Historically yoga was more than just a method of teaching; it was a way of life. You dedicated yourself to a lifestyle and culture that surpassed meditation techniques and included healthy eating habits, bathing habits, social interaction and work. Its philosophy is rooted in a physical culture of health and well-being that is still emphasized today and explains why over 15 million people in the world now practice this ancient tradition.
Every yoga asana (style of yoga) has a different name and includes standing postures, seated twists, back bends, arm balances, inversions and core holds. The downward facing dog for example, is in itself said to calm the brain, energize the body, improve digestion, strengthen arms and legs and be therapeutic for high blood pressure. Whilst these benefits come as a given with most postures, the practice of yoga as a whole gives many more benefits than you might think.
Reasons why yoga is so good for you and your health
Lowers stress and improves your mood
Some yoga methods use specific meditation techniques to focus the mind on your breathing that quietens the constant ‘mind chatter’, relieves stress and allows you to feel relaxed. Practicing yoga can also boost oxygen levels to the brain, leaving you feeling happier and more content with everyday life.
Read Also : Stress and Anxiety Management with Yoga Retreat
Aside from the uplifting spiritual values, the act of meditation can actually boost your confidence. The process works by releasing tension from your mind so you can feel confident about your physical body. Without any forms of anxiety, you are able to establish an internal connection with yourself. This is consequently reflected in your perception of others and will help to better your relationships by improving compassion and awareness.
Lowers the risk of injury
Exercise, such as running, is usually a series of rapid, forceful movements, which means that effort is at a maximum and there is a higher risk of injury and increased muscle tension. Often, strenuous exercise also engages an imbalance of opposing muscle groups whereas yoga concentrates on balancing this activity. Yoga unites your body and mind and therefore allows you to move in a way that results in an injury free, healthier you.
Helps you lose weight
Being overweight is a sign that there are imbalances in your everyday life and one major contributor to weight gain is excess stress. Practicing yoga enables you to bring a deep sense of relaxation to your body and your mind, helping you to de-stress and allowing you to lose weight naturally.
People often say that they are not flexible enough to do yoga. The truth is it doesn’t matter how tight your muscles are as yoga asana works by safely stretching your muscles and help you to practice it further. Moreover yoga also stretches other soft tissue in the body such as ligaments and tendons, increasing the range of motion in the joints and allowing you to move around more freely.
Improves muscle tone and strength
Many yoga asana have a profound effect on your upper body strength, such as the downward and upward dog and the plank focuses on your core. Likewise standing poses strengthen your upper leg muscles and lower back. Essentially any pose will strengthen an area of the body if it is practiced in the right way, without putting too much stress on specific muscle groups.
Benefits breathing and lowers blood pressure
If you are to practice yoga consistently, your lung capacity will increase as a result of the deep breathing process. This will then have a positive effect on more intense sports that you might be a part of, increasing your stamina and endurance. Furthermore, meditation and calming yoga asana slow down your heart rate which in turn lowers blood pressure and have also been linked with improving the immune system and lowering cholesterol.
Read Also : Why is Yoga Good for Your Health
Improves your posture
By practicing yoga you maintain a healthier weight, become more flexible and improve your muscle tone and strength. You will find that your posture will greatly improve because of this. Your abdominals and back muscles can now fully support your weight and you will be able to sit and stand tall, preventing niggling injuries, aches and pains.
The beauty of yoga is that it can be practiced pretty much anywhere, on your own or with other yoga enthusiasts. If you have been inspired to give yoga a go there is no better place to try it than on an amazing yoga holiday.