Top 5 Health Benefits of Yoga
There are really more than 5 reasons why yoga is so good for you, and the physical, psychological, and subtle benefits of this practice could fill books. But following is a brief highlight of some of the reasons you should consider adding yoga to your world. Here are 5 health benefits of yoga.
Mental Health is Greatly Enhanced – Yoga offers so many benefits in the psychological department it is difficult to name them all in a brief overview, but among them are an improved overall mood and sense of well-being, more contentedness with others, lowered depressive states, less hostility toward the self and others, less anxiety, feelings of self-actualization increase, motivation increases, and more.
Respiratory Efficiency Increases – Further adding on to the health benefits of yoga, yoga is one of the few practices that utilizes pranayama – the cultivation of life force or chi through breathing. While many people practice pranayama as a means to obtain higher states of awareness, they also end up having some serious side benefits including increased lung capacity, more tidal volume (the total amount of air your lungs can hold at any one time), and an ability to reduce the pace of their breathing which has been directly linked to a longer lifespan.
Body Weight Normalizes – While doing an hour of hatha yoga, or even power yoga won’t likely burn as many calories as doing a high intensity interval workout, yoga has a way of normalizing body weight by restoring hormonal balance in the body. By lowering levels of cortisol and our nervous system’s constant fight or flight response, not only are we less likely to overeat, or eat to suppress unpleasant emotions, we also train our brains to feel satiated more easily because we aren’t constantly in panic mode. Stress is known to cause obesity and fuel virtually all disease, and yoga is a perfect countermeasure.
Strength, Agility and Flexibility are all Increased – Many sports will give you strength. Others will give you more agility, but few practices will increase strength, agility, and flexibility all at once. In my years of teaching I’ve seen professional athletes overcome injury by increasing their range of motion with yoga, and victims of a double mastectomy regain full mobility after debilitating surgeries that left loads of scar tissue in their bodies. Nothing really compares for repairing the body and making sure that the ligaments and connective tissues are just as strong and pliable as the muscles themselves.
Blood Pressure is Normalized – Yoga has specific benefits for hypo-reactors in blood pressure. For those suffering from hypertension, yoga has been shown to be even more effective than dietary changes for improving blood pressure.