If you’re ever become curious and wondered how can yoga improve health, the following pointers will be of interest to you. The practice of yoga is both physical and mental, which, if practiced consistently, can drastically improve your quality of life.
Creates Strength and Flexibility
It is no secret that yogis are bendy. However, the practice of yoga incorporates a balance between strength and flexibility exercises. A traditional practice of asanas (or physical postures) will typically move equally between strengthening poses sequenced simultaneously with stretching poses. A practice of yoga will both lengthen and strengthen the muscles of the body creating a perfect combination of strength and flexibility.
Yoga is a practice of balance. The word “yoga” literally means to create a balance or union of body, mind and soul. A vast majority of the classic asanas (or poses) of yoga are balance postures. When consistently practiced, balance postures can drastically improve little by little to create stability and poise on the yoga mat, which can then translate to maintaining stability and poise off the mat as well.
Increases Blood Flow
Any form of exercise moves the blood in the body and yoga is no exception. Poses such as twists are said to wring out stale blood from the internal organs and revitalize them with fresh blood as the twists are released. Inversions stimulate blood flow by moving the venous blood (with the help of gravity) from the lower extremities to be recirculated through the heart. The increase in blood flow from yoga helps to promote cell growth and organ function as well as maintain a low heart rate and steady blood pressure.
Slows the Breath
One of the major elements of a yoga practice is pranayama (or breath work). In traditional Hatha Yoga (or the physical practice of yoga), the breath is the focal point of the practice. Practitioners breath slowly and fully and allow the breath to guide the body through each movement physically increasing lung capacity as well as drawing a mental awareness to the sacredness of the breath.
Boosts Immune System
More and more scientific studies are backing the practice of yoga to maintain a healthy and functioning immune system. The four main physiological systems of the body linked to immunity are the circulatory system, the digestive system, the nervous system and the endocrine system. Yoga helps to stimulate them all. The practice of yoga helps to lower stress hormones that can compromise the immune system and improves lung capacity and the whole respiratory tract to improve oxygen flow within the body.
Numerous postures in yoga stimulate the digestive tract helping to regulate the body. Many yoga poses also stimulates the lymphatic system to help remove toxins from the physical body. Furthermore, yoga optimizes the function of many of the internal organs by supplying freshly oxygenated blood. Yoga is a holistic practice that focuses on the body, the breath and the mind allowing for a synchronization of optimal functioning for all facets of the body to help maintain a healthy immune system.
Positively Affects Mental Health
It is no secret that meditation and yoga have drastic effects on practitioners’ well being. Yoga and meditation are often recommended or even prescribed by mental health professionals to help patients suffering from anxiety or depression. The practice of yoga draws awareness to the body, the breath, and the mind teaching its practitioners to reflect before reacting both on and off the mat, which can increase self-esteem as well as self-awareness. The practice also encourages mindfulness and presence, which are often linked to higher levels of happiness.
Yoga teaches us to learn from ourselves. Practicing yoga encourages self-awareness and self-care. By simply observing and becoming aware of our own tendencies (good and bad), we can find a path toward either boosting or eliminating them. By drawing attention to the body, the breath, and the mind, we can work to improve our relationship with these parts of ourselves and learn to care for ourselves holistically.
The practice of yoga has countless health benefits that affect both the physical and the mental body. A regular yoga practice is a great way to keep the body fit and the mind aware and present in the moment. Yoga brings calm to one’s life, which is invaluable in regards to health and happiness.