Yoga has been around for a long time, and almost everyone knows what the term means. Billions of people from all over the world and across walks of life practice yoga, despite it being an ancient practice. Why do they do so? Well, the simple answer would be because it positively benefits their health in a certain way. Let’s go ahead and see what the 10 main health benefits of yoga are, so that you may start including this practice in your schedule.
10 Health Benefits Of Yoga
- Enhances Flexibility
- Corrects Posture
- Develops Muscle Strength
- Improves Blood Circulation
- Controls Blood Sugar
- Improves Focus
- Helps Reduce Fatigue
- Improves Mental Health
- Reduces Anxiety
- Improves Balance
1. Enhances Flexibility
Have you ever felt far too stiff whenever you went to pick up something off the ground? Well, that means you’re not flexible enough. Yoga can help fix this issue as it has a whole range of asanas with varying difficulty.
Your body is encouraged to stretch, allowing your muscles to push your flexibility limit to the next level. You may not notice the difference immediately, but as you keep practicing, you’ll see yourself touching your toes with no difficulty.
Here are some asanas which will help you get on this journey of newfound flexibility:
- Padangusthasana (Big Toe Pose)
- Baddha Konasana (Bound Angle Pose)
- Utthita Trikonasana (Triangle Pose)
- Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward-Facing Dog Pose)
2. Corrects Posture
Working in front of a computer for long hours can impact your posture, especially if you don’t take any physical activity breaks. On the other hand, poor posture can be a lifelong problem if you have the habit of slouching your shoulders while walking. In more adverse cases, poor posture can even lead to chronic back pains, joint degeneration, and other ailments. However, yoga can improve your posture before anything serious happens to your spine, making you look taller, slimmer, and in the end, more confident than ever.
Also, studies have shown that yoga can be used as treatment for chronic low back pain. If you have a desire to correct your posture, do so by trying out some asanas. These are some prominent yoga exercises for you to practice:
- Balasana (Child’s Pose)
- Dhanurasana (The Bow)
- Setu Bandhasana (Bridge Pose)
- Naukasana (Boat Pose)
P.S. Do these exercises under a trained professional, and only after you have consulted your physician. If you have a serious back injury or are just recovering from one, you might want to refrain from doing any of these asanas.
3. Develops Muscle Strength
People mainly think that yoga promotes better flexibility. But, very few know that it develops muscle strength as well. When you go to a gym to exercise, you lift weights and dumbbells to build muscle. In the case of yoga, you’re practically doing the same thing, except you’re lifting your own weight. Some asanas create tension in muscle fibers, in turn breaking them down so that the size and mass of the muscle increase. Here are some muscle, fiber breaking asanas you should try out:
- Bakasana (Crow Pose)
- Salamba Sirsasana (Headstand)
- Vatayanasana (Horse Pose)
- Suryanamaskar (Sun Salutation)
4. Improves Blood Circulation
There could be many reasons for one to have poor blood circulation. It could be due to sitting for long hours at your desk job, high cholesterol and blood pressure levels, or even diabetes. Although there are medicines to combat this problem, why not try something more accessible and doable like yoga?
Movement is the solution to any circulatory problem and yoga is one of the best mediums to increase blood flow, earning a spot as one of the best health benefits of yoga.
Try these exercises below to improve blood circulation:
- Marjaryasana (Cat-Cow Pose)
- Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward-Facing Dog Pose)
- Tadasana (Mountain Pose)
- Viparita Karani (Legs Up the Wall Pose)
In addition, these poses are also good warm-up exercises to prepare your body for a workout.
5. Controls Blood Sugar
If you’re a diabetic and looking for an additional way to control your blood sugar level, then yoga is one of the healthiest means to do so. Many type-2 diabetics have been turning to yoga as a method of controlling their blood sugar, and they’ve never looked back ever since. Also, yoga helps to contain any potential complications caused by diabetes, helping the internal organs to function better.
Just a small word of precaution: these exercises are just an extension to control blood sugar and are not meant as a means to replace medications. In other words, practice yoga and continue your medications.
