10 Amazing Health Benefits of Yoga

Medically Reviewed by Carolin Schneider, MD

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It seems like yoga is becoming more and more popular each year, with additional classes and studios opening up all over the country. Whether you’re already practicing yoga or are just thinking about getting into it, it’s important to understand that this form of exercise offers several amazing benefits. To help you better understand the ways yoga might improve your health and fit into your lifestyle, learn about some of the benefits of regularly practicing yoga and how they’ll positively impact your life.

What Is Yoga?

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Unlike many other forms of exercise, yoga is a unique practice that combines the exercise of both the mind and the body. In yoga, the physical actions are complemented by mental ones with the goal of achieving a calmer and more peaceful state. As far as physical exertion goes, yoga requires careful positioning and stretching through predetermined poses and moves. To improve the mental state as well, yoga incorporates calming breathing exercises, and, in some cases, meditation. The combination of these physical and mental exercises leads to several great benefits that are described below.

10 Health Benefits of Regular Yoga Practice

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Flexibility

One of the most notable benefits of doing yoga regularly is that it can increase a person’s flexibility, regardless of their age or weight. Contrary to what you might believe, you don’t have to be flexible to start doing yoga. Beginning in introductory classes, yoga instructors will teach participants how to do the poses to the best of their ability. By practicing these poses and incorporating the breathing techniques of yoga, you may find that your flexibility quickly begins to improve and you’re able to do more poses correctly over time. This is due to the gradual stretching of your muscles and an increased range of motion in your joints, both of which develop over time when you start a regular yoga practice.

Strength

The variety of poses utilized in yoga helps to build muscles in key areas of your body, including your arms, abdomen, back and legs. Because the poses are held for long periods of time, your muscles are forced to work hard to keep your body balanced and in the correct position. Frequent yoga participants typically experience an increase in muscle tone as a result of their workouts. The amazing thing about yoga is that no weights or machines are necessary. Instead, your own body provides the weight you use to build your strength over time.

Posture

Because yoga is so effective for strengthening the core muscles in the abdomen and the back, most people experience an increase in their core strength. This, in turn, improves posture, which protects your back from strain and helps you look confident and healthy.

Balance

Many of the poses in yoga require diligent balance, which some participants may not master at first. However, after practicing for a few weeks, many yoga participants are able to improve their balance and hold poses for longer periods of time. Your coordination can also improve as you learn to balance better.

Circulation

Doing yoga typically leads to better circulation in your body. The more efficient your body is when it comes to circulation, the better equipped it’ll be to transport nutrients and oxygen throughout your body every day. This results in a wide variety of health benefits, including lower blood pressure and healthier organs.

Endurance

Despite the fact that there’s no running or jogging involved in yoga, this form of exercise can actually increase your endurance. This is because yoga helps to lower your heart rate and improve the oxygenation in your body. This leads to better cardiovascular health and, in turn, improved endurance.

Stress

Because yoga involves a kind of quiet concentration and deep breathing exercises, it typically tends to draw away the stresses of the day and lead to a more peaceful state. By lowering stress on a regular basis by doing yoga, you can often improve your health and your quality of life.

Energy

One of the key benefits of practicing yoga is that it usually leaves participants feeling energized rather than tired after a workout. Other forms of exercise that involve extreme physical exertion and sweating can leave individuals feeling exhausted. With yoga, the quiet, slow, deliberate movements get you the workout you need without using up all of your energy.

Weight

Yoga helps to increase your metabolism while also providing a calming, low-impact workout. That’s why yoga is a great way to start shedding a few extra pounds and start leading a healthier lifestyle. Moreover, yoga is just a fun way to start exercising more, which also can influence your weight.

Chronic Conditions

Some people with chronic conditions find that yoga helps to keep their symptoms at bay or relieve some of the pain they experience on a regular basis. Some of the chronic conditions which may be alleviated or improved by yoga are sleeping disorders, depression and anxiety.

How to Maximize Your Health Benefits From Practicing Yoga

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Here are a few easy tips that can help you make the most of the health benefits of yoga listed above:

  • Make sure you always warm up your muscles before completing a yoga session. Ask your instructor if a warmup will be included in the session or if you should do this beforehand.
  • Try to combine your yoga routine with healthy eating habits. This can increase the extent to which you experience some of yoga’s health benefits, especially weight loss and increased energy.
  • Be sure to talk to your doctor if you have one of the following risk factors or conditions, as it may not be safe to practice yoga in these situations:
    • Pregnancy
    • Artificial joints
    • Osteoporosis
    • High blood pressure
    • Balance issues

Resource Links:

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1744388116300500?via%3Dihub

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3193654/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3447533/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5332914/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5843960/