“Yoga is a personal conversation between the body, mind, and breath that is designed to calm the fluctuations of the mind. When we practice the art of Pranayama (breath awareness) and Asana (poses), we develop strength, internal and external flexibility, and balance, and we cultivate traits such as patience, gratitude, and perseverance, as well as calming the mind.” – Diane Byster, LMHC
Yoga has become an extremely popular form of exercise worldwide. Yoga is speculated to date back to the fifth and sixth centuries BCE. Yoga uses exercise, meditation and breathing techniques. All of these help with keeping you both physically and mentally healthy. Let’s look at why and how yoga is beneficial for both physical and mental health.
The Benefits of Yoga for Your Physical Health
Arati Patel, LMFT, describes yoga this way: “Yoga Sutra 2.46 reads Sthira sukam asanam. Sthira translates to steadiness, strength, or effort. Sukha according to late Indian Sanskrit texts roughly translates to sweetness, joy, pleasure, or happiness. This sutra translates to every yoga posture needs to be balanced with effort and ease.”
Yoga not only keeps you fit, but it also has many other health benefits such as helping with aches, pains, prevents sicknesses and much more. Read on for more benefits.
Yoga Improves Blood Circulation
Yoga increases your blood flow, especially in the feet and hands. It also boosts the levels of red blood cells and hemoglobin, which carries oxygen to the lungs. Yoga reduces the risks of blood clot formation which prevents strokes and heart attacks.
It Helps with Tension in the Limbs
At times, we have tension in our body and we can’t always pinpoint it. Yoga can help you to determine where the tension is located. The yoga exercises can help with relieving the tension in your body.
Yoga Improves Your Balance
By practicing yoga regularly, it will improve your balance. People, who have poor balance and poor posture, can benefit from yoga. It is also good for the elders, as this could mean fewer falls. So, no more slumping!
Yoga is Good for Your Cardiovascular Health
Yoga lowers the blood sugar levels and the ‘’bad’ cholesterol levels. It boosts the ‘’good cholesterol. Yoga also helps with lowering the blood pressure. It also boosts your heart rate (in a good way.) People who are suffering from diabetes and cardiovascular diseases should also take up yoga. All of these conditions prevent heart attacks and promote good cardiovascular health.
However, people, who are suffering from heart disease and diabetes, should consult their doctor about certain postures that can’t be done. Some postures might have a negative impact on people who are suffering from these conditions — high blood pressure, heart diseases, and diabetes.
Yoga Improves Your Lung Functions
People who do yoga take fewer breaths with greater volume. This is because of the increase in oxygen in the lungs. Yoga promotes lung function and can even help with soothing sinuses.
Yoga Improves Digestion
Like many other forms of exercise, yoga can prevent constipation. It also reduces the risk of colon cancer. For people who suffer from IBS and ulcers, yoga is highly recommended.
The Benefits of Yoga for Mental Health
Yoga is recommended for many people who are suffering from various mental health conditions. It’s also a great way to relieve stress. Here are the mental health benefits:
Yoga is Good for Relaxation
Yoga increases the blood flow and lowers the blood pressure levels. This helps with relaxation and relieving stress. The breathing techniques that are used in yoga also help to relax both the mind and body.
Yoga Improves Your Sleep
If you’re suffering from insomnia or poor sleep, then yoga might be the solution. Due to the increase of the blood flow in your body and the relaxation that yoga provides, it can help to put you in a deeper sleep. By getting a good night’s sleep, you feel less stressed during the day.
Yoga Boosts Your Self-Esteem and Improves Your Relationships with Others
Yoga boosts your self-confidence and makes you feel good about yourself. You get peace of mind. You learn to love yourself. Yoga also improves your relationships with your spouse and even family members because you develop compassion as you do it. Yoga also calms you, which can make you less aggressive and snappy with others.
“Yoga therapy is a holistic discipline based on the premise that the mind, body, and spirit are connected. An emerging field in America, yoga therapy hovers somewhere between a doctor’s visit and a stretching class. Yoga therapists identify physical and emotional symptoms, then recommend yoga postures to address these symptoms and their underlying causes.” – Nancy Holliman, LPC