Health Benefits Yoga Provides–Physical, Mental, and Spiritual Benefits
True to the word, there are several physical, mental, and spiritual health benefits yoga provides. Yoga is an ancient form of exercise with a host of health benefits to its enthusiasts. It owes its origin to ancient India.
The term “yoga” when translated loosely comes out as “union”. A deeper translation reveals the true meaning, which is “union with the divine”. As such, yoga’s main purpose is to enable one access a higher self and the divine. It’s designed for the achievement of inner peace more than physical health. As such, it is often emphasized by the yoga experts of the 21st century.
Seven Physical, Metal, and Spiritual Health Benefits Yoga Provides
Every serious yoga enthusiast will certainly get a reward more than imagine. Although seemingly fun, yoga is a highly effective workout that delivers great results. Here are the benefits:
Awesome, Fun, and Affordable Workout
Yoga routines comprise what many people think is the most comfortable workout. It’s no doubt the reason why so many people think of it almost entirely as a physical fitness and health routine. A gym instructor offers you weekly targets for hamstring stretches. Such regimens guarantee ice packs on your thighs on most evenings. Yoga, however, lets you adjust physically at a speed you are most comfortable with.
As such, it brings with it one luxury that no other form of workout routine can ever afford. It provides you fitness at your own pace and convenience. Better still, yoga offers different routines for different weight classes, weather and even health conditions. This means that while the gym may be home only to the clans of Brave, Lean and Toned, Yoga doesn’t choose. If gym rat phrases like “abdominal assault” and “super sets” scare you, yoga is your refuge. Find a yoga studio now and get fit without ever having to look for pain balm. You won’t again use ice after your workout, ever!
It gets you in touch with your body
Most of you are now probably thinking, “How do I get in touch with my body? I mean… am I not my body?” Well, we are one with our bodies. At least that is what we think until we start feeling funny and can’t put a finger on what it is that’s malfunctioning. It is not uncommon to hear someone say “I woke up feeling funny today.” Any idea how dumb that sounds to a physiotherapist? Go ask one.
Yoga exercises are designed around a workout routine that tunes your body into sharp physical coordination. It’s so effective that when it becomes an automatic part of your health routine you begin to have private, little chats with it. Yoga says, “You are almost dehydrated now, can you hear those faint palpitations in your heart?” And you go, “Thanks yoga! I think my eyes are a little dry too.” And you drink your fluids.
The pranayamas—breathing sequences—are proven techniques for improved breathing and lung capacity. With many of these routines incorporated into physical positions and postures for maximum effect, you’re guaranteed a boost in breath control and lung health. They are particularly helpful for people with asthma.
Granted, pranayamas will help you adopt a controlled and centered way of breathing that does much to boost not only one’s health but also their stress management abilities. You know what they tell you about “deep breaths” when you are mad as hell? It works, right? Yep, they stole that from yoga. For that is one of the many health benefits yoga provides.
Improved Body Posture
One of the biggest rules for the sitting and breathing yoga sequences is a straight back. So you may slouch in your seat or walk with drooping shoulders all you want, but not in yoga class. And when you have been doing these routines long enough you start exporting them out of class. Just a few months after starting yoga you find yourself with a wonderfully straight back. You further get solid shoulders and you’re as surprised as the next guy. Yoga does that.
Science has demonstrated that a few exercises done before bed guarantee a good night’s sleep. Interestingly, a select few yoga routines are designed for right before bed. This shows that yoga is not some “lazy, obscure dance for fat people” as I’ve heard some gym rats say. Rather, it is a detailed construction of physical, mental and spiritual sequences based on scientifically proven facts about the human body. Often times, people who have problems sleeping have turned to yoga, more out of desperation than anything else.
All the people I know that have turned to yoga out of desperation have been promptly ashamed by their prior disregard for the practice. It is not even new to find someone falling asleep during the cool down session at the end of a yoga routine. Yoga is soothing enough to put some to sleep right in the middle of a packed studio. It’ll definitely do your insomnia some serious justice if you do it from the comfort of your home, right before bed. I guarantee you. You may fail yoga, but yoga will not fail you.
Enhanced Physical and Mental Health
I might have started off rather acidly about the emphasis of today’s yoga instructors on the physical aspect of yoga. Sorry. The truth is that the stretches and twists are designed to give you physical strength. A lunge here and a stretch there strengthen your core and a score of other muscles. Whichever muscles yoga doesn’t really strengthen (I honestly can’t think of any), it stretches and exercises.
