If you’ve noticed that many friends are participating in yoga, you are not alone.
In fact, yoga is one of the most popular activities for aligning your body and soul. Worldwide, over 300 million people are regularly practicing yoga according to the International Yoga Federation.
Its popularity is rapidly increasing for people of all ages. One of the major reasons behind this is the many benefits that yoga has for the body and soul. Let’s take a look at some of those benefits.
There are many people around the world who suffer from mental health concerns ranging from anxiety to depression. One of the benefits of yoga is that it can help improve overall mood and mental health. This is not just anecdotal but has been confirmed by many researchers.
Studies have shown that yoga is effective in reducing anxiety and symptoms of depression. In fact, some therapists recommend yoga as part of a comprehensive mental health care routine. These effects are largely due to the goal of yoga as channeling an intentional connection between your mind and body.
When you think about yoga, you probably don’t think about strength training. This is not surprising as yoga is much more accessible for beginners than exercises such as weight training.
However, yoga is very impactful when it comes to increasing strength. This certainly varies by type of yoga and experience level. And many athletes are turning to yoga as a means of improving their overall strength training.
It is also a very impactful practice for building strength is specific populations that cannot safely engage in other types of strength exercise. For example, the elderly can have great benefits from yoga.
This is perhaps one of the most easily understood benefits. After all, just watching people do yoga likely bring connotations to flexibility. People partaking in even the lowest intensities of yoga will see improved flexibility through finding and holding poses.
Flexibility is often a misunderstood component of our body’s overall health. However, it greatly reduces the risks of injuries to muscles. For this reason, yoga is particularly beneficial as people age, helping retain flexibility during a time in life when it typically decreases naturally.
If there is one lesson that we can take away from the past two pandemic-filled years, it is the value of a functioning immune system. There are many things that can strengthen your body’s immune performance and research suggests that yoga may be one.
More research is needed to confirm this (research which is currently being conducted); however, studies have found strong links between the practice of yoga and improved immune functioning.
Why is it believed that this relationship exists? There are actually a few different reasons.
First, it is known that yoga relieves stress while stress, in turn, hurts the performance of the immune system. Secondly, yoga is known to fight inflammation, which causes damage to cells and can trigger the immune system to work too hard.
Better Heart Health
When you think about improving your cardiovascular system, you likely think about engaging in rigorous exercises such as running. Cardio definitely has a positive impact on heart health.
However, yoga is also effective for improving your overall cardiovascular system. This is not done through the actual physical activities and stretching but rather from the breathing.
Controlled breathing (known as pranayama) was found in many studies to have positive benefits in the hart’s stroke capacity, arterial pressure, and contractility. This type of controlled breathing helps to act upon the part of the brain that controls the heart, generating these benefits.
Did you know that doing yoga improves your brain? This is due to the fact that yoga is geared to connect your body and soul through intentional movement paired with controlled breathing. The totality of yoga strengthens the mind-body connection.
A meta analysis (review of many previous studies) has found that participating in yoga improves the neuroplasticity of the brain. This is a term that means the brain’s ability to form new neural connections. It also strengthens the areas of the brain that help with motivation, focus, and executive functioning.
Yoga truly is an exercise that helps the entire body.
Get Better Sleep
Up to one-third of people suffer from insomnia on occasion with 10% suffering from chronic insomnia.
Fortunately, yoga is effective at improving the quality and duration of sleep, making it a useful form of exercise for those wanting to get better sleep. This is largely thought to be the case due to the fact that yoga is designed to calm the mind as your mind and body becomes more aligned with one another.
The effects can vary depending on what type of yoga is practices. While all types of yoga have been shown to have positive effects on how quickly people fall asleep and their ability to stay asleep, yoga nidra has been shown to have an even more significant benefit.
What Does This Mean?
While all exercise has benefits, yoga had tremendous benefits for the mind, body, and soul. It brings physical enhancements, improved mental health, and peace of mind.
For this reason, many people are beginning to try yoga. While the reasons for partaking differ widely from person to person, the benefits are available to all.
If you would like to get these benefits from engaging in yoga, you will find that it is a very accessible activity to begin. There are many places where you can receive instruction and some yoga routines can even be found free online.
Additionally, all it really costs to start out is a comfortable set of clothing and a quality yoga mat. Try out yoga today and improve your body and soul.