Although it seems that yoga practice became popular in early 2000, did you know that it started about 5000 years ago? It was then popularized and brought to the West from India in the 1950s where yoga practice started outside of India. Yoga masters like BKS Iyengar, K. Pattabi Jois, and others have influenced a lot of yoga practitioners of today. These influences are not just on the physical form or the Asanas but also the spiritual, mental, emotional, and psychological aspects of a practitioner’s life.
But why are yogis driven into practicing yoga every day? There are many reasons why yoga has a lot of benefits to the body. In fact, yoga is supported by science into a person’s overall health and wellness.
1. It Improves Circulation
Yoga is perfect for detoxifying the body and helps to improve your blood circulation. Yoga practice uses a lot of twists and simple inversions, which would stimulate your heart to beat faster for more circulation.
Vinyasa, a type of yoga practice is a good cardio exercise so you can ditch the treadmill or run like crazy every day.
When doing yoga twists, it is perfect to detoxify your abdominal area because the twist will halt blood circulation to the tummy area but once it releases, a sudden gush of blood and oxygen is delivered to the vital organs and enhances its function.
2. Lowers Risk of Heart Attack, Decreases Cholesterol and Removes Free Radical
Deep breaths are needed in doing yoga while getting into the pose and holding them for a few breaths. This makes your heart do its job a little bit faster so that it can continue to supply oxygenated blood to other parts of the body.
Like any exercise, it can lower your bad cholesterol or LDL, lower your blood pressure and even free radicals are excreted to your body through sweat.
3. It is a Good Emotional Health Up-Lifter
Studies have shown that yoga can help heal depression, sleep problems, and other mental health problems because it stimulates oxytocin production and serotonin production, which is called as the “happy hormone”.
Also, yoga helps you in grounding yourself and practicing the attitude of gratitude.
4. Helps Treat Back Pain and Spinal Problems
Yoga helps improve your flexibility through the different poses that stretch your body. Overtime of inactivity, sedentary lifestyle, some of your muscles will go through atrophy which results in a restricted range of motion.
For those who have spinal problems like scoliosis or have chronic lower back pain, your doctor may suggest doing yoga in order to stretch your body.
5. Helps in Weight Loss and Makes Your Body Toned
Like other exercises, Yoga is good for weight loss because it speeds up your metabolism and helps tone your body. There is no need to do weights training or look for other exercise equipment.
All you need is your body and carry your own weight. Poses like Chaturanga dandasana, Plank, side plank, Dolphine pose, downward dog inversions like headstands, forearm stands will tone your body down. And as an added bonus, it won’t “bulk” ladies up unlike doing weights training.
6. Takes Your Stress Away
The meditative aspect of yoga will truly help you release stress.
No matter how horrible your day is, your worry about your bills, family problems, etc, the combination of postures, meditation, and pranayama or the breathing technique helps ease your mind and calm your soul.
7. Helps Prevent Osteoporosis
Osteoporosis is a women’s arch-nemesis when they grow older. But worry no more because yoga is the answer. A study was done at California State University, Los Angeles where people who practice yoga every day has increased bone density, especially in their vertebrae.
This is because weight-bearing exercises will help strengthen your bones keeping the calcium inside the bones instead of excreting it in your body.
8. Better Sex and Aids Infertility
Your ability to hold of poses for a certain period of time without getting tired and your improved flexibility translates to better performance in bed.
For those who are trying to get pregnant, hip openers are very useful because blood circulation is concentrated on the pelvis area which improves your chances of getting pregnant.
9. Better Sleep
Sleep does not come handy for other people. Meditation and practicing yoga relaxes your nervous system.
A study was done at the Harvard Medical School where they studied how yoga practice affects individuals with insomnia. After 8 weeks, there is a significant change in the participant’s quality of sleep. Certain poses like savasana, uttanasana can put your body in a relaxed state.
10. Aids in Better Respiration
Yoga is a connection of your breath to your mind and body. Proper breathing technique is being taught therefore it helps expand your lungs filling more oxygen in and you take a full exhale through your nose letting carbon dioxide out.
If you have respiratory problems you will surely see the improvement because your airway opens up more creating more space in your lungs.