Yoga is a physical, mental, and spiritual practice that originated in ancient India. The practice is still loved today by millions of people and over the last few years, there’s even been a burst of new interest in the practice. When you commit to a regular yoga schedule, daily or weekly, there are dozens of undeniable benefits for your mind and body. The following six benefits are some of the best ways yoga can affect you mentally and physically.
Control of Breath
A big part of every yoga flow is the breath work. Some of us need this the most, to calm anxiety or to control heart rate. In yoga, the breathing is very mindful and deep, which strengthens lung capacity and builds endurance. This practice is called pranayama and teaches yogis to focus on taking deep breaths throughout the entire class. Doing so can also help clear one’s nasal passage as well as calm the nervous system by bringing fresh air into the lungs and body tissues.
A good portion of people who experience back pain are causing the discomfort themselves with bad posture. Today, with so many office-based jobs, tons of us spend the whole day at a desk typing on the computer. Additionally, the amount of time we all spend in the car or on the bus has increased too. Whether it’s a hefty commute or carpool for the kiddos, those hours spent driving around add up quick.
This creates spinal compression and tightness throughout the entire body. Yoga can counteract this tightness by aligning the spine and the rest of your body. Most poses require the use of the abdominal muscles to maintain balance, which strengthens the core and back. With a stronger back, your shoulders will feel less inclined to slouch forward.
Everyone has stressors in life. Whether it’s work, health, your social life, or something else, yoga is a great way to relieve some of that tension while strengthening your body. Many yoga styles use meditation techniques that quiet a restless mind and require intense concentration. The practice focuses on being present in the moment, and so there’s no time to worry about the past or future. Dedicating this time to feel calm and relaxed leaves you in a less-stressed state than when you arrive.
Sleeping harder and longer is another great benefit of practicing yoga. Not to mention you feel more refreshed and energized when you wake up and throughout the day. You’re also likely to feel less agitated, this is thanks to the meditation and calming aspects of a flow.
Sustains Joint Health
It’s probably not too surprising that yoga can increase and sustain joint health, but how? Yoga movements help strengthen the muscles around the joints, which in turn helps lessen their load. Most of the poses are low impact, which allows those with injuries or weak joints to do them. Athletes and people with arthritis and/or old injuries tend to see improved mobility as well as less pain with a gentle yoga practice. This type of exercise, as oppose to high-intensity workouts, actually restores the body and muscle functionality.
There are so many different yoga communities out there, chances are you could find dozens of them where you’d fit right in. But going to the same studio every week, learning and understanding the same poses, and committing to the practice with a group of people is usually enough to encourage community on its own.
Chat with people in your class and get to know the instructors you like. This will promote you to practice more and can broaden your knowledge of new poses and how to execute them best. After all, they love yoga and would love to take time teaching you or just talking to get to know you. This might seem like a nice, short-term expansion of your social network but trust me, some of these relationships will become lifelong friendships.
One of the best parts about practicing yoga is investing in fun new yoga clothing for your classes. Check out the latest Spiritual Gangster line and stay in shape and style.