I’m beginning to seriously wonder why I don’t do yoga. There are countless healing mental and physical benefits. I have friends and family who boast about its life altering qualities, and it’s something I can do in the comforts of my own home. But never mind me. This isn’t about my lack of motivation, or something along those lines. Here are seven major benefits of yoga:
1. It makes you flexible:
Are you the stiffest person you know? Does bending to pick something off the ground nearly send you to the ER? You don’t have to be flexible to do yoga. Don’t worry, most people who do yoga aren’t double jointed! The more you practice yoga, the looser you become. Soon, you’ll be able to bend and stretch with comfort and ease. When we lack flexibility it often causes aches and pains. Tight hips can cause strain on the knee joints because the thigh and shinbones are improperly aligned. Tight hamstrings can cause the lumbar spine to flatten, which leads to severe pain. Generally, inflexible muscles and connective tissues cause poor posture.
2. Leads to great posture:
Has anyone ever told you to stop slouching? Well, there are no slumped backs in yoga class that’s for sure. Since yoga is all about posture, you quickly learn to arch your back and stop bending. Poor posture can cause muscle and joint pain. It also causes the spine to compress and the body to misalign itself. Yoga detracts from this.
3. Good for the spine:
Remember what I said about posture and spinal health? Well, yoga is good for the spine because it keeps your spinal disks agile. This will prevent your spine from regenerating and compressing. Ouch!
4. Increases blood flow:
Yoga supports healthy circulation in your hands and feet. It leads to increased oxygen to your blood cells, which aid in blood flow. Many doctors say that twisting poses release intravenous blood from our organs and allow oxygenated blood to flow in. Poses like headstands and handstands allow blood from the legs and pelvis to flow back to the heart where it pumps back into the lungs. And get this: yoga boosts levels of haemoglobin and red blood cells, which are crucial to carrying oxygen to tissues. It also thins the blood by making platelets less sticky. This eliminates clotting levels, allowing for the development of protein in the blood. Blood clots are one of the leading causes of strokes and heart attacks.
5. Good for the heart rate:
Yoga is one of the most physically demanding and strengthening practices. Most people might assume that its spiritualistic roots mean that it’s for lightweights. Oh no, dear reader. Yoga is intense. It boosts your heart rate, which eventually lowers your heart rate. Confused? Well, yoga will lead to increased endurance and maximum blood flow. The more you engage in cardiovascular exersize, the more likely you are to acclimatize yourself to physical activity. This means that your heart becomes used to engaging in intense activity without increasing its beat.
6. Good for your adrenal glands:
What the heck is an adrenal gland? Some of us might not know this, but stress and anxiety is released from adrenal glands when we are experiencing times of crisis. Adrenal glands release cortisol in times of crisis. This is good when it’s temporary, but when it becomes chronic it can cause permanent changes in the brain. Too much cortisol is linked to depression, high blood pressure and insulin resistance.
7. Helps you focus:
Perhaps the biggest goal of yoga is to help you focus. By focus, I mean that the goal of yoga is to find your inner balance and to harmonize your internal and external body. It also allows you to focus on the present and fully experience life, sensations, and surroundings as they are.