Practicing Yoga and the Health Benefits
From relieving stress to improved mood, flexibility and strength; the health benefits of yoga are endless. It is easy to understand that the practice has been around for over 5000 years, and with higher levels of stress in our modern society its gaining more and more in popularity. Practicing yoga regularly can make us cope with stress better and help us to move and navigate more consciously through life. Here are five health benefits of practicing yoga to help you stay motivated the next time you roll out the mat.
Improved Strength and Flexibility
Popular yoga positions such as the plank pose and downward facing dog will help to stretch the body and tone the muscles. The poses will simultaneously work on strengthening the arms, legs and core. A popular misbelief is that we have to be flexible in order to practice yoga, but the truth is rather the opposite. We get flexible by practicing yoga and it comes with time. Yoga is an excellent way of increasing mobility which usually decreases with age: regular yoga practice can allow us to move in ways we have not been able to move in years. Improved flexibility can significantly reduce the risk of getting hurt while working out or engaging in regular day to day activities. It is even possible to notice that old pains and aches get better or completely disappears.
A Great Mood Booster
Practicing yoga daily can increase a sense of peace and happiness in life. It will awaken the main energy centers in our bodies, called chakras, which allows energy to circulate throughout our entire body. Poses that opens up the chest, such as the cobra pose, will help us to breath more deeply. The higher oxygen levels in the body will make us feel more awake and alert. Yoga has also been shown to increase serotonin levels in the brain (the feel good hormone) as well as boosting dopamine levels which induce feelings of happiness and hopefulness.
Yoga is an amazing antidote to stress. The meditation techniques that is being used in yoga can help to quite down the mind-chatter, which is usually the root cause of stress. Breathing deeply also pushes the attention to the present moment and brings a sense of much needed calmness. Relaxing yoga positions, such as the forward fold and lying down with the feet up against the wall, is both soothing for the body and soul. Even a short practice of yoga can help to relieve stress.
Many yoga positions builds muscles in the core that are important when sitting down or standing. Since yoga is a great tool for building awareness in the body, it also helps us to “check in” with ourselves and to notice when we are slouching. A better posture also makes us feel more confident, energized and less prone to injuries.
The process of observing the breath will help to calm down the mind. Meditation teaches us to focus on only one thing and let everything else go. In a meditative state the breathing gets deeper and blood pressure and heart rate lowers. With an increased mental stability we will be able to collect and retain more information. Improved cognitive function happens when we are able to clear or minds and relax. Even meditating for a few minutes can boost the concentration throughout the day.
Hopefully these five health benefits will help you to stay motivated towards a regular yoga practice. Ready to take your next step in your yoga journey? See our upcoming retreats or host your own retreat on our private island resort. ?