Wellness Wednesday: Benefits of Practicing Yoga
Posted on June 21 2017
Happy International Yoga Day!
It’s no secret that Yoga is an amazing workout that benefits more than just your body. It’s a great physical workout, helping to improve our strength and flexibility, but it’s also a mental practice and helps to promote a positive and peaceful mind. With the busy lives we live, yoga allows us to kill two (or more) birds with one stone.
It’s also a practice for everyone, regardless of age or your goals. Once you start practicing yoga, it's hard to practice anything else because it truly makes you a more mindful, healthful, and happy person.
Here are 7 proven benefits of practicing yoga that we have experienced first hand and are forever grateful for.
1. Improves flexibility.
This is probably the most well known physical benefit of yoga and for good reason! With continuous practice and commitment, you’ll notice a gradual loosening in your body. Suddenly, poses that were once unattainable will become attainable. You’re body will thank you as you will find that it will ache less and pain will slowly start to relieve itself.
2. Builds muscle and improves strength.
Yoga helps to build strength by using the weight of your own body. This is a great way to become attuned with your body and to strengthen all the different areas while flowing through the poses.
This is also balanced out by your improved flexibility, something other forms of strength training can’t do for you.
3. Perfects your posture and balance.
Good posture is extremely important in today’s generation of desk sitters who are constantly bent over looking at their screens. Poor posture can cause back, neck, and other problems that will come back to bite you later on in life.
Yoga constantly encourages good posture as well as good balance in a variety of different positions so that it will eventually become natural for your body.
4. Increases blood flow.
Whether you’re in a relaxation pose or an inversion, your blood is constantly flowing to the different parts of your body throughout your yoga practice. This allows oxygen to flow better and promotes thinning of your blood which decreases the risk of blood clots that are often the cause of heart attacks and strokes.
5. Helps you focus.
A crucial aspect of yoga is to be in the moment, something people struggle to do these days. Studies have found that regular yoga practice can improve one’s ability to focus along with coordination, reaction time, memory, and even one's IQ score.
Yoga encourages us to focus on the task at hand instead of what is to come which can teach you how to better focus your mind and be more productive in your day to day life.
6. Gives you peace of mind and decreases stress.
Stress is a culprit in many cases related to health and wellness. How can you expect to have a calm and clear mind when you are constantly worrying about things? Yoga helps relieve stress by allowing us to quiet our minds.
When your mind focuses on just being one with your body, you will feel calm and relieved of any stress. With continuous yoga practice, you will find that you will be able to better handle stress and anxiety, which will make you a more levelheaded person and even help you sleep better.
7. Encourages mindfulness.
Yoga is probably the only fitness activity you can do that encourages self-care and mindfulness above all.
By setting an intention at the beginning of every class, yoga allows us to experience feelings of acceptance, gratitude, empathy, and forgiveness towards ourselves and others.
Yoga studios are non-judgemental environments where everythone is there to care and better themselves. The instructor is there to guide you but what you get out of your yoga practice is based on the intentions you set for yourself.
Being mindful of yourself and what you need to be your best self is sometimes difficult to determine so practicing yoga can encourage a more positive mind, body, and soul.
*Benefits courtesy of Yoga Journal
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