With historical origins that have been linked to ancient Indian philosophy, yoga is one of those things that can be used as a mind and body practice. Like most meditative movement practices used to improve the body’s overall health, the majority of yoga styles practiced normally combine physical movements, breathing techniques, and relaxation to help individuals connect with their inner self.
As yoga continues to become more and more common in the 21st century, researchers are now able to equip themselves with the technology needed to look deeper into the body in order to see what happens when we practice yoga.
While amount of research on ways yoga impacts the human body is at an all-time high, scientists believe that much of the research done is still in the early stages. So, if you ever believed yoga was only for people who can touch their toes or for people who live in the Northwest, it’s not. Yoga is for everyone.
That being said, not all forms of yoga are the same. Some forms of yoga require more movement, while others require more meditation and relaxation methods. The purpose of yoga practice is to challenge yourself mentally and physically while not overwhelming yourself. At this edge, that’s when the focus shift from stretching, to breathing as your mind searches for a calmer state. What are some benefits of doing yoga? Well, let’s take a look and see.
Benefits Beyond the Mat
Cardiovascular Benefits: Whether you’ve practiced yoga your entire life or just started taking classes, you’ve probably noticed some benefits almost immediately. One of those benefits is an increase in blood flow, since yoga can easily get your blood flowing. How? Well, relaxation allows the body to improve circulation thanks to the various movements done in yoga. It can also help the body deliver more oxygen to your cells. This is what allows the body to function better as a result.
Twisting brings fresh blood to organs and can help reverse blood flow from the lower body to the brain. This is what helps prevent blood clotsfrom forming throughout the body, which can cause long-term damage to vital organs as a result. In addition, yoga has also been known to increase what’s called “hemoglobin levels” found only in red blood cells, preventing the chance of individuals suffering from heart attacks, and strokes.
Improves Body Image: Yoga has the ability to help individuals develop inner awareness. That’s because it focuses your attention on your body’s natural abilities during that time. If you’ve ever been to a yoga studio, then you know that you hardly ever see any mirrors present. That’s so people who practice yoga can focus their awareness inward, rather than outward on their pose –– or on other people in the studio. Awareness of the body is also something that can be increased through yoga practices, which helps improve your image.
In theory, certain yoga positions not only help the body, they also train the body. How? By teaching the body to understand its limitations. With this knowledge, individuals can practice yoga and practice being safe while doing it.
Helps Minimize Back Pain Relief: Regular stretching of muscles, tendons, and ligaments that support the spine can, in fact, reduce back pain. If you’re like most people who live with back pain, then you know living with this kind of pain can drive you to rely on some harsh solutions — ones that involve pain medications, expensive treatments, and even surgeries. Stretching is key for people who suffer from lower back pain. If you stretch your hamstring, then you can help expand the motion in the pelvis area, which lowers the risk of stress in the lower back.
Practicing good posture and proper alignment can also help individuals avoid back pain. While yoga might not helpful for severe back pain, those with occasional soreness or random aches and pains may benefit greatly from practicing certain postures that can lengthen your back. Remember, the focus of yoga, in this case, is to encourage your body to develop multiple defenses against different causes of back pain. This might include weak abdominal muscles and pelvic ones as well. That means when you work to strengthen these muscles, you won’t only improve your muscles, you’ll also improve your posture, which can reduce muscle strain on your back. Additionally, stretching can also increase flexibility by allowing muscles to expand and receive more blood flow towards the tighter areas of the body.
Out of all the benefits yoga has on the body, perhaps the greatest one is the ability to inspire and improve self-care to promote healthy living. So, as you start to become more involved in your health through yoga, you can also practice making positive changes in your life. Now that you have a better understanding of the benefits yoga has on the body, you’ll have even more motivation to begin living a healthier life and stepping onto the yoga mat. With all that in mind, think about letting go of all the tension you have built up, and instead picture yourself relaxing and focusing on your inner you.