Yoga began in India and was practiced as a way to improve spiritual health and also as a form of meditation. Nowadays, more cultures have adapted yoga and use it as a challenging physical workout as well. The health benefits of yoga are immense and everyone can benefit from incorporating even just a 10-15 minute practice into their daily routine.
#1: Improves flexibility
Even those who consider themselves very inflexible can benefit from yoga. By focusing on breathing, it allows you to stretch deeper than you may have once thought possible. After just 10 minutes, you will most likely find yourself more flexible than at the start of the practice.
#2: Tones the whole body
Yoga is truly a whole body workout. Having a “yoga body” is term coined for those who practice yoga regularly, as they are typically long, lean and toned.
#3: Improves posture
The breathing and body alignment is a very important aspect of yoga. If you’re just beginning, try following along with some videos online where they go over your body position, or take a few classes at your local studio. Bad posture can be detrimental to your mental and physical health, causing neck and back pain as well as general fatigue.
#4: Improves blood circulation
Doing yoga helps blood circulate better due to the fact that yoga increases oxygen in the blood and releases trapped blood in various areas of the body. It sends the trapped blood back to the heart where it is oxygenated once more and sent back out to the organs and tissue.
#5: Gets your heart rate going
While yoga isn’t typically thought of as strenuous exercise, it can surprisingly spike your heart rate similar to other aerobic activities. A 30-40 minute flow practice can burn as many as 250-300 calories.
#6: Increases focus
Because mindfulness is an incredibly important part of any yoga session, overall focus tends to improve as a result.
#7: Improves balance
One major component of yoga is maintaining balance throughout your practice. Various poses like the Warrior series and Tree work your body one side at a time, forcing the other side to compensate and improve balancing skills as a result.
#8: Lowers stress levels
Practicing yoga has been shown to have a calming effect on the body and also increases levels of serotonin while decreasing cortisol. Studies have shown that long time yoga practitioners have more activation of certain parts of their brain associated with happiness and positive feelings. Stress is the number one cause of disease and other health problems, so any way you can decrease your level of stress is a good thing.
#9: Lowers blood sugar and cholesterol
Yoga has been shown to lower blood sugar as well as regulate cholesterol levels. It decreases LDL (Bad) cholesterol while also raising HDL (Good) cholesterol levels. Because yoga lowers cortisol, those suffering from diabetes and high blood sugar can benefit greatly from yoga.