Yoga health benefits are truly wide-ranging. In fact, yoga has been practiced for thousands of years and was originally developed as a way to achieve a higher level of consciousness and improve physical and emotional well-being.
Whether you are struggling with weight loss, stress, anxiety, back pain, weak memory, or even general physical weakness and low energy levels, yoga is there for your rescue.
Today at ListPink, we will discuss in detail the various physical and mental health benefits yoga has to offer. Read the entire article to familiarize yourself with all the benefits so that you make a very conscious yoga practice decision when you do.
The 25 Yoga Health Benefits
Get up, take your first step, and start your yoga practice for a better you. These 25 physical and mental health benefits of yoga are meant to encourage you to practice yoga.
1. Better Circulation
Yoga increases circulation. It can help prevent varicose veins and relieve the effects of poor circulation, such as cold hands and feet. The word “circulation” describes the process of blood flow, but it’s not just your blood that circulates. Your lymphatic system also needs to move freely. The lymphatic system helps your body to detoxify and heal.
2. Enhanced Energy Levels
As you become more flexible, you’ll also experience more energy. Losing your breath is usually not a fun feeling. But in yoga, you’ll learn how to push further and hold poses longer, and that will lead to an increased intake of oxygen and a greater release of carbon dioxide.
That’s because being in a two-legged stance for a long period of time is a little bit like being in a squat. Squatting is one of the best ways to get more oxygen into the lungs and get more carbon dioxide out of the body. Studies have found that the more we squat, the more we breathe.
3. Better Posture
Proper posture not only makes you look better, but it also makes you feel better. As you begin to practice yoga, you’ll learn how to align your body in a way that allows you to breathe freely. It will also remove strain from your back, neck, and shoulders.
Your alignment will be much improved if you are able to release tension in the muscles that tend to pull us out of alignment. These muscles include the psoas, quadratus lumborum, and adductors. But there’s more to it than that. The way you stand and move in a pose is crucial to its effectiveness.
You can try these 10 great yoga poses for a much better posture and enhanced strength.
7. Improved Mood
While you can do a number of things to increase your energy and reset your mood, yoga is a proven mood elevator. A study at the University of California at Davis showed that women who practiced yoga for a month had lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol.
A number of other studies have found that yoga can lead to reduced anxiety, depression, and other negative emotions. For example, one study from the journal Depression and Anxiety found that women with depression who practiced yoga for 12 weeks experienced less anxiety, less depression, and less pain compared to those who did not practice yoga.
4. Cardiovascular Health
A study by the American Council on Exercise found that long-term yoga practitioners have healthy cardiovascular systems, which are less likely to develop high blood pressure and heart disease.
Another study published in Circulation Journal found that yoga practitioners had healthier cardiovascular systems than people who didn’t practice yoga. The study found that people who practiced yoga had a more efficient heart rate and a lower heart rate variability.
5. Yoga Health Benefits: Better Sleep
Practicing yoga regularly can help you fall asleep faster, sleep longer, and wake up more refreshed than ever before. It does this by improving circulation and oxygen intake, and by reducing stress, one of the causes of sleep disorders. Yoga also helps to relieve back pain, another cause of sleeplessness.
6. Sexual Satisfaction
It’s no secret that yoga can help you feel better about your body by making you stronger, more toned, and more flexible. But yoga also has the power to help you feel better about your sex life.
Studies have found that people who practiced yoga had greater sexual satisfaction, improved communication with their partners, and better overall relationship quality. Yoga can also help you answer the age-old question: “Is sex better when you’re fit?”
7. Muscle Strength
Yoga is one of the best forms of exercise to build strength in the muscles and connective tissue. Unlike weight-lifting, which can cause muscle imbalances, yoga provides strength training in a balanced way. This helps prevent injury and improves balance.
8. Yoga for Mental Health: Flexibility of Mind
Yoga provides a balance between mind and body and therefore can improve a person’s flexibility in their emotions and thoughts. Practicing yoga can help you become more aware of how you feel, and improve your ability to respond to stress in a positive way.
Yoga also teaches us to be patient and non-judgmental, which can help reduce anxiety and negative thoughts.
9. Yoga Health Benefits: Pain Relief
Yoga is an extremely effective form of exercise for pain relief. It can be used to treat a wide range of ailments, including back pain, neck pain, and menopausal symptoms.
A study published in the US National Library of Health found that people with back pain who took 30 min Wii based yoga program 12 sessions over 2 weeks experienced significant improvement.
Another study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that practicing yoga regularly can reduce the need for medication for back pain.
10. Digestive Health
Regular yoga practice can help restore healthy digestion. Yoga stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system, which promotes relaxation throughout the body, including the digestive organs.
A relaxed digestive system is more efficient at absorbing nutrients from your food, and it’s less likely to be affected by emotional factors such as stress. Yoga also helps stretch and strengthen your stomach muscles, which can help you eat less and feel more full.
