Yoga is a philosophy about physical and emotional health and their balance. Practice gives a huge benefit to a person – health status improves, inner peace and harmony with oneself begin, and it is important to learn to listen to your body. We hope that we answered the question what yoga classes give, and you can safely move on to performing asanas.
Looking for motivation for doing yoga? We offer you to learn 38 ways how yoga helps to improve health. Perhaps after that you will take a mat and go to a yoga class for classes.
If you have already tried yoga, you probably already noticed that yoga has a positive effect on your well-being – you may have begun to sleep better, catch colds less often, and you feel that you can relax properly. However, if you tell a beginner how yoga works, using expressions such as “It increases the flow of prana” or “It gives energy to your spine,” you are likely to come across skepticism and criticism.
It’s best to offer interested people who are just starting to practice more specific explanations of how yoga can help improve health, cure diseases, and relieve pain and so on. If you understand the full benefits of classes, this will help you not to lose the motivation to start classes, and you can also tell others how yoga works in a language that they understand.
Improving the flexibility of the whole body is one of the main and obvious benefits of yoga. During the first lesson, you most likely could hardly reach the tips of your toes. However, over time, you have noticed that it is becoming easier for you to perform poses that at first were given to you with difficulty or not at all. You may also have noticed that the pain began to pass. This is not an accident. Weak thighs can put strain on the knees due to improper positioning of the thigh and tibia. Weak thigh muscles can give tension to the spine, which leads to back pain. Lack of flexibility in muscles and connective tissues, such as connective membranes (fascia) and ligaments, can lead to poor posture.
Strong muscles provide much more than an attractive body. They also protect us from diseases such as arthritis and back pain, and help prevent the risk of falls in older people. If you can strengthen your muscles with yoga, you can balance them with flexibility. If you, for example, go to the gym and pump muscles, they will become strong, but this will not add flexibility to you.
3) Correct posture
Your head is somewhat reminiscent of a bowling ball – it is round, big and heavy. If you keep your head above the direct spine, it gives a lot of benefit to your neck and back muscles, as it supports them, giving balance. Tilt your head a few centimeters forward, and you will feel tension in the muscles. Holding your head for 8-12 hours in an inclined state, you will realize that it is not surprising that at the end of the day you will feel very tired. Fatigue is not your only problem. Improper posture leads to problems with the back, neck and other muscles and joints. When you stop, your back and neck get bent, and prolonged stay in this state leads to the appearance of back pain, degenerative arthritis of the spine.
4) Joint and cartilage health
Every time you do yoga, your joints work at full power and rotate to the maximum distance. This helps prevent degenerative arthritis and also includes cartilage areas that usually remain motionless due to inadequate movement. The connective tissues of cartilage are like sponges; they get fresh nutrients only when their fluids are squeezed out and new ones are absorbed back. If these areas do not work enough, they wear out, exposing the bones, which ultimately results in pain in the legs.
5) Spinal disc health
Spinal discs — shock absorbers between the spine and contracting nerves — must be movable. This is how they get the necessary nutrition. If you do yoga, including balanced postures in training, bending and arching your back, doing twisting, this will give your discs flexibility.
6) Strong bones
It is well known that exercise with weights helps strengthen bones and prevent the development of osteoporosis. Many yoga poses are designed so that you can lift your body weight. For example, poses such as a “dog face down” and “dog face up” help strengthen the bones of the hands, which are especially vulnerable to damage by osteoporosis. Studies at the University of California at Los Angeles show that yoga practice improves bone density in the spine. Yoga’s ability to lower the stress hormone cortisol helps maintain calcium in the bones.
7) Improvement of blood circulation
Yoga helps improve blood circulation. Relaxation exercises promote good blood circulation, especially in the arms and legs. Yoga also helps deliver more oxygen to cells, which, as a result, begin to work better. Twisting poses squeeze venous blood from internal organs and help deliver oxygen-enriched blood when you exit the twist position. Inverted postures, such as the headstand, arms and shoulders, help venous blood from the legs and pelvis return to the heart, where it enters the lungs and is better enriched with oxygen. This is especially useful for those with leg problems due to poor heart and kidney function. Yoga also helps increase hemoglobin levels and increases the number of white blood cells that deliver oxygen to tissues. This dilutes the blood, preventing blood clots from forming, and reduces the level of blood proteins, which contributes to blockage of blood vessels. This reduces the risk of heart attacks and strokes, as blood clots often lead to these problems.