Sitting in yoga class for long and sinking deep into meditation helps you meditate your thoughts. In so doing, you improve your ability to control the mind. Essentially, meditation in yoga is push-ups for the mind. You have no idea how much you need it.
Meditation Changes Life for the Better
Meditation is the essence of yoga. It is taking thirty minutes each day to step into your mind and heart and go through everything that is happening in your life. As such, it helps one trace the paths of order and chaos in your life and is the first move towards self-improvement. With the ability to conjure calmness and serenity at any time, yoga helps one to go through life with a smile and a clear vision. Isn’t that what we all want?
If the reasons for doing yoga outlined above do not convince you, then the detailed list below should do better. So here are seven things you will notice about yourself immediately you start doing yoga.
Letting Go of What You Don’t Deserve
There is always that one show-off you know who seems to beat you down in everything without even trying. Either at work, business or class. The guy who runs through super sets while you struggle with girl dumbbells. Often times, we bring that pressure in our lives and hold onto pressures we do not need to grow.
When you hit the yoga studio you realize that nobody is competing. And you realize that you are required to push yourself just a little out of your comfort zone, not to the limit. Then you learn to focus on the little baby steps forward. The meditations take you through a roller coaster of emotions. As noted in this article, you feel angry and teary and learn to control it. Before you realize it, you will be able to accept your flaws, overlook unhealthy competition, and reflect upon hurtful moments with a smile.
Yoga makes you accept your body for what it is when you start and makes your body better as you proceed. It helps you find gratitude for what you look like and the fact that it is okay to be imperfect and strive for perfection. You will smile at the fact that your arms swing better when you walk and make everyone who sees you smile too. In addition, you can read more on how yoga changes your body over time. But first of all, be assured that confidence starts way earlier than you can imagine.
The increasing control of your body as you grow in yoga class and the high detoxification efficiency of yoga routines change your eating habits, fast. Almost as soon as you start yoga, your metabolism changes. Your body screams “I want natural!” Whether consciously or not, you find yourself eating less sugar, less fat, less and less of everything you’re supposed to eat less of. Also, the body develops a better ability to absorb vitamins and minerals as you grow healthier right before your own eyes. Shauna E. Keeler explains better here what yoga does to your eating habits.
You’ll sleep deeper
We mentioned this before. However, we ought to repeat it. It is worth repeating. Catherine Woodyard illustrates in her study that yoga is a better answer than the sleeping pills. Do not run for the pills, therefore, whenever insomnia kicks in. The Yoga Journal website even goes further to give you the poses that help you sleep like a baby. So stop complaining about sleepless nights, grab a yoga mart at Walmart, and get on the Yoga Journal website (or YouTube). You can actually change the status quo with yoga.
Beware of Breathing as a Healing Tool
Perhaps we a little understated the usefulness of the pranayama in my description above. The International Journal of Yoga does a better job. It better explains the extent to which these breathing routines can go to heal someone. Immune functions, autonomic nervous balances and stress disorders all go away or are immensely minimized by yoga. Moreover, the fact that you notice these positive health changes within the first few days to weeks of doing yoga is quite encouraging.
Better Consciousness in What You Do (both in and out of the studio)
Remember what we said about you getting in touch with your body? Harvard Health elaborates even further, explaining how easy it is to control one’s physical reactions to different environments. Yoga helps one to control the spirit and actions of their day by helping them set “intentions” on the mat (in the gym). The individual is then able to transfer these into their days and therefore takes control over what they do and how they behave.
The Aches and Pains Will Go Away
Pains afflicting your body—neck, back, joint and limbs—have been known to abate and completely disappear with consistent yoga. This isn’t a fact from my experience alone (yeah, my neck and back pains fled) but a fact from the Harvard Health website too. Should you choose yoga as a more natural and long-lasting solution to pain, it is advisable to consult your doctor first. Secondly, find a qualified yoga instructor as only a qualified yogi or yogini can help you find the right poses for your pain.
So Get Onboard
You might not know it, but the way yoga works is magical and real. In fact, yoga is one of the most increasingly popular contemporary practices for human wellness around the world. What’s more, yoga is quite affordable, both money and time wise. You have seen the physical, mental, and spiritual health benefits yoga provides. So get onboard.