Yoga has existed for thousands of years. What’s the secret to its staying power? Oh, only a list of mental and physical health benefits longer than your average CVS receipt.
Are you thinking of getting into practice in the new year? If not, please consider all the ways yoga can improve your health — you may change your mind and request a mat this holiday season.
1. It Protects Your Joint Health
Does arthritis run in your family? Even if you aren’t prone to the rheumatic version of the disease, nearly 30% of people older than 45 have a doctor’s diagnosis of some form of the disorder, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the numbers increase as you age.
If you have the osteo form of the disease, there’s nothing you can do short of surgery to replace the lost cartilage. However, you don’t have to lose mobility — if you keep moving. Yoga strengthens and stretches the muscles and tendons surrounding your joints, so your bones don’t have to do all the work.
2. It Aids in Injury Recovery
Oh, no — you landed on the dreaded disabled list. If you have an overuse injury from sports, you might think you have no choice but to stay couch-bound. However, while a tendon tear might temporarily keep you off the golf course or tennis court, it need not mean skipping your workout.
Enter yoga. It can help you heal by keeping you moving, sending oxygen-rich blood flowing to the injured area. While you should always consult with your doctor, gently stretching the injured region can help in some cases. If not, you can still get in a workout in your living room while keeping pressure off the sore spot.
3. It Builds Strength and Endurance
If you think yoga is all about lying around on your mat chanting “om,” you’ve never taken a hardcore Ashtanga class. This demanding and vigorous form of yoga has you flowing through vinyasas between challenging poses — you will sweat like a mad fiend.
However, you don’t necessarily need to go all-out to build strength and endurance. Most stateside studios fall into the Hatha category and vary in terms of exertion. YouTube is a fabulous resource for trying different types before committing cash for a class.
4. It Provides an Anywhere, Equipment-Free Workout
Do you frequently travel for work? If so, you know it’s a hassle to find a hotel with a decent fitness center — many throw a token treadmill or two in a room and call it good.
However, you can practice yoga anytime, anywhere. You don’t even have to bring your mat — request a few extra towels, so you don’t have to touch the carpet.
5. It Gets You in Touch With Your Inner Self
Who are you? If you haven’t taken a personality quiz since high school, you might go through life on autopilot. However, even if you perform your daily tasks well, you could feel a gnawing emptiness.
Yoga puts you back in touch with who you are. It gives you uninterrupted time to think — please shut off distractions like the TV and your cellphone while you practice.
6. It Eases Anxiety and Depression
If you have an anxiety disorder like PTSD, you know your triggers can sometimes make you behave erratically — which can have profound negative consequences on your career and relationships. However, multiple reviews of various yoga styles show the practice helps you reduce the impact of exaggerated stress responses and calm the physiological arousal that leads to poor choices.
Any exercise form stimulates the flow of endorphins, natural body chemicals that ease pain and depression. The extra confidence boost you’ll feel will make you more likely to engage in activities like socializing, which further busts through the blues.
7. It Induces Tranquility and Focus
Have you ever tried balancing a spreadsheet when you felt utterly frazzled? If so, you probably had to work harder to make the numbers add up.
Yoga induces a calm state of mind that can improve your ability to focus. When racing, stressful thoughts aren’t distracting your brain, you’ll marvel at how much you accomplish.
8. It Helps You Sleep
Any physical exercise helps encourage sleep, but yoga is unique in that you can practice it immediately before bedtime. If rest is eluding you, try performing some gentle stretches in bed.
An easygoing routine that contains specific poses to treat insomnia can help if you often toss and turn. The combination of breath and gentle movement helps activate your parasympathetic nervous system, telling you to relax.
Increase Your Mental and Physical Health Through Yoga
If you’re seeking a way to improve your physical and mental well-being in the New Year, you can’t go wrong with a practice that has stood the test of time. Now that you know how yoga can increase your health, it’s time to invest in that mat.
Article Submitted By Community Writer