Benefits of Yoga

 

I started both practising and teaching yoga in my late 20s. After only a few yoga classes I became noticeably more flexible, so much so that i could actually touch my toes. Very quickly I stopped smoking and almost cut out alcohol. I didn’t suffer from one cold in four years. In the 20 years I have been teaching, I have had very few poor night’s sleep, and the ones I do have are always related to a stressful event in my life. My weak wrist also strengthened up as I put weight on it.

That is not to claim that yoga is a panacea. With most illnesses and injuries, yoga can, at best, help, rather than cure. However, it is true that most yoga practitioners experience many benefits and more. Please see the many benefits below.

1. Improves flexibility

You’ll also probably notice that aches and pains start to disappear. This is because tight muscles cause improper alignment, a major cause of aches and pains. In many cases, all you need to do to stop the pain is stretch. 

2. Build core and overall muscle strength

Strong muscles look good. They also protect us from conditions like arthritis and back pain. Yoga is a great overall body strengthener, and improves core strength, just by practising it. 

3. Improves posture

Strong muscles look good. They also protect us from conditions like arthritis and back pain. Yoga is a great overall body strengthener, and improves core strength, just by practising it. 

4. Prevents cartilage and joint breakdown 

Joint cartilage receives fresh nutrients only when its fluid is squeezed out and a new supply goes in.  A good yoga class will take your joints through their full range of motion, helping prevent and mitigate arthritis/disability.  

5. Protects spine

A well-balanced asana practice that includes forward bends, backbends and twists helps heal your spine, and keep it supple and healthy. 

6. Increases bone strength.

Weight-bearing exercise strengthens bones and helps stop osteoporosis. Many postures in yoga use your own body weight. Downward dog and plank help strengthen the arm bones, . In an unpublished study conducted at California State University, Los Angeles, yoga practice increased bone density in the vertebrae. 

7. Improves circulation 

Yoga gets your blood flowing.  You get more oxygen, and twisting poses  wring out venous blood from internal organs and allow oxygenated blood to flow in once the twist is released. 

8. Drains lymphs and boosts immunity

Yoga increases drainage of lymph. This helps the lymphatic system fight infection, destroy cancerous cells, and dispose of the toxic waste products of cellular functioning.

9.  Lowers blood pressure

Scientific studies show that regular practice of yoga lowers both systolic and dyastolic blood pressure. 

10. Regulates adrenal glands

Yoga lowers cortisol levels. 

11. Helps with depression and anxiety 

One study found that a consistent yoga practice improved depression and led to a significant increase in serotonin levels and a decrease in the levels of monoamine oxidase (an enzyme that breaks down neurotransmitters) and cortisol. 

12. Lowers blood sugar

Yoga lowers blood sugar and LDL (“bad”) cholesterol and boosts HDL (“good”) cholesterol. In people with diabetes, yoga has been found to lower blood sugar in several ways: by lowering cortisol and adrenaline levels, encouraging weight loss, and improving sensitivity to the effects of insulin. Get your blood sugar levels down, and you decrease your risk of diabetic complications such as heart attack, kidney failure, and blindness.

13. Helps focus

An important component of yoga is focusing on the present. Studies have found that regular yoga practice improves coordination, reaction time, memory, and even IQ scores. People who practice Transcendental Meditation demonstrate the ability to solve problems and acquire and recall information better—probably because they’re less distracted by their thoughts, which can play over and over like an endless tape loop.

14. Helps relax

Yoga encourages you to relax, slow your breath, and focus on the present, shifting the balance from the sympathetic nervous system (or the fight-or-flight response) to the parasympathetic nervous system.

15. Improves balance

Regularly practicing yoga increases proprioception (the ability to feel what your body is doing and where it is in space) and improves balance. 

16. Helps manage and relieve chronic pain 

Studies suggest that practicing yoga can often reduces pain for people with arthritis, back and neck pain and help manage pain caused by conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis, autoimmune diseases, and hypertension

17. Helps the body detoxify and helps organs function better

Twisting, sweating and deep yogic breathing all enhance the natural detoxification process. They help the body get rid of impurities and bring new blood and lymph, carrying nutrients such as oxygen down into the tissues. 

18. Helps build self-confidence and feel good in YOUR body

Depending on the class and style, you may sometimes struggle. In stronger classes, you may sweat, and may even fall over. In all classes you are asked to practise acceptance, self-love, patience and equanimity.   If you dedicate yourself to practicing, you will see improvement in strength, mobility, flexibility and balance. Whatever your issues and whatever style of yoga you practise, we are aiming to make you feel. warm, tingly and relaxed inside. 

19. Helps you sleep 

Yoga rebalances your nervous and endocrine system,  this in turn shifts you from stress to ease, and helps you sleep.

20.  Boosts immune system

Several scientific studies indicate that that meditation and yoga boosts your immune system.

21. improves breathing 

Deep breathing, making sounds and breathing through the nose all help you get more oxygen into your system. 

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