No matter your age, Yoga has proven to have numerous medical benefits. It is not only an effective way to reduce stress, but it’s also a good way to get fit! Yoga is a holistic practice that unites the mind, body, and spirit by combining controlled breathing, physical poses, and meditation.
Here is a list of the top 10 effects on the body:
1. Builds Muscle Strength – Yoga helps to build strong muscles, which protect us from conditions such as arthritis and back pain. Instead of lifting weights at the gym, which builds strength only, yoga helps you build strength combined with flexibility.
2. Helps Your Posture – Poor posture can cause back and neck pain, as well as other muscle and joint problems. As you slump, your body may compensate by flattening the normal inward curves in your neck and lower back, which can lead to pain and degenerative arthritis of the spine.
3. Improves Your Bone Health – Many postures in yoga require that you lift your own weight, which ultimately helps to strengthen bones and protect against bone diseases, such as osteoporosis.
4. Improves Your Balance – Regularly practicing yoga improves balance and increases proprioception, which is what allows you to control your limbs without directly looking at them. Better balance means fewer falls, and for the elderly, this is very important.
5. Relieves Stress – Yoga helps to slow down the mental fatigue associated with frustration, anger, fear and regret…all emotions that are known to cause stress. Since stress causes a multitude of health problems, including migraines, ulcers, IBS, and heart attacks, lowering your stress levels will help you live longer and healthier.
6. Flexibility – Improved flexibility is one of the most noticeable benefits of yoga. Tight hips/hamstrings can cause strains on the knee joints and back pain. However, as you continue in your yoga endeavor, you will start to notice that aches and pains start to disappear.
7. Improves Lung Function – Yoga has been known to improve various gauges of lung function, including the maximum volume of the breath and the effectiveness of the exhalation. Yoga promotes breathing through the nose, rather than the lungs, a technique which filters the air, warms it, and humidifies it.
8. Relaxes Your System – When you practice yoga, you are encouraged to relax, take slow breaths, and focus on your environment, thus putting you in the parasympathetic nervous system. This system is not only calming, but it also lowers breathing and heart rates.
9. Boosts Immunity – When you contract and stretch muscles, you increase the flow of lymph, a fluid that contains infection-fighting white blood cells. This helps your body to fight infection and destroy cancer cells.
10. Regulates Your Adrenal Glands – Yoga helps to lower your cortisol levels, also known as the stress hormone. Elevated cortisol levels lower immune function and bone density, hinder learning and memory, and cause weight gain, high blood pressure, and heart disease, just to name a few.