In recent years yoga has continuously grown in popularity. Everywhere you look new yoga studios are popping up. Yoga lessons are also offered at most gyms. During warmer weather, some yoga teachers even offer lessons in the park or at the beach. With so many different options for yoga lessons, there is really no excuse.
Still, you might be wondering what the point is. After all, if so many people are practicing yoga there must be some health benefits, right? Well, yoga actually has several different kinds of health benefits!
To help you sort through the wealth of information. Here is a guide to the top 6 health benefits of yoga.
1. Increases Circulation
Most of us have experienced cold hands and feet before, and not just because it is cold outside! This can happen when your blood circulation is not working properly. When this occurs, it makes your hands and feet feel cold even when you aren’t actually.
Yoga’s postures and exercises will get you moving again. This can help get your blood pumping. Yet, beyond just getting you moving, certain yoga postures are particularly beneficial to circulation. Certain yoga postures may even be particularly helpful. It is thought that when you move into these postures, that your body sends deoxygenated blood back to the heart. At the same time, when you release the pose, the heart pumps oxygenated blood back. So, essentially yoga can stimulate blood circulation.
When your blood is circulating properly throughout the rest of your body, it is to circulate it to your hands and feet. So, with regular yoga practice, you may even be able to say goodbye to cold hands and feet!
2. Helps Increase Concentration
Yoga can also help improve your concentration. Studies suggest that yoga practice has the ability to increase focus and memory. Its meditative aspect lets the brain take a break from its continuous loop of thoughts. This creates a deeper focus on the pose. Yogis then adopt this ability to focus on a pose, into their everyday life. This allows them to attentively focus on the task at hand. So, no matter whether you want to focus on reading a book, completing an assignment or completing a project at work yoga can help out.
3. Improved Posture and Flexibility
Yoga positions can also improve your posture and flexibility. There are actually many yoga poses that are directly beneficial to your posture. For instance, Mountain Pose (where you stand straight with you hands by your side) and Hero Pose (where you sit on your heels with a straight back, looking forward) can both help you improve your posture after repeated practise.
Similarly, there are also many yoga poses which can increase your flexibility. Bikram yoga is particularly beneficial to flexibility. During a Bikram yoga class the room is heated. It generally sits at a temperature of 95 to 100 F. While in this heated room you move through a series of 26 postures. The combination of the heat with the poses helps to smoothly, stretch your muscles. This, in turn, increases flexibility.
So, if you find yourself slouching or hear aching joints when you stand consider yoga!
4. Weight loss
In a study done by the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, researchers found a connection between regular yoga practice and weight loss or maintenance. If you are looking to lose weight, yoga can help. To ensure success combine your yoga practice with cardio activity and a healthy diet. By creating a healthier routine, you will one step closer to achieving your weight loss goals.
5. Body Awareness
Yoga is also an excellent method to increase body awareness. This is because yoga sessions combine your breath with movement. As you move into each posture you match your movements with your breath. By actively focusing on this, you can become more aware of your body.
Of the many different types of yoga, Kundalini yoga is one of the best methods for this. This is because the primary focus of a Kundalini yoga is to harmonise breath with movement.
You can carry this awareness with you even after your session. For instance, you may become more aware of slouching when you are stressed or tired. You will also be more open to noticing if your breath becomes more shallow and rapid when you are angry. Awareness of these reactions will allow you to fix your posture and relax your breathing. This, in turn, can reduce your stress.
6. Strengthens Muscles
Like any form of exercise, yoga can also strengthen your muscles. Many yoga postures are similar to push ups in that they use your body weight rather than free weights. For instance, when you move through sun salutations (a series of yoga postures) you enter a pose that requires you to slowly lower your body to the ground. This can help to strengthen your arms and core.
Overall, yoga thus has many different kinds of healthy benefits. Plus there are so many different places to take yoga lessons. So, there are plenty of opportunities to learn and start looking after your health!