Do you frequent the gym and you are looking to expand your fitness horizons? Are you an exercise newcomer struggling to find a place to start? Are you a yoga skeptic and have never taken the plunge to actually try a class? The truth is, yoga has many benefits and has the potential to bring a whole new level of health and wellness to your life. Read on to discover seven significant benefits yoga can bring to you and has already brought to countless others. Let’s move past the stereotypes that say yoga is for hippies, people without any sense of athleticism and individuals with the ultimate skills in flexibility. The fact of the matter is, and has been proven, that yoga is for everyone.
- Optimism Yoga has a natural ability to increase levels of GABA, or gamma-aminobutyric acid, a neurotransmitter present in the brain which lowers anxiety and gives people a sense of calm and general well being. If you are naturally a more stressed and anxious person, yoga has the potential to truly change the quality of your life by helping you to relax and go about your days more calmly. In a sense, yoga can be a natural form of antidepressant. Just as depression medications increase GABA levels, so does yoga.
- Pain Relief When you are in pain, the last thing you are likely thinking about is exercising. But wait! Incorporating yoga into your life as a part of your daily regimen can actually lower chronic pain. How? There are “markers” in your body called Cytokines which indicate you are holding inflammation in that area. After practicing yoga regularly, these cytokines decrease and you are left with less pain. Yoga has also been shown to lessen arthritis and fibromyalgia pain.
- Quality of Sleep Regular yoga practice is known to cure several conditions, some of which include insomnia or abnormal sleeping habits. Yoga helps people to unwind and de-stress at the end of the day. When you feel more relaxed and have a clear mind, getting a quality night’s sleep is much easier.
- Calmness Yoga is often times considered an alternative medicine practice offering a refreshing mind-body healing approach. Yoga combines physical and mental disciplines to help yogis achieve peacefulness of both body and mind. Post yoga, you are left feeling relaxed and better able to manage stress and anxiety.
- Posture Poor posture can be attributed to the presence of many undesirable health conditions such as varicose veins, pinched nerves, heart strain and belly fat. Many problems related to posture are caused by long hours spent each day at one’s workplace, hunched over a computer. The good news is, many yoga poses help to counteract your tendency to slouch, increase your body awareness and, in turn, improve your posture. There was once a (false) belief that yoga actually makes people taller. While this is not exactly true, yoga can noticeably improve your posture, making you appear taller and thinner. Talk about a nice, simple confidence boost!
- Strength Can yoga build muscle? During a yoga class, you are required to hold your body in positions in which you must support yourself for considerable lengths of time. You build muscle tone by holding and supporting your own body weight, much like you do during conventional strength training exercise. Practicing yoga can lead to improved balance, flexibility, strength and range of motion. With this, you’re at a much lower risk for injuring yourself in other physical activities or in your daily life.
Depending on what you are looking to get out of Yoga, there are many variations of yoga practices that can provide you with the specific benefits you are looking for. All in all, yoga can be a great addition to any physical fitness routine no matter your fitness level or goals.
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