Roughly 36 million Americans are believed to have practiced yoga in 2016, and this number has likely grown since then. Yoga is an ancient practice that aims to achieve spiritual peace and balance.
This practice traces its origins to Ancient India. The first book on yoga was written in about 400 CE, but scholars believe the practice hax existed in some form for 7,000 years.
Yoga has grown and changed quite a bit since it’s inception. Many people are now practicing yoga for health reasons. It turns out there are a lot of benefits to practicing yoga, and we’ll talk about some of them in the paragraphs below.
1. Stress Relief
Stress is one of the biggest health issues in the modern world. If not dealt with, chronic stress can lead to heart disease, strokes, obesity, acne, and a whole host of other problems.
The practice of yoga is built around focusing and slowing your thoughts. Since we’re not dwelling on our schedules, job, or any of the other potential stressors, we calm down more.
The sense of calm and concentration that comes from yoga can truly make it a spiritual experience. In fact, one of the main gods in Hinduism, Shiva, is considered to be a god of yoga among all of his other roles.
This, in turn, can help us to deal with other medical issues, like high blood pressure, fast heart rate, and digestion. All of these issues are aggravated by stress.
2. It Builds Muscle
At its core, yoga is more than a spiritual exercise. It’s a physical exercise as well, and your body is proof.
If you’re just beginning an exercise routine, you may notice muscle growth in about two months. If you already exercise, and especially if you do strength training, this number may shrink significantly. You may even start showing muscles in less than a month.
Not only does yoga help strengthen muscles, but it works almost every muscle in your body. This means that it is possible to have an exercise routine that consists solely of yoga and still get a full workout.
We can even help you get started. We know a great yoga routine for beginners.
3. Improves Sleep
Yoga has also been known to improve sleep quantity and quality. Part of this has to do with the physical activity of yoga. Studies have shown that exercising during the day may help you sleep better at night.
Yoga takes this a step further because there are poses that are specifically designed to calm you down before bed so that you can sleep better. Some of these poses you may have heard of even if you don’t practice yoga. Among them are the child’s pose, the corpse pose, and the happy baby pose.
4. Helps with Posture
Posture may not seem like a big problem, but it could potentially cause back pain and make you breathe less efficiently., among other problems. Bad posture isn’t something you have to be born with, though some people are. Anybody could potentially have bad posture.
There are several different factors that could lead to poor posture. If you don’t do enough physical activity, your posture could suffer. Other issues might include work factors, such as cradling a phone in your shoulder or leaning forward to better see a computer screen.
Yoga helps by flexing muscles and putting the body in different poses. Many of these poses require you to have a straight back, which will help you stop slouching. It also stretches your back muscles, which may help you get rid of any stiffness.
5. Relief of Chronic Pain
Yoga has been known to ease chronic pain. Some of this, no doubt, has to do with other benefits of yoga, such as improved posture and sleep. However, this isn’t always the case.
Many have claimed that practicing yoga eases pain caused by cancer, as well as other non-spinal conditions. We may never know exactly why yoga is so effective at this, but studies seem to back it up.
6. Boosted Immune System
One of the strangest aspects of the human body is the immune system. It’s responsible for keeping us healthy and protecting us from illness. However, it can be affected by seemingly unrelated factors.
Our mood is a major factor in the immune system. Those who are happy are less likely to get sick. This may seem odd, but it makes sense when you consider what it means to be happy.
Happiness reduces stress and helps us breathe easier. This, in turn, makes it easier to fight off potential respiratory issues and stress-related conditions. Both of these can also result from exercises, such as yoga.
7. Enhanced Flexibility
Anybody who’s ever heard of yoga knows that it involves stretching your body into different poses. This may be uncomfortable and painful at first, but it will get easier over time. This is because your flexibility improves with frequent yoga.
A lot of the benefits of yoga have to do with the flexibility that comes with it. Being more flexible improves your circulation so oxygen moves through your body more efficiently. Plus, since your body is able to move in more ways than before, you are less likely to get muscle strains or related injuries.
The Benefits of Practicing Yoga
There are many different reasons to start practicing yoga. We’ve mentioned some of them in the paragraphs above, but there are plenty more out there. We encourage you to do more research on your own if you’re interested.
If you want more information and advice on various health topics please visit our site. For those of you who are interested in yoga specifically to improve your strength, we can help.