In recent years, yoga has become a worldwide trend that has pretty much taken over the fitness world – and it seems there’s a very good reason for it. The ancient practice has been proven to improve both physical and mental wellbeing in a number of ways; from as early as the very first session.
Once you start to experience these benefits, we can guarantee that yoga will become a ritual in your lifestyle. Here are just a few of the main benefits of yoga you need to be aware of:
If you’re a bit of a worrier or have been clinically diagnosed with anxiety or depression, you’ll be pleased to know that yoga could be the answer to calm you.
Scientific studies have shown that attending sessions regularly reduces the stress hormone ‘cortisol’ in the body, which prevents you from experiencing severe anxiety or panic attacks.
Traditional yoga encourages you to breathe deeply, relax the body and focus on the present, rather than any worries taking up your headspace. As a result, your heart rate slows down and your blood pressure decreases; leaving you in a relaxed state.
One of the most obvious benefits of yoga is that it can dramatically improve your posture.
If you have had no prior experience in gymnastics or dance, you may find it very difficult to touch your toes in the first yoga session. However, just keep going with it and you’ll gradually loosen up and conquer poses that once seemed impossible.
As a result, it’s likely that those dreaded aches and pains will be a thing of the past – and that’s no fluke. Tight joints and muscles can cause an array of problems, which can be sorted out with regular stretching.
It has also been proven to significantly improve symptoms of chronic pain conditions, including the likes of arthritis, fibromyalgia and carpal tunnel syndrome.
As a fitness enthusiast, it’s likely you’ll be wanting to build muscle as part of your fitness goals – and yoga does just that. Yoga builds on body strength and improves flexibility; in the same format as lifting weights through the various poses.
Many poses within yoga are held for a count of five, which can be tough initially. Yet, as your mind and body work together to encourage you to persist when holding the most challenging poses, your muscles, should get stronger over time.
Adults should be getting an average of 7-9 hours of sleep each night, however, many people struggle with insomnia and are lucky if they even get a few hours kip each night. Yoga though, has been proven to improve sleep patterns.
If you’re a poor sleeper, it would be a good idea to do some yoga before bed, as it calms the mind and body from conditions such as depression, anxiety and chronic pain.
With weight-focused exercises having a positive effect on the bones, yoga can, in fact, achieve similar goals. Many poses involve having to lift your own weight, which puts pressure on the joints, but for all the right reasons.
The ‘Downward Dog’ is a key pose which helps strengthen the bones in the arm which are most susceptible to fractures as you age.
Yoga’s power of reducing the stress hormone in the body has also been said to maintain high levels of calcium in the bones.
It’s important that you regularly endure exercise that gets your heart racing, to reduce your risk of heart disease.
Traditional yoga doesn’t necessarily fall into this category, but DPD yoga does. This type of yoga is fast-paced to get your blood pumping and lose some calories.
However, even the most gentle of yoga sessions can be good for the heart. When you’re in a relaxed state, you are conscientiously building your stamina and oxygen intake, so you’re able to do more exercise without gasping for breath.
Science suggests that the strong emphasis on meditation within yoga could have a profoundly positive impact on the immune system, which makes us less vulnerable to illness.
This is due to the fact that yoga temporarily frees us from stress, as the body rids itself of harmful toxins while boosting internal organs to perform to their functional capacity.
Research from the University of Washington has discovered that those who regularly attend yoga sessions pay closer attention to their diet than those who don’t.
This may be because yoga forces us to focus on every sensation while training the brain to treat the body well – the result? No more emotional eating. You should start to envision food as fuel, by eating at regular intervals and in the correct proportions.