Yoga & Its Benefits: Why Should It Be a Part of Your Healthy Lifestyle?
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While present-day fitness experts and gurus have developed countless exercises for leading a healthy lifestyle, yoga remains one of the most effective and powerful practices that impact our physical, mental and spiritual health.
Yoga is believed to have been practiced for over 5000 years when ancient Indian “Yogis” started using its potential by practicing mindfulness and meditation. The word “yoga” literally means “union”, which essentially pertains to the union of body, mind, and soul. The devout practitioners of yoga consider it as a complete path by itself – the path that brings us to reality.
Therefore, considering its seemingly physical and metaphysical connotations and so many aspects associated with it, yoga indeed has immense health benefits; perhaps more than any other form of exercise. For example, even if you are not completely fit to perform any yoga Asana, you can still find ease in your body so you can connect to yourself.
Let’s elaborate on the health benefits of yoga:
It improves muscle flexibility, strength, balance, and posture
A few daily “asanas” or poses of yoga can work wonder in stretching and toning your body muscles. For example, the plank pose simultaneously works on your arms, legs, shoulders, and abs. As I mentioned earlier, you don’t have to be super flexible to practice yoga poses. In fact, there are many asanas that can be practiced all levels of ability. If you are a beginner, you might find your body a little bit too stiff. But after regularly practicing it for a few weeks you will notice a drastic increase in your muscle flexibility among other benefits. Similarly, your strength, balance, and posture will get a palpable boost after some time. As a result, you will walk correctly, sit straighter and the pain caused due to holding a sustained incorrect posture will be alleviated.
If you’re looking for a more intensive and dynamic yoga practice, styles such as Ashtanga yoga, which has the reputation as one of the toughest styles, may just be the perfect fit for you.
It curbs and ‘controls’ many diseases
The best part of yoga is it rejuvenates your body from within, which means it can treat various diseases altogether. In fact, it has been used as a complementary therapy in different parts of the world, albeit a consultation with a physician is recommended before attempting a yoga regimen for treating illnesses. Nonetheless, many practitioners believe that if medicines have failed you, yoga will not disappoint you.
Here’s a list of ailments and recommended yoga poses to help relieve them:
- Thyroid: Halasana/ Plough pose and Matsyasana/ Fish Pose
- Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS): Dhanurasana/ Bow Pose and Bhujangasana/ Cobra Pose
- Arthritis: Child pose/Shishuasana and Adho Mukha Svanasana/ Downward facing dog pose.
- Lower back pain: Supta Matsyendrasana/ Supine Spinal Twist and Vrikshasana/ Tree Pose
- Diabetes: Ardha Matsyendrasana/ Half Spinal Twist and Chakrasana/ Wheel Pose
- Indigestion/ Stomach Disorder: Alpasana/Indigestion/ Stomach Disorder and Paschimottanasana/ Seated Forward Bend Pose
- Migraine: Padmasana/ Lotus pose and Sirsasana/ Headstand or Salamba Sirsasana/ Supported headstand
- Liver problems: Ardha Bhekasana/ Half Frog Pose and Parighasana/ Gate Pose
- Depression: Baddha Konasana/ Bound Angle Pose and Sukhasana/ Easy Pose
- Kidney ailments: Salamba Bhujangasana/ Sphinx Pose and Naukasana/ Boat Pose
It helps you lose weight & stay fit
With a gentle regular practice of yoga, your metabolic system gets fuelled that helps burn excess fat, leading to weight loss. Although there are many strength exercises that help you reduce your extra fat, note that there is no other fitness regimen as enduring as yoga training.
When you combine your slim fast diet with the relevant poses of yoga on a daily basis, you will notice a decline in your body weight. The recommended yoga poses for weight loss are Boat Pose, Extended Side Angle Pose, Four-Limbed Staff Pose, Seated Forward Bend, and Upward Plank Pose.
It increases sustainability as well as your lifespan
Not only do the poses mentioned in Yogasutra help in strengthening muscles and removing tension, the breathing practices allow you to take in more oxygen. This boosts blood circulation and enhances your body’s function.
Now as you start to slow down your movements and breathe with yoga, some of your body’s functioning such as oxidation and cell damage also slow down. Thus, if you consistently incorporate this practice, the aging process will be considerably reduced. In the meantime, this process will increase the working capability and sustainability of your body with every breath.
It is highly effective in combating sleep disorders
A significant population of the world is grappling with sleep-related disorders due to modern work culture and lifestyle. This condition leads to many other life-threatening diseases. If you have trouble sleeping, try yoga.
A Harvard Medical School study confirms this; in which a team of researchers investigated the effects of yoga on people suffering from insomnia. After 8 weeks, they found significant improvements in participants’ sleep quality and quantity. Yoga relaxes your nervous system with its profound meditative aspects. Thus, a consistent and prolonged practice makes your mind calm and composed.
Are you a yogi and are interested in deepening your practice so you can teach yoga and help others to reap its benefits? Get certified by going on a 100-hr yoga teacher training course!