The word yoga is usually synonymous with meditation, breathing, and relaxation, but this time-tested exercise has so much more health benefits to offer. Originating in northern India over 5,000 years ago, yoga was hugely associated with the discipline and harmony of the mind, body, spirit, and nature. Its Sanskrit root “yuj” means to yoke or unite. There are 100 different schools of yoga and most of them typically teach breathing techniques, meditation, and assuming poses or asana that aim to improve the flexibility of several muscle groups. Keep reading to know more about how yoga can improve your overall health.
Improves balance and flexibility.
As you age, the flexibility of your body decreases. The joints on the body stiffen as the number of lubricating fluids lessens and the cartilage thins. Ligaments on the body shorten over time as well. Practicing yoga regularly can improve your flexibility by stretching and loosening the muscles. It offers poses that vary in degrees of difficulty from mild to high-intensity techniques.
Helps in stress, anxiety, and overall mental health management.
Stress and poor mental health are problematic in and of themselves but studies have shown that experiencing these issues for long periods could result in physical illnesses such as muscle pain, gastrointestinal issues, and heart disease. Scientific evidence as shown by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) says that yoga teaches various breathing and meditation techniques that help an individual’s management of stress, mindfulness, and overall mental health.
Builds strength and sculpts the muscles.
Yoga isn’t generally considered a vigorous, aerobic exercise per se but it still effectively helps in endurance, strength, and muscle training as yoga poses compel you to carry your body weight. Doing yoga persistently will tighten your core, strengthen your arms and legs, and straighten your back. In contrast to weight training exercises that isolate which muscles to improve, yoga works by strengthening your body as a whole. When done properly and regularly, yoga can help in toning and building muscle.
Experts discovered that huge amounts of stress weaken the immune system. Doing yoga correctly and consistently helps in stress reduction – subsequently fighting inflammation and degeneration in the body. Muscle contraction through yoga stretches also aid in lymphatic drainage – a bodily process that helps in fighting toxins and impurities.
A study from 2019 shows links to yoga and its effectiveness in treating insomnia. Practicing yoga regularly can help in falling asleep faster and achieving longer, uninterrupted periods of sleep. It is suggested to meditate through yoga poses for at least 5 to 15 minutes every night to achieve better sleep.
If you are interested in upgrading your workout, try introducing yoga to your routine. It boasts over 80 basic poses that vary in difficulty and function. It also requires very minimal space and equipment, so it’s a practice you can do every day in the comfort of your own home. Or better yet, join classes and achieve your fitness goals through this age-old activity with big or more intimate groups!