8) Strengthening the lymphatic system
When you contract and strengthen your muscles, move your whole body doing yoga asanas, you improve the drainage of lymph (a viscous fluid rich in immune cells). This allows the lymphatic system to better cope with infections, destroy cancer cells and remove toxic waste from cells.
9) Healthy heart
When you regularly train your heart with aerobic activity, you significantly reduce the risk of heart disease, and also get rid of depression. Although not all yoga asanas include aerobic exercise, if you perform complex exercises, you may notice that your heart rate is racing. Even if some postures do not make your heart beat harder, they still contribute to a good adaptation of the cardiovascular system. Studies have shown that the practice of yoga reduces the heartbeat at rest, improves endurance and helps you get more oxygen during exercise – all of which bring a lot of benefits to the cardiovascular system.
10) Happiness and getting rid of depression
Are you upset about something? Sit in the lotus position. Or even better, perform a Half Raised Pose – with one leg standing on one leg, straighten forward, and the other grab the other leg from behind, making a bend in the back. Although for beginners, these poses can be quite difficult, but with practice they will help get rid of depression, as well as help to significantly increase serotonin levels, reduce the level of monoamine oxidase (an enzyme that destroys neurotransmitters) and cortisol. A more serious activation of this zone is observed in those who regularly practice yoga and meditation.
11) Solving excess weight issues
Move more and eat less – these are the recommendations for anyone who wants to lose weight. Yoga classes give you physical activity, as well as contribute to the transition to proper nutrition. Regular yoga classes make you move more, so you burn more calories, and the spiritual and emotional components of your practice will help you make the right choice of food and can help solve the problem of excess weight. Yoga also inspires you to a more conscious diet.
12) Lowering blood sugar
Yoga helps lower sugar and bad cholesterol, and boosts healthy cholesterol. In people with diabetes, yoga, studies have shown, lowers blood sugar in several ways: lowering cortisol and adrenaline, helping to reduce weight, and improving sensitivity to insulin. By lowering your blood sugar, you can get rid of many of the effects of diabetes, including heart attacks, kidney failure, and blindness.
13) Improving memory
An important component of yoga is focusing on the present. Studies have shown that regular yoga classes improve coordination, reaction time, and even IQ scores. People who practice transcendental meditation demonstrate the ability to solve problems, receive and memorize information better. Perhaps this is due to the fact that they are less distracted by extraneous thoughts.
14) Calming nerves
Yoga helps you relax, slow down your breathing and focus on the present, transferring the balance from the sympathetic nervous system to the parasympathetic. The latter helps to calm down, restore strength, it reduces the frequency of respiration and heart rate, lowers blood pressure, increases blood circulation in the digestive and reproductive systems and gives a relaxing effect.
15) Improving balance and coordination of movements
Regular yoga classes enhance proprioception – the ability to feel one’s posture in space, and also improve balance. People with poor posture and motor function problems usually have poor proprioception due to knee problems or back pain. A good balance will not let you fall. This is especially important for older people, as they get more independence, they can take care of themselves, and they go to doctors less. For everyone else, postures such as the Tree pose help you feel more stable in your legs.
16) Relieve muscle tension
Have you ever noticed that you can grab the phone receiver with a death grip or make a grimace by staring at the computer screen? These unconscious habits can lead to chronic stress, muscle fatigue, pain in the joints, arms, shoulders, neck and face, which only exacerbates stress and worsens mood. When you start yoga, you begin to feel where tension is held, perhaps in the tongue, in the eyes, muscles of the face or neck. If you tune in correctly, you can eliminate the stress. However, with regard to large muscles, in order to learn how to relax them, it may take you years of practice.
17) Improving the functioning of the immune system
Asanas and pranayama (a system of breathing exercises) can improve the function of the immune system, although scientists believe that meditation provides the maximum benefit for immunity. Meditation helps to stimulate the immune system when it is necessary, for example, to increase the level of antibodies during vaccination, and also reduces the function of the immune system, when required, for example, it helps to reduce the effect of inappropriate aggressive function of the system, in autoimmune diseases such as psoriasis and others.
18) Peace of mind
Yoga helps calm a disturbing mind. In other words, it helps to slow down thoughts and relieve you of the frustration, regrets, anger, fears and desires that cause stress. Since stresses bring many health problems, from migraines and insomnia to lupus, multiple sclerosis, high blood pressure and heart attacks, if you learn to calm your mind, you are more likely to live happily ever after.
