections like cold and cough affect the upper respiratory system. Thus, practising different yoga asanas regularly not only improves the respiratory tract and boosts lung efficiency.
8. Increased Energy
Energy is required by the body for any kind of mental or physical activity. Regular yoga practice also helps to increase energy levels. Done regularly, yoga helps to increase body circulation, boosting energy levels. Practising before bedtime can also help put the body into a deep relaxation state. This triggers a good night’s sleep that rejuvenates the body’s energy and prepares you for the next day.
9. Better Breathing
Yoga breathing also known as “pranayama” involves deep breathing. This helps improve lung capacity, strengthens the chest muscles and improves the overall breathing. Yoga practices that focus on the thoracic and abdominal cavities also promote deep relaxation and reduce stress, which can benefit overall health.
10. Mental Clarity
One of the best benefits of yoga is its ability to combine meditation and breathing techniques during the practice. This enhances mental clarity and focus. Yoga poses such as an accomplished pose. In the crescent moon pose, the bridge pose circulates fresh blood to the head, producing mental clarity and calmness.
Your Takeaway to Improve Quality of Life
The health benefits of yoga are immense. It offers a holistic approach to improving health and by incorporating yoga into your daily life you will experience a range of positive effects. Increased strength, improved sleep, emotional balance, and a boost in energy levels are just some of the benefits.
At EuroSchool, we are committed to the all-around development of our students and hence extend our support to their mental and physical well-being too. Our Centre of Wellbeing is one such initiative aimed at promoting their physical and mental well-being. By embracing yoga, EuroSchool focuses on the holistic development of its students and empowers them to lead healthier, happier lives.