Yoga has really been growing in popularity over the last decade, it seems everyone I know is getting into it. In fact, yoga is taking on many forms, such as hot yoga, aerial yoga, even yoga on stand up paddleboards! There are even weight loss yoga programs that are designed to help users tone and firm the body with routines that target common problem areas and help you build lean muscles. Yoga is becoming a huge business, and I believe it will continue to grow. This is because of a few reasons:
- Yoga is Low-impact meaning anyone from any age can do it
- Yoga is very inexpensive. Sure you can spend money on better classes or equipment but all you really need is a yoga mat.
- Yoga has tremendous health benefits
The first two points are great, but the last part makes the deal so much better. I mean, why wouldn’t something that is available to almost everyone, is inexpensive, and is good for you not continue to grow?
Here are 5 Health Benefits of Yoga
1. Yoga can Help you De-stress and Reduce Anxiety
The whole point of yoga is about becoming in a relaxed state, lowering the heart rate and becoming one with your body. Yes, yoga is also a major workout but it is also about putting yourself into a state of zen. Yoga is renowned for its ability to ease stress and anxiety.
Yoga has been extensively studied and some studies have shown that yoga helps to reduce cortisol which is the main stress hormone. Along with reducing stress, reducing anxiety can come along with it. Reducing anxiety may happen because of the feeling of inner peace while practicing yoga. There have been studies done on this as well.
Combining yoga with meditation will probably help to enhance the benefits. When I do yoga I always end with a nice long stretch and then meditation, it just feels like that is something that should happen to wind down the process, I have noticed a great help to my social anxiety I suffer from as well as a reduction of stress after a hard day at work.
2. Yoga May Help with Chronic Pain
People being in a state of persistent pain increases as you age, generally. This can be due to a multitude of reasons, such as arthritis, previous injury, inflammation, to nearly anything else. Most people might not realize they have chronic pain because the human body is amazing at getting used to problems. But once you find a reprieve from it you will quickly notice any issues.
Yoga can potentially help because yoga is all about stretching and building up strength. The combination of stretching and then applying pressure with correct form can really help with some of the issues. A lot of problems form due to bad posture or old injury, and the best way to help with that is to stretch it out. Harvard even wrote a piece on it.
3. Improves Flexibility
This one is a given, but it is not a small one. One of the main purposes of yoga is to increase flexibility. After doing yoga for a month I can finally touch the ground with my legs straight. This is the first time this has ever happened to me, and not only can I touch the ground, but I can now lay both of my hands flat on the ground with my legs straight.
Improving your flexibility has many benefits in its self, but this is something yoga is renowned for. When you start doing yoga consistently, you will be surprised at the rate your flexibility increases.
4. Improves Balance
A lot of yoga poses require insane balance, others don’t really require much at all. But as you get better with yoga, your balance will improve dramatically. This is helpful in many different areas of your life and keeps you healthier. Having good balance keeps you safe from falls or other injuries.
Increasing balance is mostly to do with strengthening your specialized muscles, these muscles are critical to your overall health and balance but are very hard to work out. Yoga poses are fantastic for this, as your specialized muscles gain strength you will have more balance and control over your body and I have to tell you, it feels absolutely amazing to be able to do a handstand on a rock without much fear of falling!
5. Yoga can help with Sleeping
Sleep is an underrated area of health. I think everyone should have a sleep study done because when you fall asleep you have no idea what is going on. There are many things which can cause a lower quality of sleep. While yoga is not as effective as a sleep study it can help your quality of sleep as well, and when combined with a sleep study, it can have drastic benefits.
Yoga helps to increase the production of melatonin which is the hormone that gets your body ready for sleep. This may be because of the calming effect yoga has, regardless, the calming effect also helps to get your body ready for sleep. I always do yoga right before bedtime and after my yoga/meditation session I have a rule of no electronics.
I am usually out within 5 minutes from laying my head on my pillow, and I sleep from 9pm to 5am and wake up feeling completely refreshed and ready for the day.