Here are some simple poses that’ll help you to keep your sugar under control:
- Dhanurasana (Bow Pose)
- Balasana (Child pose)
- Bhujangasana (Upward-Facing Dog Pose)
- Shavasana (Corpse Pose)
6. Improves Focus
It’s extremely easy to get distracted whenever you’re performing a certain task, and it can hamper productivity. In order to upskill and step up your game, all we need to have is thorough focus and determination. Thankfully, yoga is the key to soothe your nerves, calm your mind, and alleviate stress altogether, so that you can get your head into the game. You might say that yoga works for the development of the body, but it works on a mental level as well.
Have a look at these asanas which will improve concentration, and in turn boost your productivity:
- Phalakasana (Plank Pose)
- Utkatasana (Chair Pose)
- Garudasana (Eagle Pose)
- Virabhadrasana II (Warrior II)
7. Helps Reduce Fatigue
Work can really tire a person and leave them lifeless after finishing their hours. Even doing the simplest of tasks can sometimes wear someone out for whatever reason. The same is true if you work from home, as sitting for long periods of time can be harmful to your back.
Yoga is a natural remedy to rejuvenate your lost energy. By practicing asanas, you stretch your body, see how much it can handle, and learn to breathe deeper. All these elements calm you down, making you feel refreshed and relaxed.
Feeling fatigued? Here are some yoga exercises for you to try out:
- Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclining Bound Angle Pose)
- Viparita Dandasana (Inverted Staff Pose)
- Adho Mukha Swastikasana (Downward-Facing Cross-Legged Pose)
- Viparita Karani (Legs-up-the-Wall Pose)
8. Improves Mental Health
We did mention how yoga not only impacts the body, but the mind as well. Research has shown that the brain releases “feel good” hormones (dopamine, serotonin) when one is doing yoga, in turn affecting mood. Although yoga is not intensive, it helps to elevate heart rate, tone muscles, and stimulate the release of chemicals in the brain. Also, research says that yoga helps in alleviating depression as well.
Here are some simple poses to get you started on your spiritual and mental well-being:
- Sukhasana (Easy Pose)
- Balasana (Child’s Pose)
- Salamba Sarvangasana (Shoulderstand)
- Savasana (Corpse Pose)
9. Reduces Anxiety
Your mind is present in the moment when you do yoga. When you're concentrating on breathing and completing the pose, your mind somehow blocks any mental chatter from entering. At the end, you feel relaxed, de-stressed, and not that anxious as well. That’s why many continue to do yoga.
These are some recommended poses for you to get rid of anxiety:
- Baddha Konasana (Butterfly Pose)
- Utthita Trikonasana (Extended Triangle Pose)
- Setu Bandha Sarvangasana (Bridge Pose)
- Ardha Chandrasana (Half Moon Pose)
10. Improves Balance
You need to have good balance to complete daily chores; it may be something as simple as picking up the garbage or standing on top of the stool to fix a bulb. Fortunately, yoga has a set of asanas that helps in balancing. By practicing these balance poses, you’ll learn how to coordinate your movements thoroughly, so that you don’t wobble.
According to a listicle by Healthline, yoga has proven to have had an effect on an athlete’s overall balance and performance as well. If that doesn’t convince you to try yoga, we don’t know what will!
Here are some balance poses you should try out:
- Urdhva Hastasana (Upward Salute)
- Vrksasana (Tree Pose)
- Eka Pada Utkatasana (One-Legged Chair Pose)
- Virabhadrasana (Warrior Pose)
Now you know the health benefits of yoga. It’s up to you to practice them consistently, so that you can enjoy a life free from sickness and mental strain. Everyone searches for peace and yoga is the medium to achieve it. Om Shanti!
What Happens To Your Body When You Do Yoga Everyday?
When you do yoga every day, you’ll notice your body becoming more flexible, stronger, and balanced than before. You’ll also notice your mental health and focus improving.
How Quickly Does Yoga Change Your Body?
You won’t find the results of yoga immediately; it takes a certain amount of time. But, you’ll find the changes within 6 to 12 weeks from the time you started.
Is Yoga Enough To Stay Fit?
Yoga helps to build muscle and strength, making it a natural way to stay fit and healthy.