Almost everyone has heard of yoga.
This ancient practice of meditation and exercise has been a part of human culture for thousands of years.
Surprisingly, many people are not aware of the benefits that even light yoga exercise provides for the body. These benefits extend beyond flexibility and affect the entire body and mind.
- First, yoga increases the flexibility of the body. This flexibility improves the strength of muscles and tendons. The fluid motions of yoga poses provide postural strength without causing stress on joints like the knees and shoulders. With proper practice, yoga works each muscle in every direction. This means that your body is provided with a balanced workout.
- Yoga also benefits the cardiovascular system. Some yoga poses are shown to lower blood pressure and triglycerides. Inverted poses, like Downward Facing Dog, improve the flow of oxygenated blood to the brain. Consistent practice of yogic exercise can slow your resting heart rate and cause your body to consume less oxygen.
- It also lowers respiratory rates because of the breathing exercises involved in many poses. Your body learns to use oxygen more efficiently when you control your breathing. This combination of respiratory control and lower heart rate increases your cardiovascular endurance dramatically.
- People who practice yoga daily also enjoy an improved digestive system. Although practicing yoga is not necessarily a fast way to lose weight, it creates a mentality which encourages healthy eating.
- Many people experience weight loss through their yoga exercise. Pain tolerance is also increases through the slow stretching movements of yogic poses. Yoga is recommended by many physicians as a way to alleviate back, shoulder and neck pain. Yoga is often prescribed with massage to treat chronic lower back pain.
- Yoga increases core strength and lowers the amount of cellulite which accumulates around muscle. Creating long and lean muscles tends to decrease total body weight. Yoga also alters the metabolism. Increasing the metabolic rate in the human body makes it much easier to maintain a healthy weight, especially as a person ages.
- Yoga promotes restful sleep and peaceful moods. The combination of body, mind, and breathing exercises contribute to a more relaxed state of being. Along with a lowered heart rate and blood pressure, this state provides a boost to your immune system.
- Yoga is used to help strengthen a person’s immune response. The inclusion of meditation in yoga practice creates a peaceful feeling throughout the body and mind. This peace can help to elevate mood and lower cortisol levels in the body. Many people who practice yoga feel a sense of connection with their body that is not attained through any other type of exercise.
- Yoga is good for the mind as well as the body. The combination of meditation and exercise creates an improved connection between the mind and body. This helps to improve memory retention, coordination and balance. Yoga is truly an exercise for all ages.