A lot of people think of Yoga as a stretching exercise for women. But yoga has so many benefits that everyone should consider doing it. Very often, yoga is seen as a physical exercise (the asana practice) with only benefits for your body, but there's so much more to yoga than only asana practice. Regular yoga practice will help you unite the body, mind and breath. Here is a list of 10 benefits of yoga.
1. Stress relief
A few minutes of yoga a day is a good way to clear your mind and focus on your body and breathing. Yoga postures, pranayama and meditation are techniques to release stress.
2. Weight loss
Yoga encourages development of a positive self-image, as more attention is paid to nutrition and the body as a whole. Sun salutations can also be seen as a full body workout. Just do 10 of these and feel how your body starts to heat up.
3. Muscle tone
Yoga asanas use every muscle in the body. It can help build lean muscle and will also help define and tone existing muscle.
4. Better breathing
Pranayama exercises can be effective for reducing our stress response, improving lung function and encouraging relaxation. Many breathing exercises emphasize slowing down and deepening the breath, which activates the body’s relaxation response. We can change our body’s response to stress by changing our pattern of breathing.
5. Better flexibility and posture
Regular yoga practice stretches and tones the body muscles and makes them stronger. Practicing yoga will strengthen your core and this can improve your body posture (standing, sitting, walking and even sleeping).
Besides the well-known benefits of yoga that where mentioned above, the following 5 go a little bit deeper into the body and aren't always visible from the outside.
6. Boosts immunity
Practicing yoga will make you breathe better and move better which triggers the organs to function better and improves your physical and emotional health.
Yoga helps to improve the circulation by efficiently moving blood with fresh oxygen to the body’s cells. Bringing twists into your practice will also stimulate and activate the organs.
8. Increased energy
A few minutes of yoga a day can recharge you and leave you feeling fresh and energetically recharged. This energy does not only feel good on the inside but will shine out on others.
Yoga teaches us to be present and become aware of our own bodies. It connects us with the present moment. Asana practice and pranayama help create the awareness and bring the mind back to the present moment.
10. Inner peace
Regular yoga practice creates mental clarity and calmness. It is a great way to get in tune with your body and your inner self. We should all allow ourselves to feel and have emotions, and most importantly be comfortable in our own skin.
These were just 10 of the many benefits that yoga has. Yoga is good in so many ways... Just give it a try and start wherever you are. You don't have to be the perfect and look like a professional yogi (who's probably been practicing for more than 5 years). Just work with your own body and see what works for you. One breath at a time.