Before I head to my Yoga practice, I thought I’d share a little post on some of the benefits – both mental and physical – of yoga. I have been practicing yoga on and off for a few months but have recently got back into it and, to put it quite simply, I love the way it makes me feel. But what are the real, definitive benefits of Yoga and why are so many people turning to it?
- Yoga improves muscle tone, protecting you from conditions such as arthritis. If you are doing a lot of vigorous cardio or weight based exercise such as strength training and HIIT, its extremely beneficial to pair this up with gentle yoga practice to help lengthen, tone and restore your muscles; allowing you to get the most out of your workout routine.
- Improves your posture, allowing you to have better alignment meaning your body will appear slimmer and in proportion. Sitting at desks at work or school for most of the day causes many of us to suffer from poor posture resulting in fatigue, neck, muscle and joint pains; from your first practice you will already feel better.
- It quite simply makes you feel great. The combination of you-time, deep breathing, stretching and gentle exercise really does just make you feel relaxed and calm. I always find myself feeling ‘at peace’ with everything after I do yoga.
- Yoga can help you eat more mindfully and so improve your health. Due to the pure relaxation yoga provides your body and mind with, it elevates stresses you may be holding which can lead to overeating and weight gain (fat tends to appear in places we’re most stressed about it appearing).
- Drains lymphs and boosts immunity. When you stretch muscles, move organs around and come in and out of yoga postures, you increase the drainage of lymph (a fluid rich in immune cells). This helps the lymphatic system fight infection, destroy cancerous cells, and dispose of the toxic waste products; helping to keep your body functioning at it’s optimum level.
- It helps you deeply relax. Yoga helps you to relax, calm and focus on the present, shifting the balance from the sympathetic nervous system (or the fight-or-flight response) to the parasympathetic nervous system which is calming and restorative.
So if you’re after a new component to your exercise regime or simply to feel good and have a more positive outlook on the present then Yoga is something worth trying. Do you practice yoga?