I bet you feel better already. After all, that is exactly what yoga is supposed to do – help you relax, and restore balance between your body and mind. The benefits of yoga extend far beyond the physical. In fact, science has proven that practicing yoga can actually make you a happier person! Whether your goal is to improve your flexibility, balance and posture, or get in touch with your inner calm, incorporating yoga into your weekly routine will help you feel happier and healthier, both inside and out.
This is the first and most obvious benefit of yoga. As you continue your practice, you will notice gradual loosening and greater range of motion to tight areas. Over time, seemingly impossible poses become possible. Yoga helps decrease the pain and immobility that tends to arise as we age.
Builds muscle strength.
Yoga helps you build strength, as many poses require you to support the weight of your body in new ways. Push yourself to hold certain poses over the course of several breaths, and you will continue to see your strength improve.
Yoga helps our ability to feel what the body is doing and where it is in space (also known as proprioception). This brings better posture, which can fix muscle pain in the neck, back and other joints. A well-balanced practice also helps to protect your spine, as you bring movement to your spinal discs through different poses.
Increases blood flow (and drops blood pressure).
Yoga gets your blood flowing and improves circulation, especially in the hands and feet. This also brings more oxygen to your cells, helping them to function better. Different poses allow blood to flow in different ways. For example, inverted poses encourage blood to flow from the legs and pelvis back to the heart, where it can be pumped through the lungs and freshly oxygenated.
Prevents cartilage and joint breakdown.
Every yoga practice allows your joints to move through their full range of motion. This helps to prevent degenerative arthritis and alleviate mobility problems by bringing movement to areas of cartilage that aren’t normally used through “squeezing and soaking” techniques. When joint cartilage is squeezed, it acts as a sponge, releasing old fluids and soaking in a fresh supply of nutrients.
Yoga practice, like many other physical activities, allows you to take a break from daily struggles. However, your level of concentration is deeper in yoga than other exercises, and it helps relieve stress by putting your problems in perspective.
Helps you focus.
Also due to the focus on being in the moment, yoga teaches you how to be more mindful and less distracted. This can lead to improved abilities to solve problems and recall information.
Intensifies feelings of happiness.
Research suggests consistent yoga practice can improve depression and produce a significant increase in serotonin levels. As found by the University of Wisconsin’s Richard Davidson, Ph.D., the left prefrontal cortex demonstrates heightened activity in meditators – a results which has been associated with greater levels of happiness.
Yoga and meditation are awareness practices, and when you become more self-aware, you are more in control of your feelings. This means you are better equipped to break away from destructive emotions like anger, and more prepared to make changes required for bettering your life.
Yogic philosophy teaches you that you are a manifestation of the Divine. By using your yoga practice as a gateway to your inner self, you will see results that go far beyond improved flexibility and balance. You’ll feel more confident in your abilities to handle adversity, and you’ll feel connected to something bigger.
Sign up for a year-long yoga membership with o2living today and start to see the healthy changes in your life.