Top 3 Benefits of Yoga
Strength and Flexibility
Creating a regular practice of yoga will surely benefit your life on and off the mat. No matter the skill-level, practicing yoga is an incredible opportunity to connect your mind, body and breath. Yoga builds muscle strength and flexibility, increases blood flow and can help prevent injuries. In addition to the physical rewards, yoga can bring a sense of calm to your daily life, keeping you grounded and at peace. So there is no better time than now, to either begin or return to the yoga mat.
Yoga can be a great form of exercise to build muscle strength. Balancing and holding poses works a variety of muscles while also increasing flexibility. Strength building through weights can potentially hinder flexibility, whereas yoga creates a balance between strength and mobility.
Furthermore, we all need to get loose and stretch out our muscles. Between sitting at a desk all day or a particularly difficult workout, yoga stretches out tight muscles and increases blood flow. Better circulation brings oxygen to the body’s cells, which is important for creating energy.
By building strength and flexibility, yoga can help prevent injuries and chronic pain. Problems such as back pain and arthritis can be lessened or even prevented. Yoga takes your body through its full range of motion, helping circulation for your joints. Additionally, the weight-bearing exercises and stances help strengthen your bones, assisting in fighting off osteoarthritis. Your joints and bones will be thanking you each time you step onto the yoga mat.
Practicing yoga also has many incredible benefits for your mental health. Focusing on your breath allows a moment for meditation and inner reflection. This an opportunity to check in with the mind and to be completely honest with yourself. Listen to your emotions and know it’s perfectly alright to feel how you do. This self examination is a tool to help us understand the changes we can make to better our lives.
Similarly, the attention to your breath and effort to hold a pose remind us to remain in the present. This strong focus yoga requires helps us to be present on the mat and carry that awareness throughout our daily lives.
The ancient practice of yoga also reminds us to let go of any anger, regret, frustration and fear we hold. Therefore yoga also has huge potential to increase your happiness. A study found those who regularly practiced yoga had an increase in serotonin levels than those who did not practice yoga.
Finally, gratitude is an essential element in yoga. We must first show gratitude to ourselves. Be thankful for our bodies, for our ability to show up on the mat and all the incredible tasks we do. We also show gratitude towards the people and opportunities we have in our lives. There are so many amazing individuals who make our lives better. Yoga builds self-esteem and strengthens our relationships, helping us toward a fulfilling life on and off the mat.
Written by Grace Maeda