There are many benefits to practicing yoga. For example, practicing yoga can help to reduce the physical effects of stress on the body because not only does yoga address the physical body, but also the mental and emotional aspects of ourselves.
Yoga is a great way to relax. When we encourage ourselves to take the time out and truly let ourselves gently relax through the various practices of yoga then this can lower our levels of the stress hormone cortisol. By lowering these levels our stress levels are impacted but also other areas of body including:
* Blood pressure and heart rate is lowered
* Digestion and the immune system is improved
* Anxiety, fatigue, insomnia, depression are reduced
Helps to relieve some aches and pain
Studies have shown that practicing yoga asanas (postures), meditation, or a combination of the two, reduced pain for those with conditions such as:
* Back & neck pain
* Multiple sclerosis
* Auto-immune diseases
The practice of yoga poses help to improve our posture and relieve some back, neck and joint pain. Emotional aches or pains are also included in what some report can be soothed with the practice of yoga.
Promotes our breathing
Within Yoga, there is more than practicing just the postures. There are also breathing exercises that teach us to take slower, more deep breaths. With the practice of this yogic breathing, our lung functionality improves and we also are increasing the amount of oxygen available to the body.
Gives us a focus on the present moment
The practice of Yoga and Meditation helps us to bring awareness to the present moment; we are not stuck in the past or worried about the future, we are in the here and now of the present moment. This helps us to improve our coordination, concentration, memory and reaction time. When our focus is on the present moment rather than the past or future, we become more at peace and content with ourselves including the world around us, rather than wasting this precious time and energy with worry of the unforeseen future and anxiety from reminiscing of the unchangeable past.
Increases our flexibility
Certain postures will help to improve flexibility, mobility and increase our range of movement (or motion). Yoga is for any age, any body type, and any physical condition. Yoga is for everybody. Almost every beginner will be unable to touch their toes during their first yoga class. Remember, we all have to start somewhere and have different, unique journeys. Gradually with time and practice; the ligaments, tendons, and muscles will lengthen. This will increase the elasticity in our body, which helps to make poses doable.
Creates more strength in our body
The long list of various yoga asanas (postures) just about use every muscle in the body, even the ones that you do not know exist. Because of this, we increase strength literally from head to the toes! While these postures strengthen the body, they also provide the opportunity of relieving tension built up in the body. So not only are the muscles strengthened, but our confidence and awareness is also heightened.
Helps in having good weight management
Yoga, even the less vigorous styles, can help to promote weight control by reducing the cortisol levels and burning excess calories. When following the lifestyle of yoga (if interested, you can look into the Yoga Sutras or the Eight Limbs of Yoga) which promotes healthy eating habits and a sense of well being. For example; letting go of habits such as our negative ways of thinking, partying, over-eating, fast food diets, etc. We learn to take care of our body, inside and out.
Improves the circulation in our body
Yoga helps to improve our circulation and moves the oxygenated blood to the cells in our body more easily and effectively. Although yoga is not technically "aerobic" or a "cardio", you are still lowering the risk against heart disease and high blood pressure.
Gives us a sense of inner peace and contentment
The meditative aspects of yoga help many to reach a deeper, more spiritual and satisfying place in their lives. Many who begin to practice for other reasons have reported this to be a key reason that yoga has become an essential part of their daily lives.