19) Signs from Above
Many of us suffer from chronically low self-esteem. If you drown out this problem with drugs, overeating, hard work or profligacy, you will pay for it with your physical and mental health. If you turn to positive ways to increase self-esteem, such as yoga, you will feel at first short glimpses, and then more serious changes in your sense of self. If you regularly practice yoga to self-test or improve self-awareness, and not just for a change after going to the gym, you can find a completely different side of yourself. You will experience feelings of gratitude, compassion and forgiveness, and you will also realize that you are part of something Big. Although improving health is not the most important goal of spiritual development, it is often a concomitant phenomenon.
20) Pain Relief
Yoga helps save you from pain. According to several studies, asanas, meditation, or a combination of both, reduce pain in people with arthritis, suffering from lumbar pain, fibromyalgia, carpal tunnel syndrome and other chronic diseases. If you can relieve pain, your mood will improve, you will be more active, and you will not need to take medicine.
21) Fire Heal
Yoga helps you change your life. In fact, this is the greatest power that yoga possesses. “Tapa” is a Sanskrit word meaning “heat” —this is fire, the discipline that nourishes yoga practice and on which regular practice is built. The tapa that you develop can be strengthened throughout life to overcome inertia and get rid of bad habits. When you start practicing yoga, you will notice that your life is changing: you begin to eat better, do more, and quit smoking after several years of unsuccessful attempts.
22) Guru’s Gifts
Good yoga instructors can provide many healthy tips. The best of them do not just teach you to correctly perform various poses. They monitor what postures you should do, when you need to go further or slow down a little, help you relax and make your practice the most effective for you personally. A respectful relationship with a teacher will help you learn many useful things.
23) Less medicine
If your medicine cabinet resembles a pharmacy kiosk, it’s probably time for yoga. Studies of people suffering from asthma, hypertension, type 2 diabetes or an obsessive condition syndrome showed that yoga was able to help them reduce the dose of medication, and for some it allowed them to completely abandon the medication. If we talk about the benefits of a smaller number of medications taken, then there are a great many of them: savings, getting rid of side effects, the risk of dangerous interactions, and so on.
24) Good relationship
Love cannot overcome everything, but it can help to be cured. By cultivating emotional support for friends, family, and society, you help yourself, improve your health, and recover from illnesses. Regular yoga practice helps develop friendliness, compassion and strong self-control. In addition to focusing on the philosophy of yoga not to harm others, it also encourages you to tell the truth and take only what you really need. This will help you improve relationships with many people.
25) Cleansing the body
Kriya – purification practices are another element of yoga. They include many practices, ranging from quick breathing exercises to cleansing the internal organs, such as the intestines.
Jala neti – gentle cleansing of the nasal sinuses with a saline solution – helps to remove impurities and viruses from the nose, prevents mucus from forming, and helps to clear the sinuses.
26) Healing Hope
Most patients treated with traditional methods are passive care recipients. In yoga, what you do for yourself matters. Yoga gives you a tool to change, and you can feel better from the very beginning of the practice. You notice that the more you do, the more you bring yourself. As a result, you achieve the following: you begin to take care of yourself, you discover that your participation gives you the strength to change, and you also see that these changes give you hope. Hope, in turn, in itself helps to be healed.
Most people starting out in yoga are interested in two things:
Well, yes, there is, of course, and those who really want to find the meaning of life, solve their problems, etc. However, most people still ask exactly how to improve their lost health, and.
It is traditionally believed that in order to lose extra pounds, you need intense physical activity, due to which excess calories are burned. All this is true, but this is not the only and incomplete way to solve the problem. Of course, there are types of yoga in which you really have to sweat a lot, for example, in Bikram yoga or in Ashtanga Vinyasa. But the “classical” Hatha Yoga contributes to weight loss, if we do everything right, and understand how it all works.
Overweight is a kind of indicator (one of the indicators) of the fact that something is wrong in our body and / or in life, we are out of balance, there is no harmony – moreover, it’s not just some “impractical” and ephemeral concepts. Not. All this is directly related to both diseases and obesity (or simply extra pounds).
For example, one of the yoga teachers shared a story when one of the women who studied with him lost almost 5 kg of weight in a week. When he asked the woman what, in her opinion, was the reason for such weight loss, she replied that for the first time in a very long time, she was able to move away from her everyday problems and just relax.
Often, thanks to this “simple” relaxation, the connection between the body and consciousness is restored, and the lost balance returns to us. And when there is a balance (internal and external), but everything comes back to normal, including weight.
So, here is the first reason that shows you what is good – it allows us to relax, part with problems and stress, thanks to which we restore contact with our body and mind, helping everything to come into balance and find harmony. Of course, this is made possible through regular practice of yoga.