Yoga has been practised for centuries and there are many reasons why. The benefits of yoga are endless.
Scientific studies have shown yoga can:
But what is it about yoga that is so special?
What Is Yoga?
Yoga means union. Union of the body and mind. Union of the breath and body to create a meditation. Yoga is a discipline that teaches the practitioner how to slow their thoughts down to allow for blissful inner peace. Equally as important, it relieves tension in the body, which can be the root of a lot of mental and emotional pain.
Yoga emphasizes the importance of meditation to relieve stress. This meditation is achieved by combining breath, yoga postures, and gaze as a flow to create a moving meditation.
The Benefits Of Yoga On The Brain
Recall back to those restless nights when you can’t turn your mind off. Stress and anxiety cause you to breathe irregularly. When this happens, your brain orders your body to go into the fight-or-flight mode as a way of responding to this crisis.
Your body then releases a hormone into your bloodstream called cortisol. Whenever you are stressed or anxious your body is exposed to a steady release of cortisol, and like anything in life, too much cortisol can harm your body. The fight-or-flight response also pushes the importance of your metabolism on the back burner, which may explain that stubborn fat around your midriff. Studies have shown that yoga can significantly lower levels of cortisol, making us feel less stress and less anxious.
Without an effective coping strategy like yoga, your ability to deal with stress may never be managed. Through the practice of yoga you can learn how to calm your anxious mind, and with that comes peace and balance.
The Benefits of Yoga on Your Body
Alignment is key to your yoga practice and all the benefits that come with it. When you align the body there is a domino effect. First, your nervous and circulatory systems will begin to work efficiently. When your sympathetic nervous system is working efficiently, metabolism will work effortlessly, correcting all the damage stress has caused on your waistline.
Practicing yoga while pregnant also has many benefits for you and your baby. It improves sleep, reduces stress and anxiety, increases strength, flexibility, and endurance of muscles needed for childbirth, decreases lower back pain, nausea, headaches, and shortness of breath. Prenatal yoga might also help you prepare for labor and promote your baby’s health.
Did you know yoga has been proven to reduce stress and promote sleep, especially in postmenopausal women too? And one study found that an eight-week “hot yoga” intervention even improved glucose tolerance in older people suffering from obesity.
How To Start Yoga
The bottom line is yoga makes you happy and healthy, so be flexible and try it, (pun intended) because the benefits of yoga are endless and can only be discovered when you’re willing to step out of your comfort zone. Don’t be afraid to try many different styles of yoga to find what works best for you.
Remember, it’s not about touching your toes, it’s about what you learn on your way down.
I have been practicing and teaching yoga for several years, and in my opinion is any yoga is good yoga. Whether you’re practicing at home, a gym, or a studio, what matters is you’re developing your practice.
I love following other teachers online. I learn so much, and I know you will too. Here’s a great video that can be done in the zen of your own home!
Give your achy back and weary mind a rest. Yoga will help you find your balance in life. It’s not too good to be true and it will give you the peace you seek.