One of the most ancient forms of mind and body relaxation is yoga, and in this article we explore the many health benefits of yoga. This oriental practice of achieving enlightenment is today practiced by millions of people across the globe. Yoga is an all encompassing art form which offers benefit to people of all ages and both genders. Most people seem to think that yoga only has spiritual benefits but this art form also has many health benefits which include the following:
Top 10 Benefits of Yoga
1. Benefits of Yoga: Flexibility
Individuals who practice yoga develop excellent flexibility of their joints. Initially bending certain joints and sitting in difficult positions may prove to be uncomfortable but with time the body is able to loosen and adapt to the “painful-looking” positions. Over time most people notice that they no longer have any joint pain, develop good posture and are able to contort their body in any position without harm. It is the ultimate form of stretching that is done by adapting the body to a variety of uncomfortable positions.
2. Benefits of Yoga: Builds muscle
Sitting in certain abnormal positions for prolonged times leads to muscle stress. The muscles in turn start to become strong and functional. People who regularly practice yoga tend to have strong but not bulky muscles. This helps maintain balance, posture and flexibility. Yogis may appear thin but often have enormous strength.
3. Benefits of Yoga: Improves posture
Yoga demands perfection and over time the rigid body positions lead to improved posture and muscle support for the upper body and neck. As one maintains different postures for long periods, this helps build strong joints that help maintain posture.
4. Benefits of Yoga: Prevents joint problems
Because yoga entails seating in extreme positions, the joints are stressed to the limit. With time, the joint tissues develop laxity and become more flexible. This helps build cartilage and strengthen the ligaments and tendons. People who perform yoga rarely develop arthritis, joint pain or tendonitis because the tissues are maintained well with this extreme form of exercise.
5. Benefits of Yoga: Healthy Spine
Spinal column stability is another benefit of yoga. The spine is made up of vertebrae through which the nerves and blood vessels pass. During yoga, the extremes in joint position during yoga help increase flexibility, improve blood flow and keeps the joints mobile. This results in reduced incidence of low back and neck pain. By bending the spine in different positions, the joints are kept flexible and the risk of nerve impingement is reduced.
6. Benefits of Yoga: Stronger bones
Yoga is an intense form of exercise that strengthen and prevents thinning of bone. In many yoga positions, a moderate amount of strength is required. With time this results in strong bones and muscles.
7. Benefits of Yoga: Increases blood flow
Yoga is an active form of exercise which results in more blood flowing through all the organs. When the circulation is improved in the body, it leads to faster repair of any injury, better exercise endurance and an enhanced immune system.
8. Benefits of Yoga: Trains the heart
With yoga some positions are extremely demanding and can increase the heart rate and force of contraction. Over time this leads to better circulation of blood, a stronger heart and a reduced risk of heart disease. In fact, some yogists can train the heart to beat at a lower rate and yet perform maximum exercise without fatigue.
9. Benefits of Yoga: Lowers blood pressure
For individuals who have high blood pressure, yoga can gradually decrease blood pressure. Yoga opens the blood vessels in the body so more blood can pass through. As the blood vessels open up, the blood pressure gradually drops.
10. Benefits of Yoga: Spiritual Health
Finally the most significant benefits of yoga are emotional and spiritual; most people feel that after yoga they feel content, happy, have improved sleep, little stress, feel relaxed, enhanced self esteem and confidence, and love life.
There are many other benefits of yoga but it is important understand that yoga is not a one shot deal. To achieve these health benefits one must practice yoga regularly. In addition, it is important to eat healthy not smoke or drink and live a life of gratitude.