11. Immune System Boost
The immune system is a major target of the yoga practice. The postures work to strengthen the muscles, bones, and joints, which in turn, boosts the immune system’s ability to fight off disease. Yoga also helps to open the lymphatic system, which is the body’s drainage system and vital to the immune system’s function.
12. Stronger Core
Every yoga pose involves the use of the core muscles, including the deep muscles of the abdomen, back, and hips. A stronger core can help to relieve back pain, prevent lower back injury, and improve posture.
A stronger core also plays a vital role in preventing injuries when performing other activities. Core stability is essential for any athlete who needs to be able to rotate, twist, or bend.
13. Balance and Coordination
Better balance and coordination are other of the wide-ranging yoga health benefits.
When you practice yoga, you are constantly shifting your weight to achieve proper alignment, which strengthens your muscles and improves your coordination. Your balance will also improve with your new ability to focus your mind on your body.
14. Increased Endurance
Yoga is a great way to increase your physical endurance. You might be surprised to discover that after a few months of yoga you can hold a headstand longer than you can hold a plank. Yoga increases your endurance by building a stronger mind-body connection. The stronger your connection, the more efficiently your body can move and the less energy you will need to achieve your goals.
15. Yoga for Mental Health: Enhanced Mental Clarity
Yoga helps with your mental clarity by keeping your mind focused in the present moment. When you are present, you are more aware of your actions and reactions, which in turn helps you to react less emotionally and better manage your feelings.
As you begin to practice yoga, you will learn to challenge what you think you know about your body and your practice, which will help you to be more flexible in your thinking.
16. Yoga for Mental Health: Improved Memory
Yoga can help your brain stay young with its effect on the hippocampus, the brain’s memory center. According to a study in the journal Neurology, older adults who practiced yoga for eight weeks had increased brain volume in the hippocampus. A study in the journal Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience found that yoga can also help boost memory.
17. Enhanced Nervous System Function
In addition to helping you to focus in the present moment, yoga can balance your nervous system. The breathing exercises in yoga can help to relax your nervous system, improve your sleep, and reduce symptoms of anxiety.
The movements in yoga can also help to improve your nervous system function. Your nervous system, which includes your brain, spinal cord, and nerves, control your organs and muscles. When your nervous system is out of balance, you may experience stress, anxiety, even pain, and dysfunction.
18. Increased Range of Motion
Improved range of motion is an important benefit of yoga that you may not notice until you try to go back to your old habits. After a few months of daily yoga, you will have opened your hips, shoulders, and hamstrings, improving your ability to move.
20. Increased Self-Confidence
Yoga improves your confidence by challenging you in a non-threatening way. You will be introduced to new postures and breathing techniques that you may not be able to do at first, but that you will eventually master. You will feel accomplished as you achieve each goal, and as you continue to practice, you will continue to improve.
21. Yoga Health Benefits: Weight Loss
You’ve probably heard that yoga is a great way to lose weight. Yoga is a great way to lose weight because the poses increase your heart rate, and your heart rate increases your metabolism, which helps you burn fat.
Yoga is particularly great for sustainable weight management as it is easy to practice, doesn’t make you sweat buckets, and doesn’t put a strain on your body. Once you get into the regimen, it simply becomes a habit and automatically keeps your weight under check.
According to the study of researchers from the University of Colorado, yoga exercises are very effective in burning calories and losing weight.
The study was conducted on over 150 volunteers. Half of the participants completed an hour of yoga exercises daily and the other half – normal exercise. It was found that the volunteers who practiced yoga burned more fat, and lost weight faster. Yoga helps to reduce the level of cortisol hormone, which is responsible for increasing fat cells.
22. Yoga Health Benefits: Skin Health
One of the most surprising benefits of yoga is how it can improve skin health. Studies show that asana practice can improve oxygen and blood circulation. This can help prevent the formation of free radicals that age the skin.
What’s more, yoga has been shown to reduce the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines. Yoga also increases the production of collagen, which is the main component of skin and connective tissue.
23. Increased Happiness Levels
While reduced stress, relaxed muscles, increased energy levels all contribute to your overall well-being and happiness, yoga also has another dimension to it as well.
A lot of people practice yoga for one more reason, and that is meditation. Yoga is, in essence, a form of meditation. As with all forms of meditation, yoga automatically changes the brain’s neural pathways, releasing the feel-good hormone dopamine.
Since dopamine is one of the body’s natural painkillers, it can help you relax and feel more positive. Yoga also has excellent mindfulness benefits, which have been proven to make people happier and more satisfied in life.
So, to reap all these amazing, physical, mental, and social benefits, why not start practicing yoga today? Sparing half an hour of your day for a better you is definitely an investment worth making.