Yoga is a workout for both the body and the mind. Practicing yoga will, no doubt, help you look and feel incredible. Yoga is the art of mastering meditation, focusing concentration and allowing more freedom into your life. I have categorized the benefits of yoga into 5 reasons that nobody can deny.
Yoga forces you to breathe and is a natural form of meditation
Meditation increases blood flow to the prefrontal cortex and decreases the secretion of Cortisol, the primary stress hormone. Meditation has been known to decrease stress levels, as well as, PTSD. Controlled breathing, Pranyama, unites the Sympathetic and Parasympathetic Nervous Systems. This helps stabilize the mental and emotional patterns of the brain. Yoga teaches you how to breathe through your nose and focus your breath to those areas of your body that need it. Breathing through the nose detoxifies and humidifies the air, warms your muscles, and allows oxygen to flow more freely throughout the body.
Yoga improves posture and increases strength, endurance, and flexibility
Working long hours at a desk every day makes us more susceptible to back and neck pain. Practicing certain yoga asanas will significantly improve posture and prevent injury. Asana, the postures and movements that constitute yoga, exercise our muscles, joints and fascia. Fascia is the webbing beneath the skin within the body. Fascia is composed of connective tissue and cartilage that stabilize the body’s muscles and internal organs. Yoga asanas are designed to stretch out fascia to release toxins and pressure build-up throughout the body. Although many make it look easy, holding any pose in yoga is no easy feat! Each pose builds strength, endurance and muscle tone. In accordance to a healthy lifestyle, practicing yoga twice a week can decrease body fat, build muscle strength, and increase balance.
Yoga boosts confidence and encourages self-love
Yoga increases endorphins, which elevate mood and combat depression. Your yoga practice holds a sacred space that is unique to your body and your needs. We all arrive on our mats at different points in our lives and for different reasons. Practicing yoga allows us to become more aware and mindful of our own body’s strengths and limitations. I first started my own yoga practice 4 years ago after my second back surgery. I could not even lie down in savasana, corpse pose, let alone touch my toes or do any cool tricks for that matter. After going to yoga twice a week, on and off, over the course of a year I was able to do all these things. Fast-forward a few years later and I can get into poses I never fathomed possible for my body. Imagine your own possibilities!
Yoga offers a wide range of health benefits that can greatly increase your quality of life
Yoga boosts metabolic functioning, lowers blood pressure, increases good cholesterol, improves insulin sensitivity, and improves the function and capacity of your lungs. Yoga also strengthens the immune system and aids in fighting off certain viruses. Furthermore, a regular yoga practice increases the secretion of Melatonin, the hormone that helps you sleep. Overall, yoga regulates blood flow to enable more movement and comfort throughout your entire body!
A yoga practice can help you develop a disciplined routine
Small daily rituals produce massive change people! Abyasa, practice, is an attitude of persistent effort to attain and maintain a state of stable tranquility. A few minutes of yoga each day will benefit all areas of your life. You will find yourself happier, more focused and less stressed. Practice is necessary to shift ignorance to knowledge and suffering to joy. Yoga is about stopping the vacillations of the mind in order to connect with your true Self.
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